Daily Archives: April 13, 2011

Here’s what the President proposed today…

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...

Is the guy we elected back?

According to TPM:

  • A debt failsafe that will be triggered if the debt-to-GDP ratio hasn’t stabilized, and begun to decline by mid-decade. This will include automatic spending cuts, and reductions in tax subsidies, but no tax increases. Social Security, Medicare, and low-income programs will be exempted. It will not tie the government’s hands in the event that an economic downturn requires fiscal stimulus.
  • Cuts to discretionary spending, compatible with those in the Bowles-Simpson recommendations.
  • Defense spending cuts, contingent on a thorough review conducted by Secretary Robert Gates, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Obama himself, and savings generated by winding down operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Strengthening the Independent Payment Advisory Board, created by the health care law to recommend and implement cost savings reforms to hold down the cost-per-Medicare-patient.
  • Simplifying the formula for providing federal matching funds to states for Medicaid, which would automatically increase in the event of a recession
  • This is a big one — Obama will propose using Medicare’s purchasing power to reduce prescription drug costs for seniors
  • Reductions in agricultural subsidies
  • Comprehensive tax reform, which reduces loopholes, simplifies the system, allows the Bush tax cuts for high-income earners to expire, and reduces the corporate tax rate.

It may not be everything we want… and it may need the infusion of the Congressional Progressive Caucus that I presented earlier today… but this started to sound like the Obama we elected. My question is will he stand his ground on letting the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire. He’s going to go head-to-head with Boehner and the Tea-Party-Controlled Republicans who have said they will not support any increase in taxes.

I’m not sure a deal can be made here, so there will have to be another strategy… and it won’t be pretty.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus vs. the Republicans’ Budget Proposal.

Keith Ellison (politician)

Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Keith Ellison

I’ve been so tired of all the discussion of Paul Ryan’s disastrous Republican budget, and the Right-wing’s claims that no one else is making one (despite the fact that the President is working on one which he will start discussing tonight).

Well, the Congressional Progressive Caucus which includes progressive members of both the House and Senate ( I counted 83 members… not a tiny caucus) are proposing a budget as well… and this one is not only practical and works hard to correct our financial situation faster than the Republicans without destroying the Middle Class and making the 1% upper class grab even more of our dollars.

They sent it to Chris Van Hollen, the Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee last week. Below is the letter to Van Hollen and the Budget Outline and chart showing Budget Surplus by 2021:

April 6, 2011
Dear Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen:
Thank you for taking the time to discuss the fiscal year 2012 budget with progressive Members of Congress. We agree that it is essential to offer a clear contrast to the monumentally reckless Republican proposal. From the current budget debate, it is clear that Republicans are leading us down a road to ruin. Democrats stand with the people, and our legislative proposals should reflect that.
The Republican budget will wreak havoc on hard-working Americans. They have proven, once again, their unwavering commitment to taking trillions of dollars from the pockets of the middle class and giving ever more generous windfalls to millionaires and large corporations.

They want to throw seniors off Medicare. Their slash-and-burn tactics will throw hundreds of thousands of people out of work. They will eliminate health care for children and those with disabilities. They will fire teachers, firefighters and police — some of the truest heroes of our society. We must be clear — we will not and cannot stand for this recklessness. We must fight for the American people.

We need a tax system that is fair and stops the giveaways for millionaires and corporations that ship American jobs overseas. We need to close corporate tax loopholes being exploited at a great cost to taxpayers. We must cut subsidies to oil and gas companies currently reaping windfall profits at the expense of consumers. We must protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — the safety nets that have made this country strong and prosperous. The Republicans have opened an all-out attack to privatize and destroy them.
We must invest in our children and make sure they have the same opportunities we have. We need to responsibly end the wars abroad and limit future military excursions that obligate tax dollars and the lives of young men and women with little direct benefit to the United States. We should use this money to take care of our troops and veterans by making sure they have jobs and health care when they return.

The best way to get us on track is to put the millions of Americans who would love to be taxpayers again back to work building new infrastructure and a twenty-first century economy. We can present a clear alternative to the American people. We can and must produce a budget that eliminates the deficit, protects the American people, and creates jobs.

I would like to present you our alternative plan: “The People’s Budget.” This budget saves the American people from the recklessness of the Republican majority. The attached memo outlines our plan. I hope you will give this due consideration as we move through the budget process.

Keith Ellison
Co-Chair Progressive Caucus
Raül M. Grijalva
Co-Chair Progressive Caucus

TO:        Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen
FROM: Co-chairs, Congressional Progressive Caucus
RE: 2012 Budget

The CPC budget:
• Eliminates the deficits and creates a surplus
• Puts America back to work with a “Make it in America” jobs program
• Protects the social safety net
• Ends the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
• Is FAIR (Fixing America’s Inequality Responsibly)
To summarize what our budget accomplishes:
• Primary budget balance by 2014.
Budget surplus by 2021.
• Reduce public debt as a share of GDP to 64.4% by 2021, down 16.9 percentage points from a baseline fully adjusted for both the doc fix and the AMT patch.
• Reduce deficits by $5.7 trillion over 2012-21
• Both outlays and revenue equal 22.3% of GDP by 2021.

Breakdown of Policies:
Individual income tax policies
1. Extend marriage relief, credits, and incentives for children, families, and education, but let the upper-income tax cuts expire and let tax brackets revert to Clinton-era rates
2. Index the AMT for inflation for a decade (AMT patch paid for)
3. Rescind the upper-income tax cuts in the tax deal
4. Schakowsky millionaire tax rates proposal (adding 45%, 46%, and 47% top rates)
5. Progressive estate tax (Sanders estate tax, repeal of Kyl-Lincoln)
6. Tax capital gains and qualified dividends as ordinary income

Corporate tax reform
1. Tax U.S. corporate foreign income as it is earned
2. Eliminate corporate welfare for oil, gas, and coal companies
3. Enact a financial crisis responsibility fee
4. Financial speculation tax (derivatives, foreign exchange)
Health care
1. Enact a public option
2. Negotiate Rx payments with pharmaceutical companies
3. CMS program integrity and other Medicare and Medicaid savings in the president’s budget.
4. Prevent a cut in Medicare physician payments for a decade (maintain doc fix)
Social Security
1. Raise the taxable maximum on the employee side to 90% of earnings and eliminate the taxable maximum on the employer side
2. Increase benefits based on higher contributions on the employee side

Defense savings
1. End overseas contingency operations emergency supplementals starting in 2013, providing $170 billion in FY2012 funding for withdrawal
2. Reduce baseline Defense spending by reducing strategic capabilities, conventional forces, procurement, and R&D programs
Job Creation
1. Invest $1.45 trillion in job creation, early childhood, K-12 and special education, quality child care, energy and broadband infrastructure, housing, and R&D
2. Infrastructure bank
3. Surface transportation reauthorization bill
4. Finance surface transportation reauthorization

CPC Budget Achieves Budget Surplus by 2021

Feel free to print this out and carry it around with you when you get into arguments with people who have been snowed by Ryan’s pro-rich, anti-middle-class proposal. You’ll be a winner!

Let’s ban high-capacity gun magazines… Please!

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, an organization this blog has long supported, put out the new spot on Tuesday morning calling directly on President Barack Obama to take a stand against high-capacity magazines — the clip used by Jared Loughner, the alleged shooter of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and 19 others in Tucson.

The group is providing an interesting promoter, Kelly O’Brien, fiancee of Gabe Zimmerman, the Giffords’ staffer killed by Loughner, was be on Capitol Hill Tuesday to endorse the legislation sponsored by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) which would ban high-capacity magazines.

Of course, one of Loughner’s victims was a nine-year-old girl, which is probably the reason that the ad focuses on  a “little girl with pigtails” target that gets shot by a repeating Glock.

Needless to say, the NRA is expected to come out against this ad pretty quickly. After all, being able to rapid fire 16 to 32 shots will certainly be defended by the Constitution.

Yeah. Sure.

Here’s the ad:

Now it’s time to contact your Senators and Representatives and tell them you want this law passed.

Saw this on HuffPo this morning – will this effect Haley Barbour’s campaign possibilities?

"At his press conference today, Governor ...

Haley Barbour

As people gear up to enter the Republican Presidential Primary, all kinds of past facts start coming forward. One example is Haley Barbour‘s career as a lobbyist.

I’ll give you a clip here, but there are plenty of details in the article:

clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is embracing his background as one of Washington’s top lobbyists, saying his powers of persuasion would be an asset if he wins the White House.
But an Associated Press review of lobbying by the powerhouse firm Barbour helped found before his first campaign for governor shows that he represented clients on issues and interests that could provide his Republican primary opponents ample ammunition and raise eyebrows among some Republican voters.
Barbour Griffith & Rogers Inc., which Barbour helped establish in 1991, represented foreign governments on trade and immigration issues, advocated for a fuel additives association that was working in opposition to the ethanol industry dear to Iowa voters, and helped a number of universities get federal funding through a tactic that is anathema to cut-spending conservatives.
The governor’s work at the firm could open him to attacks by fellow Republicans on several fronts…
blog it