The Lonely Job of Saving American Democracy
INTERESTING STUFF – 17 December 2011

A Sane Proposal for Jobs and the Economy

category_bug_politics.gif Even through there is nothing more important to citizens of the U.S. than the economic crisis in general and jobs in particular, as of yesterday afternoon you could not read the news I have for you today anywhere in mainstream media.

To find it, you needed to be reading thinkprogress, firedoglake, Hullabaloo, Huffington Post, even The Hill - and today, thanks to all those good websites - moi.

On Tuesday, the Congressional Progressive Caucus led by its chairman, Arizona Representative Raul Grijalva, introduced H.R. 3638, the Restore the American Dream for the 99 Percent Act.

The Economic Policy Institute says the bill would create 5 million jobs over the next two years and reduce the budget deficit by $2 trillion over the next decade.

H.R.3638 contains the kinds of provisions that would get the country moving forward again. You know, stuff Congress should have been enacting during these past four years instead of lining the pockets of the already rich while American family budgets are circling the drain. And it aligns with much that the #occupy movement has brought to the nation's attention.

I want to say that this bill is brilliant, creative and forward thinking, but it really is not. In an economy this bad for this long, it is only common sense and it is pretty much exactly what many Democrats and progressives have been calling for all along while being pointedly ignored by the people who can do anything about it.

Although it's fairly long, this summary of the bill's of provisions is a quick read (or, the pdf is here). And there is a related holiday surprise/treat for you at the bottom of this post.

BACKGROUND
After repeated efforts by conservative Washington politicians to reenact the same failed policies, Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) took action. CPC Members traveled across the country listening to the American people.

Americans told us they want work and that cutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance and education is unacceptable; they want big banks to clean up the mess they made and millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share.

KEY JOBS CREATION PROVISIONS
Emergency jobs to put America to Work: creates 2.2 million jobs through on-the-job training and direct hire programs for cops, teachers, firefighters, construction and maintenance workers for schools, parks and public land workers, work study jobs for students, health providers including nurses and assistants and a new Community Corp to take care of our neighborhoods.

Buy America: requires materials for government contracts are manufactured in the U.S.

Infrastructure bank: creates an infrastructure bank that will allow private sector partnering with regions, States and localities to create infrastructure projects

Protection of our wounded veterans: ensures that our veterans are not discriminated against in the workplace for time spent receiving treatment for injuries

Investment in infrastructure and transportation: provides $50 billion to fix our crumbling roads, bridges, rail lines, sewer systems and to upgrade power lines and mass transit systems

REVENUE INCREASES AND SAVINGS
Fairness in taxation: requires people that make over $1 million a year to pay their fair share, raising $800 billion

Defense spending: A rare consensus has emerged among a wide range of policymakers, deficit reduction plan must tackle Defense spending. Ending unnecessary programs saves $280 billion

Unchecked war spending: restricting spending in Afghanistan to planning and executing a responsible troop withdrawal saves ≈ $1.2 trillion

Oil and gas industry and polluter taxes: the oil and gas corporations are among the most profitable on Earth; ending tax giveaways and requiring polluters to clean up their mess will raise over $60 billion

Wall Street and speculators tax: The financial sector shattered the global economy – this 0.03 percent tax disincentivizes dangerous speculation by slightly raising the cost to trade which raises $350 billion

Making Work Pay Tax Credit: this progressive tax refund that would put money into the pockets of those that need it most to boost the economy would be extended for 2 years

PROTECTING MEDICARE, MEDICAID AND SOCIAL SECURITY
Public option: allowing a public option to operate with private in the health care exchanges saves $88 billion

Negotiate drug prices: allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical saves $156 billion

Enhancing Medicaid rates: the fastest way to support state governments would be to restore the increased federal Medicaid matching rates

Scrapping Social Security cap: Social Security by law cannot contribute to the deficit; however people making over $106,800 do not pay taxes on the additional income. To ensure long-term solvency, this requires anyone making over $250,000 to pay the normal social security tax on their upper income

There is much more detail about how all this would be accomplished here.

If only Congress would take this seriously. So sad that it will not.

Now for that surprise I promised. This Halleluijah Chorus with new lyrics written especially for our economic predicament. It is titled Hallelujah - A Musical Tribute to Corporate Excess. The YouTube page states:

Hallelujah was conceived, rehearsed and filmed in Tamworth, NH, a small town with a population of 2556 that has as its backdrop Mt Chocorua, the most photographed mountain in America. Tamworth is part of Occupy The Mt Washington Valley. Tamworth was the summer home of President Grover Cleveland.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Mary B Summerlin: Wounded Woodpecker

Comments

Just a quick note about that wonderful clip from the Mt. Washington Valley: when I was up that way last summer, I was stunned to find that the New Hampshire unemployment rate was one of the lowest in the nation. Just looked it up. The state was at 5.3 percent in October.

It's a testament to 1) how long New Hampshire has watched the decimation of its good jobs (they may have jobs, but what kind?) and 2) how widely the message of Occupy has spread that there is an Occupy in the White Mountain region.

Also note that low unemployment number when the NH primary plays a large role in choosing a Republican candidate. Folks there aren't in a situation analogous to much of the nation.

Thank you thank you.

Ronni--"Ending unnecessary programs saves $280 billion"

Someone needs to explain to me why Pres Obama is sending (eventually) 2500 US Marines to Australia. Really?

BTW: I was reminded this morning that “The U.S. Marine Corps is the only armed forces that does not require congressional approval for the president to send them out.”


Ronni,

Loved the quartet singing the rousing "Hallelujah - A Musical Tribute to Corporate Excess."

Thank you for that and for all the research you do to bring us the facts and figures we should know.

I love Hallelujah Corporations and have forwarded it to my friends. It's just wonderful.

I'm as proud to say that Raul Griljava is a Tucson native. Not all Arizonans are as crazy as our governor.

Loved the tribute to corporate excess. I remember that they tried to get a made in America requirement into the infrastructure part of the stimulus. Then it was struck because too many of our trading 'partners' (like China) would cry foul. I have given up on expecting anything moderate, sane, or reasonable from our legislature. Bless Grijava for proposing the bill even if it does turn out to be another exercise in tilting at windmills.

Ronni you are fantastic! Today TGB is probably the most wonderful of all I have seen!
That you spend a great deal of time researching is evident and so appreciated!

HR 3638 looks like a great bill! While your condensed version is wonderful, I will read the whole text, as I am sure you did!

The "Corporation/Hallelujah Chorus" is fabulous! This will not be the first, (or last) TGB I will send to my group list where my friends include right, and far right wing conservatives, christians, atheists, RV'rs, and many progressive activists. While I may loose a few friends as a result, que serra, serra!

Great Job!

Terrific information. You're right that the media should be all over this--but they're not! You're also right that the current Congress probably won't enact much (if any) of what's called for in this proposal. Among myriad other reasons, that's why we need more Progressives in Congress.

It probably won't do much good, but I intend to email my Congressional reps and urge them to support this bill.

Now I'm off to the DOL to get my driver's license renewed. Does anyone else worry about passing the vision test? I think my vision is still pretty good. Well, we shall see. . .

Thanks for all you do to keep us informed:) Dee

I don't hold out much hope for the media to cover this as they have none paid any attention to the Congressional Progressive Caucus up until now. I feel fortunate that when I moved to Tucson that I live in Raul Grijalva's district. I hope he can maintain his seat.

Many of my neighbors are concerned with yesterday's newspaper headline that said 1 in 2 Americans is now considered low income. We have put the wolves in charge of the hen house and are seeing the consequences.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)