Thought it didn’t receive much coverage, the Congressional Progressive Caucus released its own budget plan last week. According to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, the plan would reduce the debt and actually result in a budget surplus in ten years. It would pull this off by, among other things, raising taxes on the rich, lifting the Social Security cap, creating a public health insurance option, allowing the government to negotiate prices for the drugs it pays for through the Medicare drug program (Part D), and significantly reducing “defense” spending by scaling back our military commitments, including our military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now, say what you will about this plan, unlike House budget chairman Paul Ryan’s plan, it actually is brave in the sense that it stands up for less powerful members of society and stands up to some of the most powerful ones. Which of course means it has no chance of being enacted. At the very least, though, wouldn’t a serious debate about the budget include something like this as one of the options to be considered?
ADDED LATER: Economist and author of The End of Poverty Jeffrey Sachs argues, in an article clearly laying out what’s at stake in the budget debate, that the Congressional Caucus proposal is more realistic than either the Ryan or the Obama plan.