by Linda Beale
Congressional Progressive Caucus People’s Budget beats Ryan’s corporatist budget by a long shot, but doesn’t get media coverage
FAIR has a good point on the way the media have covered the US budget debates.
Fact is, the radical right wing budget proposed by radical right Ryan gets lots of coverage. FAIR noted that he was on Meet the Press 4/10, Face the Nation 4/17, ABC’sThis Week 5/1, PBS News Hour (one on one) 5/1, ABC Good Morning America 4/13, and he’s been profiled personally, showing that he has learned the key to Reagan’s success–you can say the most absurd things that are ultimately extraordinarily dangerous for ordinary people, and get ordinary people to think you are great, just by smiling and coming across as “genuine” and acting like you believe the lies you are spreading. Be a good actor, that is, and you can move the corporatist agenda forward at huge cost to ordinary Americans, because they will (regrettably) trust in your (fake) genuineness that you will do right by them. The budget plan has been covered in nightly news shows many times–though not with the kind of piercing analysis that would expose its corporatist bones for what it is. Instead, in the segments I’ve watched, it is almost always treated as though it is what it claims to be, an attempt to put the US on sound fiscal footing. That’s simply bullshit. It’s an attempt to eliminate the New Deal and move the US back to the pre-New Deal period when regulators were weak-kneed and Business could pretty much do whatever it wanted, and the military would serve Big Business interests around the globe.
Fact is, a very reasonable budget proposed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, “The People’s Budget”, that is based on sound economics, has gotten almost no coverage at all. What does it do? It increases tax on the wealthy (after a decade of their enjoying super-rich tax cuts), cuts military spending (after decades of enormous investments in the military, with the base budget for Defense doubling between 2000 and 2009 under George W. Bush), and imposes on a tax on Wall Street speculation (the kind of speculation that got us into a Great Recession that the rich have eased through and ordinary Americans are still suffering enormously from). The Budget proposes investments in public infrastructure that would spur economic growth, create jobs and ensure that the US does not continue to move towards third-world status in terms of its infrastructure. It includes a new public health insurance option as part of the national exchanges for health care plans, providing economies of scale and lower premiums. It also preserves Social Security benefits by raising the taxable amount of income.
Under the current system, income above a taxable maximum is not subject to any Social Security tax, meaning that high-income individuals pay less as a share of their income than everyone else. As income inequality has widened, a greater share of income has fallen outside of the taxable maximum, with the percent of earnings covered by the program slipping from 91% in 1983 to just 83% in 2009.
See the Economic Policy Institute for a technical analysis of the proposals, here.
Why is it that media covers the obscene Ryan plan and ignores the reasonable Progressive Caucus proposal? Probably because the radical right budget proposed by Ryan satisfies all the points of the corporatist agenda–cutting funds to support Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the social programs that blunt the edge of brute capitalism while keeping the gravy train going for the military-industrial-financial complex. Also, the Ryan budget is built on the same ideas of reagonomics that get touted as wonder workers even while they have wreaked economies from ours to Argentinas. Free marketarianism doesn’t work, never has, never will–it is brute capitalism that allows big business, and especially multinational corporations, to exploit little people at will while the few elite at the top (managers and owners) reap all the benefits.l That’s the Ryan budget in short. Instead of restoring the taxes on the wealthy to where they were before the George W. Bush regime in which economic idiocy reigned supreme along with neoliberal warmongering thinking that led us into two huge neverending wars that feed the military-industrial business machine, the Ryan budget would cut programs that make the difference between a decent life and a miserable one for aged and sick and poor Americans, while handing big business every gift it asks for.
And maybe because the corporate owners of corporate media are support the corporatist agenda to keep ordinary people from having real information about options that are in their interest, so that it will be easier to pass legislation (and issue court rulings) that favor multinational corporations over people.
crossposted with ataxingmatter