Beaver County Blue

Progressive Democrats of America – PA 12th CD Chapter

Trumka Works to Control Trade Unions’ Sanders Momentum

Posted by randyshannon on July 3, 2015

AFL-CIO’s Challenge: Tempering Unions’ Embrace of Bernie Sanders

By Sandy Fitzgerald   |   Friday, 03 Jul 2015 10:42 AM
AFL-CIO Pres. Richard Trumka with Sen. Bernie Sanders

AFL-CIO Pres. Richard Trumka with Sen. Bernie Sanders

AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka is warning labor leaders to hold off on endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders’ bid for the presidency, saying the federation’s bylaws specify that such endorsements are to be left up to the organization on a national level.

Trumka, in a memo sent out this week, reminded groups that they are not allowed to “endorse a presidential candidate” or even work on statements or resolutions that indicate a preference for any candidate, reports Politico. Further, he said that “personal statements” are also forbidden.

“Because in years past, and already this year, a number of questions have been raised,” Trumka said, “I want to remind you all that the AFL-CIO endorsement for president and vice president belongs to the national AFL-CIO.

“State federations, central and area labor councils, and all other subordinate bodies must follow the national AFL-CIO endorsement regarding president and vice president.”

Under the organization’s procedures on endorsement, a political committee makes its recommendation to the executive council in Washington, which then submits it for ratification by leaders of its member unions. A two-thirds majority is required to approve the endorsement.

Trumka said the AFL-CIO had sent out questionnaires to both Democrats and Republicans, with a Friday deadline, and plans to interview candidates during its July executive council meeting.

National union leaders, though, are drawn to the party’s more progressive side, represented by Sanders, an independent running for the Democratic nomination, and groups in South Carolina and Sanders’ home state of Vermont have already passed resolutions that support him. Some union leaders in Iowa are also calling for a resolution to be passed at their convention in August to back Sanders.

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Beaver County Commissioners Urge Raise in Minimum Wage

Posted by carldavidson on May 2, 2015

 

Union-bug

Kneeling: T. Berry; Standing First Row: Commissioner Tony Amadio; Alex de la Cruz; Tina Shannon; Myra Fabrizio; Janet Hill; Second Row: Commissioner Joe Spanik; Randy Shannon; Steven Kocherzat; Linwood Alford; Mark Benkart; Peter Deutsch; Rev. Ed Heist

By Linwood Alford
Council Director of Civil Rights and Economic Development

I want to thank the Beaver County Commissioners Tony Amadio and Joe  Spanik for supporting a resolution "urging the state legislature to approve a raise in the Pennsylvania minimum wage from the pre-sent $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour". The resolution was approved by their two votes, with Com-missioner Dennis Nichols abstaining, at the Commissioners’ meeting of April 23rd.

The Labor Council approved a resolution calling for a raise in the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour at its November membership meeting. SEIU Healthcare Pa. staff representative and Labor Council Trustee Kerrianne Theuerl arranged transportation for Council members to attend "Raise the Wage" rallies in Harrisburg in February and Pittsburgh in April.

The minimum wage resolution was placed on the Commissioners’ meeting agenda thanks to the efforts of Mark Benkart, Labor Council Com-munity Services Director and our local Moral Mondays chair-person, and Tina Shannon, president of the 12th C.D. Chapter of Progressive Demo-rats of America (PDA).

Mark and Tina spoke in favor of the resolution at the Com-missioners’ meeting. Also speaking in favor of the resolution were Janet Hill, national vice-president of CLUW, Rev. Ed Heist and your writer.

Minimum wage jobs destroy the morale of those who are unable to support their families even though they are working full time. A raise in the mini-mum wage to $10.10 per hour will build the self-esteem of these workers by assuring them that they can support their families.

Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction that makes people angry against each other be-cause self-preservation will always be the first law of nature. If we can work to eliminate weapons of mass destruction in other countries, why can’t we work to eliminate poverty at home?

I am truly thankful for all those of us who really believe in liberty and justice for all.

Posted in Low Wage workers, Minimum Wage, trade unions | Leave a Comment »

Progressive Democrats of America Endorses Bernie Sanders for President

Posted by carldavidson on April 30, 2015

PDA Chapter President Tina Shannon with Democratic Presidential contender Sen. Bernie Sanders

Source: Progressive Democrats of America

Dated: Apr. 30, 2015

Contacts: Steve Cobble, PDA Political Director, (571)-274-5144 steve.cobble@gmail.com Conor Boylan, PDA Executive Director, (206)-965-0802 conor@pdamerica.org

Washington, D.C.–Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), a grassroots federal PAC, announced the endorsement of Senator Bernie Sanders for President. Speaking on behalf of PDA, Political Director Steve Cobble said, “We launched an effort just over a year ago to ask Sen. Bernie Sanders to run for President as a Democrat. We worked with our national ‘Run Bernie Run’ Team to build support for this historic candidacy, gathering more than 20,000 petition signatures, holding town hall meetings and house parties in several states, and designing social media efforts and a website, http://www.pdafund.com/

Cobble added, “We welcome the official announcement of Sen. Sanders’ candidacy today. He has been reaching out to voters across the country on his national listening tour, discussing the issues that matter most to most Americans. He has long shown a deep understanding of the systemic problems we face. We agree with Sen. Sanders when he says, ‘Most people have given up on the political process. They understand the political deck is stacked against them. They think there is no particular reason for them to come out and vote…'” PDA believes we must change this.

Cobble quoted Sen. Sanders as saying, “This country faces more serious problems than at any time since the Great Depression, and there is a horrendous lack of serious political discourse or ideas out there that can address these crises. Somebody has got to represent the working-class and the middle-class of this country.” Cobble concluded, “Bernie Sanders is a progressive, principled, politician. He has an established record of standing up to the big-money interests who have far too much power over the economic and political life of this country. Bernie will take on the big fights–campaign finance reform, global warming, wealth inequality–into the Democratic debates. We support his candidacy because he knows that his job as a candidate is to help bring together a massive grassroots populist / progressive coalition that can win elections and transform politics. That’s been PDA’s mission since our founding in 2004.”

PDA is proud that USA Today and The Nation noted that PDA launched its ‘Run Bernie Run’ campaign last spring, collecting thousands of petition signatures calling on Sanders to run as a Democrat. We will follow up by helping raise money for the Sanders campaign, operate volunteer phone banks, organize house parties, and otherwise support the Sanders for President campaign.

Contacts: Steve Cobble, PDA Political Director, (571)-274-5144 steve.cobble@gmail.com Conor Boylan, PDA Executive Director, (206)-965-0802 conor@pdamerica.org

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Raise the Minimum wage!

Posted by carldavidson on April 20, 2015

 

Our County Commissioners agree!

They will be passing a resolution on Thursday evening at their regularly scheduled meeting to support raising the minimum wage.

They have invited us to attend.

THURSDAY 4/23/15 BEAVER COUNTY COURTHOUSE 6:00 PM

Here in Beaver County, we once had a wonderful standard of living. One wage earner made enough to support an entire family. That money flowed through our community, making life better for everyone. We and our neighbors had money for the services that a proliferation of small businesses offered. Our children went to college and happily shopped for their supplies. Hobbies and recreation abounded. Now we have more minimum wage jobs in our County than ever. More of our neighbors are struggling just to pay rent and put food on the table. If their car breaks down, or they get sick and miss work, their family experiences a crisis. On an everyday basis they have trouble buying warm school clothes for their children. More and more of us are winding up in this position.

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Posted in Low Wage workers, Organizing, safety net | 1 Comment »

Everything Goes Somewhere: Yet Another Argument for Green Energy

Posted by carldavidson on April 16, 2015

State records miss half the waste pumped into injection wells

By John Finnerty
CNHI Harrisburg Bureau

HARRISBURG, April 16, 2015 — State environmental officials didn’t account for half the waste pumped into injection disposal wells last year, a comparison with federal data shows.

The state’s injection wells took 330,000 barrels of waste left over after natural gas drilling last year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That’s about six truckloads a day.

The state Department of Environmental Protection only accounted for 167,500 barrels, according to its records.

That means about three truckloads of waste per day are unaccounted for in the state’s tracking system.

The discrepancy “begs the question of whether Pennsylvania should let the industry expand,” said Nadia Steinzor, eastern program coordinator for Earthworks Action, an environmental watchdog.

Pressure is mounting for more disposal wells to serve the burgeoning gas drilling industry.

Steinzor’s group released a report earlier this month that criticized efforts of Pennsylvania and three other states — Ohio, West Virginia and New York — in managing waste generated by the industry.

Injection wells are a conventional way of disposing of liquid waste from fracking, the process in which drillers use pressurized water and chemicals to release underground reservoirs of gas.

Controversy stems from studies that have blamed injection wells for earthquakes. Neighbors of proposed well sites also raise fears about pollution to water supplies and problems related to truck traffic.

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Posted in Environment, Fracking | 1 Comment »

Leading House Democrat Will Oppose TPP Fast Track

Posted by randyshannon on April 15, 2015

Chris Van Hollen

House Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen (AFGE/CC BY 2.0)

As legislation to fast-track congressional approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership gets ready to finally make its debut in Congress this week, a top Democratic member of the House announced he would oppose the bill.

Representative Chris Van Hollen, the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, wrote in a letter to Representative Sandy Levin, the ranking member of the House Ways & Means Committee, that he would oppose fast-track authority, also known as Trade Promotion Authority or TPA. The letter was obtained by The Nation and its authenticity was confirmed by an aide to Van Hollen.

Van Hollen opposed a previous iteration of fast-track legislation last year, as did most other top Democrats, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. But so far, many of those Democrats (including Van Hollen) had not yet announced a position on the new TPA legislation being hammered out by Senators Ron Wyden, Orrin Hatch, and Representative Paul Ryan. (Levin opted out of those talks, and believes Congress should see at least the outline of a trade deal before taking up legislation to fast-track its approval.) Pelosi still remains publicly undecided.

If Van Hollen—a visible member of the Democratic caucus and ranking member of a major committee—ultimately supported the Wyden-Hatch-Ryan bill, it would have been a signal that House Democrats were ready to go along with the Obama administration’s trade agenda. But in his letter, Van Hollen wrote “it is clear that many [of my concerns] will not be included in a revised TPA.”

While the legislation remains behind closed doors for now, Van Hollen said continuing public opposition from Republicans made it clear that the TPA legislation wouldn’t include additional currency, labor, and environmental provisions. Moreover, he wrote that since TPA was being unveiled so close to the conclusion of the overall trade talks, “it is clearly too late for TPA to have any meaningful impact on the shape of TPP negotiations.”

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HR 1391 to Strengthen Social Security

Posted by randyshannon on April 4, 2015

More information

FACT SHEET

SSA Chief Actuary Letter

(Washington) – Today, Congressman John B. Larson released details of the Social Security 2100 Act, H.R. 1391. Authored and introduced by Congressman Larson, the proposal stands to comprehensively strengthen benefits for current and future Social Security beneficiaries while keeping the program strong through the 21st Century:

“Social Security is America’s insurance program. In fact, it’s the insurance you have paid for!”said Larson. “Social Security lifts Americans, including children, out of poverty and boosts our economy as a whole. This is a system we can count on, and by taking common-sense, gradual steps, we can ensure that Social Security benefits keep up with the needs of current and future generations.”

“We applaud Representative Larson for sponsoring such important, visionary legislation,” said Nancy Altman and Eric Kingston, founding Co-directors of Social Security Works, in a joint statement. “In recognition of a looming retirement income crisis, an increasing squeeze on middle class families, and rising income inequality, Representative Larson has introduced The Social Security 2100 Act, which is an important step in addressing all three. Among other important improvements, it increases benefits for all current and future beneficiaries and switches to the more accurate CPI-E to better protect benefits from eroding over time. He pays for the improvements in responsible, balanced ways, including by requiring the wealthiest to pay more of their fair share and by increasing the return on Social Security’s $2.8 trillion reserve.”

Larson’s proposal improves Social Security benefits by providing:

  • Benefit bump for current and new beneficiaries – Everyone will see modest increase starting in 2015.
  • Improved cost of living adjustments (COLA) by adopting the CPI-E formula.
  • A tax break to over 10 million Social Security recipients by raising the threshold for taxation on benefits for individual and joint filers.
  • Protection for low income workers because no one who paid into the system should come out poor. It would set a new minimum benefit that will be 25% above the poverty line.

Social Security is currently estimated to remain solvent until the early 2030’s. According to the Social Security Administration’s Chief Actuary Stephen C. Goss, Larson’s proposal would make the Social Security Trust Fund fully solvent beyond the 75-year projection period (2088) and put the system into actuarial balance.

Larson’s proposal keeps Social Security strong through the 21st Century by ensuring millionaires and billionaires pay into the system like every American, by gradually increasing the payroll tax on workers and employers starting in 2018, equivalent to 50 cents per week cumulatively, and investing a portion of the reserve back into the American economy to double the rate of return on assets held by the Trust Fund.

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Related

Huffington Post Blog Congressman John Larson’s Important Plan to Expand Social Security

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A Message to Our Congressman: Get Serious About Jobs and Economy

Posted by carldavidson on March 19, 2015

clip_image002

Congressional Progressive Caucus presenting its budget

8.4 Million Good Paying Jobs By 2018

$1.9 Trillion Investment In America’s Future

$820 billion infrastructure and transportation improvements

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The People’s Budget fixes an economy that, for too long, has failed to provide the opportunities American families need to get ahead. Despite their skills and work ethic, most American workers and families are so financially strapped from increasing income inequality that their paychecks barely cover basic necessities. They earn less and less as corporations and the wealthy continue amassing record profits. It has become clear to American workers that the system is rigged.

The People’s Budget levels the playing field and creates economic opportunity by increasing the pay of middle-and low-income Americans. More customers and higher consumer spending advance American businesses, not tax cuts and relaxed regulations. The People’s Budget drives a full economic recovery by creating high-quality jobs and reducing family expenses, restoring the buying power of working Americans.

The People’s Budget closes tax loopholes that companies use to ship jobs overseas. It creates fair tax rates for millionaires and provides needed relief to low-and middle-income families. It invests in debt-free college, workforce training and small businesses within our communities, helping return our economy to full employment and giving a raise to Americans who need it most. Investments in The People’s Budget boost employment and wages by addressing some of the biggest challenges of our time: repairing America’s rapidly aging roads and bridges, upgrading our energy systems to address climate change, keeping our communities safe, and preparing our young people to thrive as citizens and workers.

A fair wage is more than the size of a paycheck. It’s having enough hours, paid overtime, sick and parental leave, and affordable health and childcare. It’s being able to afford a good education for your kids and never living in fear that your job will be sent overseas. It’s knowing you can make ends meet at the end of the month. The People’s Budget helps achieve that with a raise for American workers, a raise for struggling families and a boost to America’s long-term global competitiveness.

A RAISE FOR AMERICA
o    Creates more than 8 million good jobs by 2018.
o    Increases functionality of Worker Protection Agencies.
o    Includes a four percent raise for federal workers.
o    Provides Paid Leave Initiative and Child Care.
o    Supports a minimum wage increase and Collective Bargaining.

AUSTERITY TO PROSPERITY
o    Repeals sequester and all Budget Control Act spending caps.
o    Increases discretionary funding to invest in working families.
o    Reverses harmful cuts and enhances social safety net.
o    Invests in veterans, women, communities of color and their families.

FAIR INDIVIDUAL TAXES

o    Equalizes tax rates for investment income and income from work.
o    Returns to Clinton-era tax rates for households making over $250,000 and implements new brackets for those making over $1 million.
o    Expands the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Care Credit.

FAIR CORPORATE TAXES
o    Eliminates the ability of U.S. corporations to defer taxes on offshore profits.
o    Ends corporate inversions that allow U.S. companies to merge offshore to avoid taxes.
o    Enacts a Financial Transaction Tax on various financial market transactions.
o    Ends unlimited executive pay tax write-offs.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR EVERY STUDENT
o    Provides debt-free college to every student. o    Allows refinancing of student loans.
o    Invests in K-12 and provides free pre-school.

AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE
o    Repeals excise tax on high-priced workers plans and replaces with public option.
o    Implements drug price negotiation for Medicare.
o    Reauthorizes Children’s Health Insurance Program.
o    Allows states to transition to single-payer health care systems.

PROTECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT
o    Closes tax loopholes and ends subsidies provided to oil, gas and coal companies.
o    Enacts a price on carbon pollution without hurting low-income families.
o    Invests in clean and renewable energy and green manufacturing.

SUSTAINABLE DEFENSE
o    Modernizes our defense posture to create sustainable baseline defense spending.
o    Ends emergency funding for Overseas Contingency Operations.
o    Increases funding for diplomacy and invests in job transition programs.

COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM

Implements comprehensive immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship.

ACCESS TO HOUSING

Fully funds programs to make housing affordable and accessible for all Americans.

 
PUBLIC FINANCING OF CAMPAIGNS

Funds public financing of campaigns to curb special interest influence in politics.

For more information, go HERE

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Analysis of 2016 People’s Budget

Posted by randyshannon on March 18, 2015

Grijalva EllisonThe ‘People’s Budget’Analysis of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget for Fiscal Year 2016

Executive summary

http://www.epi.org/publication/the-peoples-budget-analysis-of-the-congressional-progressive-caucus-budget-for-fiscal-year-2016/

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) has unveiled its fiscal year 2016 (FY2016) budget, titled The People’s Budget—A Raise for America. It builds on recent CPC budget alternatives in prioritizing near-term job creation, financing public investments, strengthening the middle and working classes, raising adequate revenue to meet budgetary needs while restoring fairness to the tax code, protecting social insurance programs, and ensuring fiscal sustainability.

Refer to the end of this paper for Figures A–C, visualizing the People’s Budget’s impacts on deficits, debt, and nondefense discretionary funding; Tables 1 and 2 detailing the policy changes within the budget; and summary tables 1 through 4 depicting budget totals as well as comparisons with the current law baseline.

The People’s Budget aims to improve the economic well-being of the working and middle classes by focusing on finally closing the persistent jobs gap, and it provides substantial upfront economic stimulus for that purpose. This paper details the baseline assumptions, policy changes, and budgetary modeling used in developing and scoring the People’s Budget, and it analyzes the budget’s cumulative fiscal and economic impacts, notably its near-term impacts on economic recovery and employment.1

We find that the People’s Budget would have significant, positive impacts. Specifically, it would:

  • Accelerate the economic recovery. The People’s Budget would sharply accelerate economic and employment growth. It would boost gross domestic product (GDP) by 3.9 percent and employment by 4.7 million jobs at its peak level of effectiveness (within one year of implementation), while ensuring that fiscal support lasts long enough to avoid future “fiscal cliffs” that could throw recovery into reverse.2
  • Promote job growth and achieve full employment. The budget’s near-term economic stimulus measures would create 4.7 million jobs in calendar year 2015 and an additional 3.8 million jobs over the following two years. By the end of calendar year 2018 the People’s Budget would support 9.1 million job years and would ensure a prompt and durable return to full employment.
  • Make necessary public investments. The budget finances roughly $528 billion in job creation and public investment measures in calendar year 2015 alone and roughly $1.34 trillion over calendar years 2015–2017.3 This fiscal expansion is consistent with the amount of fiscal support needed to rapidly reduce labor market slack and restore the economy to full health.
  • Facilitate economic opportunity for all. By expanding tax credits and other programs for middle- and working-class workers, boosting public employment, and incentivizing employers to create new jobs, the People’s Budget aims to boost economic opportunity for all segments of the population.
  • Strengthen social insurance. The People’s Budget strengthens the social safety net and proposes no benefit reductions to social insurance programs—in other words, it does not rely on simple cost-shifting to reduce the budgetary strain of health programs. Instead, it uses government purchasing power to lower health care costs (health care costs are the largest threat to long-term fiscal sustainability) and builds upon efficiency savings from the Affordable Care Act. The budget also expands and extends emergency unemployment benefits and increases funding for education, training, employment, and social services as well as income security programs in the discretionary budget.4
  • Smartly cut spending. The budget focuses on modern security needs by repealing sequestration cuts and spending caps that affect the Defense Department but replacing them with similarly sized funding reductions. It ends emergency overseas contingency operation spending in FY2016 and beyond, and ensures a slow rate of spending growth for the Defense Department for the remainder of the decade.
  • Ask everyone to contribute his or her fair share. The budget restores adequate revenue and pushes back against income inequality by adding higher marginal tax rates for millionaires and billionaires, equalizing the tax treatment of capital income and labor income, restoring a more progressive estate tax, eliminating inefficient corporate tax loopholes, levying a tax on systemically important financial institutions, and enacting a financial transactions tax, among other tax policies.
  • Reduce the deficit in the medium term. The budget increases near-term deficits to boost job creation, but reduces the deficit in FY2017 and beyond relative to CBO’s current law baseline. The budget would achieve primary budget balance (excluding net interest) and sustainable budget deficits below 2 percent of GDP in FY2017 and beyond.
  • Target a sustainable debt level. After increasing near-term borrowing to restore full employment, the budget gradually reduces the debt ratio to a fully sustainable 66.0 percent of GDP by FY2025. Relative to current law, the budget would reduce public debt by $3.2 trillion (11.6 percent of GDP).

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2016 “People’s Budget: A Raise for America” Unveiled

Posted by randyshannon on March 18, 2015

keith ellisonDueling Visions: The CPC People’s Budget vs. the Budget for the 1%

MARCH 18, 2015

The Congressional Progressive Caucus unveiled its fiscal 2016 “People’s Budget: A Raise For America” one day after House Republicans released their “A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America” proposal. The CPC touted a $1.9 trillion investment in America’s future and over 8 million new jobs. The House Republicans bragged about cutting $5 trillion over 10 years. The sharp contrast between the two reflect stark differences in values and ideology – and a basic choice of whether government will serve the many or the few.

The Republican budget is rightly scorned as a fantasy, a dishonest, Orwellian document,packed with magic asterisks and budget sleight of hand. But what is interesting is what Republicans claim that they value.

Republicans believe the rich and corporations have too little money and pay too much in taxes. They believe that Wall Street needs more freedom and less regulation. They believe that too many Americans have health insurance, that the poor have too much support, that schools need less money, that college should be less affordable to children from low-wage families. They believe that the Pentagon should get more money, and fight more wars. They believe that coal and oil need subsidy, not regulation.

They argue that the economy will grow faster if government spending is cut, regulations rolled back, and budgets balanced. Balancing the budget over 10 years is important enough that they sacrifice all credibility by packing the budget with omissions and distortions in order to reach the goal nominally. But balancing the budget is not important enough to ask the rich and corporations to pay an additional dime in taxes.

The CPC budget is fiscally cautious: It would bring America’s annual deficits down and begin to reduce the national debt as a percentage of GDP. But it is grounded in the reality that America faces major challenges that can no longer be ignored.

The CPC believes that our infrastructure is dangerously outmoded, so it makes a down payment on rebuilding America. It believes climate change is real, so invests in new energy and in aiding communities already staggered by extreme weather events. It believes education is vital, so it invests in universal pre-k, aid to schools and debt-free four-year college.

The CPC believes workers need a raise. So it lifts the minimum wage, calls for strengthening the workers right to organize, and lifts the floor with paid sick days, family leave, a crackdown on wage theft, revised overtime and more. It would continue health care reform, preserve Medicare and expand Social Security.

To pay for this, the CPC exacts savings from areas of massive waste. It would trim the Pentagon budget, and require an audit for the first time. It would end subsidies to Big Oil and limit them to agribusiness. It would empower Medicare to negotiate bulk discounts on prescription drugs, and create a public option in Obamacare to keep insurance companies honest.

And the CPC insists that the rich and corporations pay their fair share of taxes. It would create new tax brackets for those making a million or more. The People’s Budget raises the estate tax for the super-wealthy. It taxes the income of investors at the same rates as the income of workers. It terminates deferral, which allows multinationals to avoid taxes on money they report as earned abroad.

And the CPC argues we should tax “bads” to reduce them. It would impose a tax on polluters for carbon emissions, rebating a quarter of the revenue to protect low-wage families. It would hike taxes on cigarettes. It would impose a tax on speculation – a financial transactions tax – to curb destabilizing, computer-driven trading. It would end tax breaks for perverse CEO compensation policies.

The CPC argues the economy suffers from an absence of demand, partly driven by extreme inequality and the hollowing out of the middle class. Government investment in vital areas provides good jobs, moves the economy towards full employment and boosts demand. Government action to lift the floor under workers will help generate demand. Government crackdown on Wall Street speculation, CEOs looting companies and multinationals shipping jobs abroad will help drive investment into the real economy, not the financial casino.

The question really is who is the master? Who does government serve? Revealingly, the CPC People’s Budget provides for public financing of elections, seeking to limit the corruptions of big money. Republicans, not surprisingly, oppose any restriction on money politics.

The Republican budget – gimmicks, perverse priorities and all – will pass the House. The CPC People’s Budget will struggle to win 100 votes on the floor. But the former only reinforces what ails us. The latter offers an alternative that makes sense, that adds up. There is a way up. The rules don’t have to be rigged to favor the few. But it will take a sea change in Washington for common sense to gain majority support.

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