Progressive Arizona Rep. Raúl Grijalva, along with Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and other members of the Progressive coalition introduced their 2013 “Back to Work Budget” on Wednesday, a plan that, if implemented, promises to put 7 million Americans back to work. The plan would also eliminate $4.5 trillion of debt over the course of 10 years.
Raw Story spoke to Rep. Grijalva, who said that, unlike the budget proposed by former vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the “Back to Work Budget” is a workable plan that could genuinely solve the country’s financial woes rather than perpetuating the same policies that created the current economic malaise.
“Ours is such a stock choice,” he said. “And our budget accomplishes things that everybody talks about,” but which no one, even Democrats, ever actually seems to get around to legislating.
The progressive budget, he said, “accomplishes looking at a balanced budget without the hysteria and the ideological agenda of cutting things like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.”
The plan, he said, “is a well-crafted budget. And if we can get the attention out there in the hither lands, people are going to see it as a choice. Ours makes sense.”
“There’s plenty of money in the economy,” he continued, “and the beneficiaries of that money, the very, very top tier and large, multinational corporate America are hoarding it. They’re making really nice profits and dividends for their shareholders, but there’s nothing being put back in.”
The “Back to Work Budget” proposes raising revenues through the immediate expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, the creation of a new tax classification for millionaires and billionaires and taxing them at 49 percent. The plan would tax income made from investments at the same rate as money earned from working.
The budget would also end government subsidies to gas and oil companies and other large, profitable enterprises, netting billions in federal income per year. It proposes a tax on financial transactions between banks, which not only would generate revenue, it would function as a regulatory brake on the kind of out-of-control speculation that crashed the financial markets in 2008.
The plan would roll back defense spending to the levels they were in 2006, with an aim to eliminating waste, fraud and redundant projects that have little relevance to modern warfare in the defense contracting industry.
“I think we worked hard to craft something that, if we can get the American people to see it, they’re gonna get behind it,” he concluded. “You’ll see. It’s going to be a really different choice that what they see from Ryan.”
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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