fresh voices from the front lines of change







For the past 24 hours, the media has dutifully reported on the budget proposal from Rep. Paul Ryan, even though everyone knows it is extremely unlikely to become law.

That’s fine; it’s not the media’s job to short-circuit debate. It’s the media’s job to report factually on the ideas proposed in Congress, so the public can weigh in before Congress votes.

Today, another budget will be proposed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the “Back to Work” budget. It probably won’t become law either. But it deserves every bit of media attention that Ryan’s budget gets.

Even though the Progressive Caucus holds an unfair advantage: It includes policies the public actually supports.

Polls overwhelming show the public wants Washington to focus on jobs first, and the deficit second (a distant second).

The Ryan budget offers nothing on jobs. By putting America on a crash course towards eliminating the budget deficit in 10 years , it would sacrifice 2 million jobs in the next year alone.

In contrast, the Progressive Caucus budget prioritizes jobs, with infrastructure investment, school modernization, a Park Improvement Corps, Student Jobs Corps, Child Care Corps and funds to hire teachers, police firefighters and other civil servants.

But the Caucus does not neglect deficit reduction while investing in jobs. The overall budget reduces deficits by $4.4 trillion over 10 years by raising tax rates on millionaires, closing tax loopholes that favor the wealthy, enacting a tax on Wall Street speculation, eliminating unneeded corporate subsidies for fossil fuels and putting a desperately needed price on carbon pollution.

Higher taxes on the wealthy is popular. Taxing Wall Street speculation is popular. Tackling carbon pollution, even if costs people some money, is popular.

Destroying Medicare is not popular. Deficit reduction without any tax increases is not popular. Ignoring jobs is not popular.

Of course, the media shouldn’t let popularity influence coverage. All ideas should get a fair hearing, so the public can make a final judgment after hearing all sides.

But it’d be crazy for the media to give all the attention to the budget full of unpopular ideas, and none for the budget full of popular ideas.

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