President Obama’s got a handful of great ideas in his budget proposal: free community college, universal preschool, and more. But he still proposes to spend more than half of our federal discretionary budget on the Pentagon and military – and only a small fraction of that actually goes to our troops.
Think there must be a better way? Here are just five reasons to support the People’s Budget. Congress will vote on the People’s Budget and other alternatives after they come back from Easter break.
More votes for the People’s Budget means we’ll get closer to a future that includes:
1. Infrastructure, at last (and justice for Flint).
The People’s Budget includes a $1 trillion in much-needed investment in our national infrastructure, including roads, mass transit, bridges, and pipelines, paid for in part by a new fee for oil companies. This proposal is a major job creator. And the People’s Budget includes $765 million specifically for Flint, Michigan to address the water crisis. Some simple math: any budget that doesn’t make things right for the people of Flint isn’t worth a dime.
2. Universal preschool.
What’s good for families, women, kids and the economy? Universal preschool, that’s what. The People’s Budget fully funds Early Head Start, giving kids a strong start early in life, and adopts the president’s proposals for universal preschool for all. It’s a win-win-win-win (that’s four wins). And we can afford it if we spend our money right: we currently spend twice as much on 20th-century throwback nuclear weapons as we do on Head Start.
3. Debt-free college.
For struggling families, the cost of a four-year public college education can amount to three-quarters of their annual income – and that’s after receiving financial aid. Paying for college with a summer job hasn’t been a reality since bellbottoms went out of style (the first time).
The People’s Budget would provide federal matching funds to states so that students could go to college debt-free. If only they’d had this in my day.
4. Bring sense back to our Pentagon budget.
The continued flow of billions of dollars to the Pentagon and its contractors – all while military families take cuts – is downright indecent. The People’s Budget does away with the Pentagon slush fund after fiscal year 2017 (Overseas Contingency Operations), saving $761 billion over ten years. The budget achieves Pentagon savings by allowing our armed forces to gradually shrink through natural attrition, and by limiting rampant outsourcing that diverts taxpayer dollars to corporate profits. What it doesn’t do? It doesn’t save money by cutting benefits (pay or pensions, or TRICARE health benefits) for our troops.
5. Ask our wealthiest citizens to pay their fair share.
If you earn a billion dollars or more each year (anyone? Bueller?), the People’s Budget would assign you a tax rate of 49%, with somewhat lower rates for wealthy Americans who earn between $1 million and $1 billion each year. That 49% rate is still lower than the highest individual tax rate during most of the presidency of conservative hero, President Ronald Reagan, and about the same as during the economic boom years of the nineties. The People’s Budget uses this and other widely supported tax changes to pay for increased investment in our country and our future.
Ask your member of Congress to vote for the People’s Budget!