Deficit reduction plans are coming from all directions – mostly from the right. We have the Simpson-Bowles plan, the Rivlin-Domenici Plan, and one which I haven’t had time to thoroughly read yet, the Peterson Foundation-Pew Foundation Plan. These plans relieve the upper classes of any responsibility and burden for the deficit but come down hard on the working classes.
One member, and only one member, of all of these commissions is a progressive with the best interests of the working folks in mind. That person is U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky. As a member of President Obama’s deficit reduction commission, she has, in an act of admirable courage, taken on the Washington elite by issuing her own deficit reduction plan.
She lists the following guiding principles of her plan:
- Achieve deficit reduction and stabilize debt without harming lower-income and middle-class families.
- Create jobs and restore economic prosperity.
- Make investments to keep America strong and competitive – and raise sufficient revenues to fund them.
- Provide shared opportunity and reduce unprecedented income disparities.
- Solve problems – don’t shift costs and burdens to families and businesses.
These principles are far different than anything you will find in the elitist plans coming out of right-wing foundations (e.g. Bipartisan Policy Center, Peter G. Peterson Foundation, etc.) or the President’s deficit reduction commission. As opposed to raising taxes on the middle class and poor through regressive consumption taxes (in the other plans), she would raise capital gains taxes from the current 15% level to the same level as income taxes that everyone else pay. In addition, she would eliminate many of the corporate tax breaks that encourage corporations to ship their factories and jobs out of the country.
Jan Schakowsky’s plan can be found at http://www.janschakowsky.org/; pdf at https://secure.mydccc.org/o/30047/images/Schakowsky%20Deficit%20Reduction%20Plan.pdf