I didn't even know there was an alternative to either Obama's budget proposal, or the Ryan plan. But is seems the progressive caucus
) has proposed an alternative to both these plans and it actually balances the
budget 10 years before the Ryan plan, through assorted tax hikes and defense spending. This blog post from the Economist sums it up well:
The [Progressive] budget savings come from defense cuts, including immediately withdrawing from Afghanistan and Iraq, which saves $1.6 trillion
over the CBO baseline from 2012-2021. The tax hikes include restoring the estate tax, ending the Bush tax cuts, and adding new tax brackets for the
extremely rich, running from 45% on income over a million a year to 49% on income over a billion a year.
Mr Ryan's plan adds (by its own claims) $6 trillion to the national debt over the next decade, but promises to balance the budget by sometime in the
2030s by cutting programmes for the poor and the elderly. The Progressive Caucus's plan would (by its own claims) balance the budget by 2021 by
cutting defense spending and raising taxes, mainly on rich people.
The Progressive budget seeks to control runaway healthcare costs largely through the introduction of a public option to compete with private market
plans, something a majority of the American public also supports
). Analysis after analysis finds that a
public option would save money, 68 billion between 2014 and 2020 (when compared to other plans proposed by both republicans and the president)
. The Ryan plan, by contrast claims that it can
control runaway costs by turning Medicare into a voucher program where by the elderly would be required to choose a private market plan. Some
considerations with this proposal is the fact that insuring the elderly and disabled is not profitable in the private marketplace, and so private
insurance companies would simply refuse to cover them, also, the Ryan plan does not explain how a voucher program would control health care costs, as
it is essentially a coupon issued to beneficiaries to buy a private plan under the current system which has health costs increasing at twice the rate
of inflation (Source
), the vouchers are not a cost control measure. Especially
considering, Administrative costs, which can account for nearly 30% of the cost to the beneficiary in private plans, are so much less under government
run Medicare; between 2-3% of total claims, as opposed to private plans which are at 17% of total claims.
Last week I posted a thread about the Ryan plan that also included the results of a recent WSJ/NBC poll of American's opinion on the "deficit
debate". Further evidence that the Progressive Plan is reasonable, is that it is also in line with the vast majority of American's opinion. Just to
sum up the results again, since this is important:
77% felt it was "mostly or totally unacceptable" to cut Social Security.
77% felt it was "mostly or totally unacceptable" to cut Education
76% felt it was"mostly or totally unacceptable" to cut Medicare
67% felt it was "mostly or totally unacceptable" to cut Medicaid
80% felt would be "mostly or totally acceptable" to tax millionaires
78% felt it would be "mostly or totally acceptable" to eliminate earmarks
76% felt it would be "mostly or totally acceptable" to eliminate necessary weapons systems from defense
74% felt it would be "mostly or totally acceptable" to eliminate tax credits for oil & gas companies
68% felt it would be "mostly or totally acceptable" to "phase out Bush tax cuts for those making over 250,000"
And by the way, of the respondents, 36% identified as "somewhat or very conservative", 38% as "moderate", and only 24% as "somewhat or very
liberal" (with the rest being "not sure").
These are HUGE numbers people...these are things that the vast majority of ALL americans can agree on.
And just to sum up, from the plan, what the progressive budget does:
-ends subsidies and welfare for oil and energy companies
-keeps Medicare & Medicaid intact, and introduces a public option to compete with private market plans and the ability to negotiate prescription drug
prices through Medicare
-Immediate withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan
-cuts total defense spending (through various departments between 15 and 30%)
-phases out Bush tax cuts and tax breaks for the wealthy (keeps other aspects of the middle class tax cuts)
-raises taxes on the wealthy and corporations
And what these measures will accomplish:
• Primary budget balance by 2014.
• Budget surplus by 2021.
• Reduces public debt as a share of GDP to 64.1% by 2021, down 16.5 percentage points from
a baseline fully adjusted for both the doc fix and the AMT patch.
• Reduces deficits by $5.6 trillion over 2012-21, relative to this adjusted baseline.
• Outlays equal to 22.2% of GDP and revenue equal 22.3% of GDP by
I'm not saying that this plan is perfect, for example, criticism that it relies to much on tax increases is fair. And personally, I would also like
to see an end to the drug war, the NSA/police state, and an elimination of the FED/reliance on central bankers. But, given everything, it is a heck of
a lot more fiscally responsible than either Obama's or Ryan's plan, both of which ignore the entire REVENUE side of the deficit equation, and as I
pointed out in my previous thread
, that huge spending cuts during times of economic
downturn actually have the effect of hurting (contracting) the economy and thus are largely self-defeating...spending cuts should be made during times
of economic prosperity, not during recessions. We will also have to wait for the CBO to check out all the numbers. However, just comparing this to the
Ryan and Obama plans, based on what the majority of Americans say they wanted in the WSJ/NBC poll, and I think the answer is clear as to which is more
in line with what the vast majority of Americans say they want PLUS it balances the budget years before either the Obama or Ryan plans. However, the
biggest clue to me, is the fact that the establishment media completely ignored this plan (much like they do during the presidential race towards
"non-establishment" candidates), while giving preferential treatment to Obama's budget plan, which is nearly as bad, if not, as bad, as the Ryan
However, there are a few news sources that covered the story. This is where I first heard of it:
But you can also read about it here
And this is a good article summing up the hypocrisy surrounding the debate in Washington right now