Ellison, Grijalva working on progressive budget alternative

WASHINGTON — House progressives, led by Keith Ellison and Arizona’s Raul Grijalva, are working on an alternative budget to the one Republican Paul Ryan proposed yesterday, MinnPost has learned.

The plan will be called “The People’s Budget,” and aims to “cut waste, shrink the deficit and create a surplus, while investing in job creation, infrastructure, small businesses and programs and services that directly assist those in the greatest need,” according to an outline of the plan e-mailed to members of the Progressive Caucus Tuesday.

“The entire discussion is oriented toward a debate about spending when it should be oriented toward a debate about priorities,” Ellison and Grijalva wrote. “Our federal budget should reflect who we are and what we stand for as a nation.  The Republican budget proposals clearly underscore what they are for: protecting special interests, repealing reforms that hold corporations accountable and keeping the economic burden for our recovery on middle- and working class Americans. As progressives, we now have the challenge to clearly state our priorities.”

Ellison and Grijalva said their plan, which has not yet been finalized, will adhere to the following five goals:

  • Eliminate the deficits and potentially creates a surplus thereafter.
  • Put America back to work with a “Make it in America” jobs program
  • Protect the social safety net.
  • End the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • Be FAIR (Fixing America’s Inequality Responsibly)

It wasn’t specifically mentioned in the memo, but that last bullet point may include revenue increases. Both Ellison and Grijalva have signed on to a proposal to establish higher income tax brackets for millionaires and billionaires, with the highest bracket being at $1 billion in annual income.

A press conference with Ellison and Grijalva is scheduled for later today on Capitol Hill.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Joel Gingery on 04/06/2011 - 05:49 pm.

    Its encouraging to hear this. I am frustrated that Obama and the Republicans, and most of the rest of the media, have continued to frame the situation as a deficit/spending problem that necessitates cutting.

    We have a lack of vision for our country. In the midst of unparalleled material wealth society is unraveling. Its becoming increasingly widely known that this is due to the economic inequality brought about by corporate takeover of the political process such that the top 1% of all people in the US own 35-40% of the wealth.

    The real problem is that too much – way too much – money is flowing to the already-too-rich and not nearly enough to the less-well-off.

    The vision should be that everyone in America should be healthy, have the education they want, and be able to pursue their happiness, that is be able to make the choices that lead to a long, healthy, productive and satisfying life regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, income and education.

    It then becomes clear that the problem isn’t spending, its that our priorities are misplaced: corporations are more important than people. Economic equality needs to be the test instead of dollars.

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