The Progressive Caucus’ “Better Off Budget”

8.8 MILLION JOBS BY 2017
$4 TRILLION IN DEFICIT REDUCTION

During our economy’s best decades, Congress invested in the American workforce and every family was better off for it. But recent years have been dominated by growing inequality and a Republican majority in Congress obsessed with slashing the budget, making it harder for working Americans to find decent jobs and save for the future. The Congressional Progressive Caucus’ Better Off Budget reverses the damage budget austerity has inflicted on hard-working families and restores our economy to its full potential by creating 8.8 million jobs by 2017…

When the federal budget invests resources wisely, we can meet the needs of working families and shrink the deficit. The Better Off Budget not only creates jobs, it reduces the deficit by $4.08 trillion over the next 10 years. It’s the right budget for the country, for working families and for our future…

I’m sorry to say that Danny Vinik, at TNR, may be right when he says “Progressives Have a Budget Alternative—and Nobody Is Paying Attention”:

On March 12, the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) released its own budget for the 2015 fiscal year. The idea of the Better Off Budget, as they call it, is to sketch out a liberal alternative for how the government should collect and spend money—that is, a budget vision that’s a bit to the left of President Obama’s and way to the left of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s…

And while nobody expects the proposal to become binding—Democrats don’t have the votes, not even in the Senate—it’s not clear why this proposal isn’t part of the conversation. Predecessors of the Better Off Budget won praise from well-respected and mainstream economists, including Paul Krugman and Dean Baker. And while you might expect such approval from progressive intellectuals, the proposal has fans elsewhere on the ideological spectrum. The Economist has called it “courageous” and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget commended it as well.

It’s not hard to see why. The primary goal of the Better Off Budget is to close the “output gap” that opened after the financial crisis—that is, to tap the economic resources that have been idling for the last few years, leading to higher unemployment and lower wages. Obama’s budget seeks to do the same thing, but wouldn’t close the gap by nearly as much. Ryan’s budget would more or less ignore the gap altogether. In 2013, the gap—measured as potential gross domestic product versus actual gross domestic product—stood at $790 billion. The CPC budget closes it in three years by investing in infrastructure, state aid and a government jobs program. By 2017, the Economic Policy Institute estimates, it will create 8.8 million new jobs…

Vinik has an interview with Rep. Ellison, which is well worth reading.

Can those of you with better social media skills than mine tell me if the ‘Better Off Budget’ has been getting any attention on Facebook, Twitter, et al?

52 replies
  1. 1
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    I can’t stop looking, there is just something about him.

  2. 2
    NotMax says:

    BOB.

    Dull.

    /MSM

  3. 3
    Steve J. says:

    Nothing on FB, maybe a mention on Twitter but I’m not sure. I just did a LexisNexis search of newspapers and broadcast transcripts and only CQ had a story.

  4. 4
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @NotMax: A man with no arms, no legs, in the water.

  5. 5
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    What could possibly go wrong?

    A new Georgia gun law will extend the state’s stand-your-ground legislation to protect convicted felons who kill using illegal guns, under what one criminal law expert calls a “recipe for unnecessary killing”.

    Raven? JPL? Move.

  6. 6
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: This state is getting worse and worse.

  7. 7
    Betty Cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The only explanation is that guns have become sacred objects. The holy relics must be universally venerated, and vague secular concepts such as justice, public safety, etc., must not impinge on the right — nay, the sacred duty! — to worship.

  8. 8
    Baud says:

    And while nobody expects the proposal to become binding—Democrats don’t have the votes, not even in the Senate—it’s not clear why this proposal isn’t part of the conversation

    I think he just answered his own question. I’m sure it’s the best budget out there, but what negotiating leverage does the progressive caucus have? Even progressives will largely ignore this budget; it’s not like anyone is going to use it to encourage voters to turn out in November.

  9. 9
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Can those of you with better social media skills than mine tell me if the ‘Better Off Budget’ has been getting any attention on Facebook, Twitter, et al?

    I haven’t seen much, if anything, about the Better Off Budget, but I’ve seen several references on Facebook to the Robin Hood Tax — which, if not part of BOB, seems to have a significant overlap.

  10. 10
    Baud says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    It’s almost as if these people cling to their guns. ;-)

  11. 11

    Hmmm. Like most economics and budget issues, it’s abstract and understandable only in general ways to the regular person. There’s already something broadly similar with Obama’s name attached. Legislatively, it’s dead in the water. It is anti-Narrative in a hundred ways (its existence implies Republicans aren’t the center and it demonstrates that the deficit can be shrunk without sticking a shiv in the poor, for starters) so traditional national media has a strong desire to pretend it doesn’t exist. It involves little or no screaming outrage, so it is only mildly interesting to sources of alternative news (not quite the same as alternative news sources). I would be pleased but surprised if this took off as a topic of public interest.

  12. 12
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: DUCK!!!! I always thought MO was bad.

    @Betty Cracker: I am sadly lacking in my worship. Still no altar.

  13. 13
    Old Dan and Little Ann says:

    Shall not be infringed. Duh.
    / wing nut

  14. 14
    JPL says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: According to the law, zoning laws cannot prevent the occurrence of gun shows or the sale of weapons. Wonder what my neighbors will think will dozens of cars appear every Sunday?

    also, too… Even though you are required to get a license, the police cannot ask if you attained one.

  15. 15
    CnyOrange says:

    There’s probably tax increases in there somewhere, that’s why nobody is paying attention.

  16. 16
    debbie says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    What guns have become are substitute dicks.

  17. 17
    Debbie(aussie) says:

    I think you all (or is that y’all) should move to Australia. We have little to no gun violence, universal healthcare(at the moment at least). Jobs-maybe. Progressive government hahaha………….., now I am crying. We as country are in trouble.

  18. 18
    different-church-lady says:

    They can’t possibly be progressives if they want deficit reduction.

    /online_”progressives”

  19. 19
    raven says:

    Georgia is just the extreme. The whole country is, and will be, full of guns. If you haven’t figured that out by now I guess you never will.

  20. 20
    Chris T. says:

    While BOB is probably a good thing, what we need, to get their attention, is someone proposing a 90% tax rate … on all unearned income. With emphasis on “unearned”. Yes, 90% on all dividends and capital gains. It won’t happen (it would actually be a bad idea, 70% is better), but it might just shake things up.

  21. 21
    RaflW says:

    The main thing is that everyone knows that progressives are tax and spenders, so why bother reading their budget?

    Paul Ryan is a tough, wonky guy so his budget is serious. And his big watery eyes are seriously dreamy.

    That’s all we really need to understand.

    /Village

  22. 22
    RaflW says:

    @Chris T.: I do think we need to bring the dividend and cap gains rate up. But what is your economic basis for 70%? That just sounds punitive, and would totally f&”@ with current retiree’s budgets, like to the point of trying to re-enter the work force.

    For sure the 20% rate should be restored. I’d welcome a higher rate on divs & cap gains over some indexed threshold.

    The big one is treating so-called carried interest as ordinary income. The hedge fund business pulled a massive fast one on the American people on that. If I recall, the last O standoff with the House made some progress on taxing carried interest. But it should be taxed at the top marginal rate, period.

  23. 23
    Baud says:

    @RaflW:

    For sure the 20% rate should be restored.

    It has been.

    Short-term gains (gains on assets owned for less than one year plus one day) are taxed at your ordinary income tax rates. Long-term gains (gains on assets owned for at least one year plus one day) are taxed depending on your overall income tax bracket. If your overall income falls in:

    the 10% or 15% marginal income tax brackets, then your long-term capital gains tax rate is 0%.

    the 25%, 28%, 33%, or 35% marginal income tax brackets, your long-term capital gains tax rate is 15%.

    the 39.6% marginal income tax bracket, your long-term capital gains tax rate is 20%.

  24. 24
    Cervantes says:

    Can those of you with better social media skills than mine tell me if the ‘Better Off Budget’ has been getting any attention on Facebook, Twitter, et al?

    I don’t know from “social media” but Robert Borosage wrote about it more than two weeks ago. (I realize you may have seen this.)

    @different-church-lady:

    They can’t possibly be progressives if they want deficit reduction.

    Maybe read Borosage before you smartly consign that view to online_”progressives” only.

  25. 25
    DTOzone says:

    “Progressives Have a Budget Alternative—and Nobody Is Paying Attention”:

    Bully Pulpit, or whatever

  26. 26
    JoyfulA says:

    OK, I just tweeted it. This Better-Off Budget needs to be out there.

  27. 27
    Citizen_X says:

    @Old Dan and Little Ann: “Well-regulated militia.”

    /Me.

    And for fun, ask them, “What are the Constitutional purposes of the militia?” (hint: “formenting insurrection” is kind of the opposite of one of its purposes), and “according to the Constitution, who commands the militias?” (hint: right now, his middle name is “Hussein”).

  28. 28
    Cervantes says:

    @JoyfulA: Thanks!

  29. 29
    RaflW says:

    @Baud: I actually think it should be 20% for anyone above the 15% earned income bracket. And I say that as someone who has benefitted from the lower cap gains rates.

  30. 30
    RaflW says:

    Furthermore, I think there should be a 25% cap gains rate for ppl in the 39.6% bracket.

    The tax code since at least Dubya has overly favored dividends and stock price appreciation, which has driven down the incentive to actually reward line workers with pay increases to match their productivity gains.

  31. 31
    C.V. Danes says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    A new Georgia gun law will extend the state’s stand-your-ground legislation to protect convicted felons who kill using illegal guns, under what one criminal law expert calls a “recipe for unnecessary killing”.

    And, of course, Georgia will not restore the ability of this new protected gun-toting class to vote, so they will be voting with their bullets.

  32. 32
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The Better Off Budget benefits people other than the 1%.

    Therefore, the Village ignores it.

    My nym. Again and again.

    Wipe them out. All of them.

  33. 33
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @debbie: It’s what they have been for the past 50 years, at least, and probably before.

  34. 34
    piratedan says:

    shared the link on Facebook, maybe instead of bemoaning it, we can start by doing some of the lifting ourselves….

  35. 35
    Cervantes says:

    @piratedan: Thanks!

  36. 36
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @JPL: The IMPORTANT thing is cash registers are ringing at Remington, Smith and Wession, Colt, and all the other merchants of death.

    The NRA and all its legislative efforts are about one thing and one thing only: moving product for the merchants of death, never mind any consequences thereof.

  37. 37
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    “What is this ‘Wession’ you speak of?”

    “Um, that i got in there by mistake”

    “Don’t make it again.”

  38. 38
    satby says:

    Yeah, I FaceBooked it too. May as well start small. But start.

  39. 39
    Kay says:

    We’re doing a Voters Bill of Rights in Ohio:

    “Backers of a constitutional amendment that would expand early voting hours and potentially lead to more provisional ballots being counted have been given the green light to begin collecting signatures to qualify for the November ballot.
    Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine signed off on the proposed Ohio Voters Bill of Rights earlier this week, and the Ohio Ballot Board certified the issue as one amendment, Thursday. Both signoffs were required before petitions on the issue could be circulated.
    State Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati), one of the petitioners behind the amendment, said training would begin in coming days for volunteers, with hopes of gathering the 385,000-plus signatures required to place the issue before voters this November.
    “We will be on the streets this weekend getting petitions collected,” said Reece, who also heads the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus. She added, “We’re one step closer to the citizens having a say on their voting rights and making sure it’s protected in the constitution. … Our goal is the ballot this year, this November.”

    We got about 30 signatures Tuesday night, just passing a petition in one county Dem meeting and them my taking it to 5 people I know. Also, my middle son signed! He’s not a big talker so his political views are a mystery, but apparently he supports voting rights. Allegedly. Perhaps.

    We’ll never really know :)

  40. 40
    Cervantes says:

    @satby: Thanks!

    @Kay:

    Also, my middle son signed! He’s not a big talker so his political views are a mystery, but apparently he supports voting rights. Allegedly. Perhaps. We’ll never really know :)

    Thanks for all you keep doing!

  41. 41
    gratuitous says:

    It’s really strange. The excuse the cable programs give for putting on the never-ending nonsense of John McCain or Charles Krauthammer or Ron Christie is that they’re maverick-y or edgy or contrarian. Of course, most of the views these knuckleheads espouse are contrarian solely due to the person yammering them. A guy in a wheelchair who hates the ADA! A black guy against the Civil Rights Act! But those viewpoints are solidly mainstream for one (ahem) political party.

    But here’s a truly maverick suggestion, a balanced budget plan – which all the cable folks claim to love – that gets absolutely no attention at all. A plan that, unlike Paul Ryan’s plan, actually pencils out and doesn’t depend on accounting sleight-of-hand that would baffle Penn & Teller. A plan that also stands just as good a chance of being enacted as Ryan’s scheme.

    Cable shows gotta fill time, don’t they? Why aren’t their producers getting this on the air? You know, present those contrarian views they love so much? Air the controversy? Present both sides? It’s almost as if these popular media folks are just blowing smoke. Puzzling.

  42. 42
    Cervantes says:

    @gratuitous:

    Cable shows gotta fill time, don’t they? Why aren’t their producers getting this on the air? You know, present those contrarian views they love so much? Air the controversy? Present both sides? It’s almost as if these popular media folks are just blowing smoke. Puzzling.

    Has Rachel Maddow discussed it?

  43. 43
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @gratuitous:

    It’s almost as if these popular media folks are just blowing smoke.

    Hey, if blowing smoke brings in ad revenue, there’s no problem here to speak of.

  44. 44
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Kay:

    We’ll never really know :)

    Some time with the Dark Lord’s high inquisitor should shed some light.

  45. 45
    Cervantes says:

    Also, Kay, have you written about this already?

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Democratic colleagues took out their boxing gloves on Wednesday while unveiling a 2014 legislative agenda they believe will set the party up for success in the upcoming midterm elections. […]

    The Senate Democratic agenda includes raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour; a push for equal pay for women; making college affordable; and jobs creation through investments in manufacturing and infrastructure. Democrats hope to achieve this while pushing back against what they describe as the “fear and misinformation” in Republican attacks against the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

    I’m all for those goals. What’s unfortunate is the label:

    Vowing to go on the offense against Republicans, the tactics Democrats are looking to employ in the coming months center around choice and action that will result in the goal of the campaign, “A Fair Shot for Everyone.”

    With about 200,000 words in the dictionary, they had to phrase it that way?

  46. 46
    RobertDSC-iPhone 4 says:

    @Citizen_X: I think the Heller decision put a stake in that line of reasoning. Fat Tony and his fascist brethren “removed” the Militia part in their ruling.

  47. 47
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    And of course it’ll pass and become a trend for all the other states, because NRA Wins Forever, and Guns aren’t just Freedom, they’re the ONLY Freedom.

  48. 48
    Anoniminous says:

    Published in my social media outlets.

  49. 49
    Chris T. says:

    @RaflW: The 70% number would be marginal (not absolute) rate; if you make $50k off dividends etc that would be taxed like any other income. I’ve seen a reference to a study suggesting that something like this is optimal. I don’t know if it is actually optimal, it just seems obvious that it’s better than 90% (90% encourages cheating far too much).

    What I was really getting at, anyway, is the fact that before you can have a discussion, you have to get their attention. :-)

  50. 50
    Kay says:

    @Cervantes:

    Also, Kay, have you written about this already?

    Vowing to go on the offense against Republicans, the tactics Democrats are looking to employ in the coming months center around choice and action that will result in the goal of the campaign, “A Fair Shot for Everyone.”
    With about 200,000 words in the dictionary, they had to phrase it that way?

    No, but thanks. I’m not reading their national campaign stuff anymore. I think it’s terrible.

    What don’t you like about it, though? “Fair” is good. Is it “shot”? I agree there.

    I think they’re on the wrong track. The whole “opportunity gap” campaign is premised on risk, people taking risks. I don’t think people are in any mood to take risks. They’re not secure. I agree with them. They shouldn’t take any risk right now.

    I would have gone in the exact opposite direction: “we’re on your side and we offer some security because we know you’ve all come thru a difficult time”.

    It doesn’t matter. They love this “opportunity gap” thing. To me, they sound like they’re offering advice. No one wants advice from them. What is that? Political leaders aren’t our counselors.

    I just hate the whole thing. It sounded wrong to me right from the beginning. I was literally offended and it’s not even directed at me. Reducing the number of syllables isn’t going to make it better :)

  51. 51
    Redwood Rhiadra says:

    @RaflW:

    But what is your economic basis for 70%?

    Economic study by Diamond & Saez in 2011 established 70-80% as the optimal top marginal rate. PDF of study

  52. 52
    Cervantes says:

    @Kay: Yes, “shot” is just wrong, in my opinion.

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