Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
Congress sort of put the 2011 budget to bed last Friday with an 11th hour deal that forestalled a federal government shutdown. Teapublicans had a laundry list of progressive legislation that they wanted to completely defund or dramatically reduce:
Missing from the Teapublican budget-balancing list is any mention of:
What makes the first list so attractive to Teapublicans is that– except for the last two items (medical research and public broadcasting)– the cuts only hurt the poor and middle class families. These groups are too disorganized, too uninformed, or too distraught trying to find food and shelter to fight back. Teapublicans, Republicans, and some Democrats don’t want to touch most of the items on the second list because each item has at least one group of corporate lobbyists protecting it.
Except for throwing Washington DC’s reproductive health services under the bus (what’s up with that?), the top list of programs survived the recent budget battle which cut $38 billion from the current budget. (Tepublicans also wanted to weaken the Environmental Protection Agency’s [EPA] ability to protect air and water from pollution and weaken the Food and Drug Administration’s [FDA] ability to protect the food supply, but I couldn’t find an online reference for how those proposals faired in the 11th hour of budget negotiations. Except for the fact that deregulation is at the top of every corporate wish list, these EPA and FDA cuts would harm the public health and safety of all Americans.)
2012 Teapublican Budget
Now the 2012 budget battle begins. Ultra-conservative Representative Paul Ryan’s budget plan would:
Although some tout Ryan as a conservative visionary with his brave budget-balancing act, I call him the ultimate hypocrite flip-flopper, since he was in the drunken sailors club that created the budget deficit during the Dark Ages (AKA the Bush Administration). Now he’s got religion and wants to cut-cut-cut, since that is currently popular in conservative circles.
2012 People’s Budget
To counter Ryan’s “artless war on the poor”, the 80-member Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC)– co-chaired by our own Representative Raul Grijalva and Representative Keith Ellison— revealed the People’s Budget. According to their website, the CPC proposal:
Also according to their website, the CPC proposal accomplishes:
Ironically, if you want to learn more about a proposal made by a Southern Arizona Congressman, you have to go to the Huffington Post– or the TucsonCitizen.com– because it was not covered by the Arizona Daily Star. From the Huffington Post…
Their [the Progressive Caucus’] plan is humane, responsible, and most of all sensible, reflecting the true values of the American people and the real needs of the floundering economy. Unlike Paul Ryan’s almost absurdly vicious attack on the poor and working class, the People’s Budget would close the deficit by raising taxes on the rich, taming health care costs (including a public option), and ending the military spending on wars and wasteful weapons systems.
So, the question is: Going forward, do we want the People’s Budget or military-industrial complex’s budget? Do we want government for the people or against the people? What transpires in the coming months is gravely important for future generations; we have to pay attention as events unfold in Washington.