Join Senator Bernie Sanders and Campaign for America’s Future in Supporting Bernie’s Progressive Budget.
Much of the talk in Washington right now is about right-wing deficit reduction plans like the so-called Ryan budget, which would give even more tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires while making severe cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. It is time to shift the debate away from devastating budget cuts to a progressive alternative, which calls for making the very wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share of taxes, cuts a military budget that has nearly tripled since 1997, and protects the needs of the most vulnerable in our society—the elderly, the sick, the children, and the poor. We must stand together and say: “No more austerity for working families. It’s time for austerity for the top one percent.”
Please sign the petition below and tell Washington politicians that at a time when the wealthy have seen their incomes soar and when their effective tax rate is lower than many middle class workers, we can achieve deficit reduction in a way that is fair and that doesn’t require decimating the social programs that millions of working families depend on.
Here are several ways that Congress and the President can tackle deficit reduction in a way that protects the needs of working people and the most vulnerable, while at the same time calling for shared sacrifice from wealthy and large corporations:
The Wealthy and Large Corporations Must Pay Their Fair Share
A recent study done by University of California economist Emmanuel Saez shows that ninety-three percent of all new income between 2009 and 2010 went to the top one percent. Everyone else, the bottom ninety-nine percent, divided up the remaining seven percent.
At a time when the rich are becoming much richer and their effective tax rate is the lowest in decades, here are a number of proposals, which could increase federal revenue, help lower the deficit, and adequately fund social needs in America:
- Every year, the United States loses an estimated $100 billion in tax revenues due to offshore tax abuses by the wealthy and large corporations. This is wrong. By cracking down on offshore tax shelters, we can reduce the federal deficit by as much as $1 trillion over the next decade.
- By taxing capital gains and dividends the same way that we tax salaried work, we would raise over $730 billion over ten years.
- By repealing the Bush tax cuts for the rich, we could raise at least $700 billion over the next ten years.
- Our economic and deficit crises are a direct result of the greed and recklessness of Wall Street. By establishing a Wall Street speculation fee of less than one percent on the sale and purchase of credit default swaps, derivatives, stock options and futures, we will reduce the gambling on Wall Street, encourage investment in a productive economy and reduce the deficit by $350 billion over ten years.
- By establishing a progressive estate tax on inherited wealth of more than $3.5 million, we could raise more than $70 billion over ten years.
- The five largest oil companies in the United States have earned about $1 trillion in profits over the past decade. By ending tax breaks and subsidies to big oil, gas and coal companies, we could reduce the deficit by more than $40 billion over the next ten years.
Reduce Defense Spending
The President’s plan to achieve $1.1 trillion in savings over the next decade by ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is a critical first step, but we must go further. At a time when the United States has nearly tripled defense spending since 1997, and when we now spend more on the military than every other country on earth combined, it is time to cut military spending. A report that Bernie recently issued revealed the massive amount of fraud and waste which permeates the Pentagon’s relationship with defense contractors.
Here are several ways that we can immediately reduce defense spending:
- By eliminating outdated Cold War weapons programs, we can save approximately $100 billion a year at the Pentagon.
- By eliminating waste, fraud and abuse within the military and every federal government agency, we can save between $150 billion and $200 billion over ten years.
- Four separate investigations by the Government Accountability Office have found that the Pentagon has $36.9 billion in spare parts that it does not need. We must reform the Pentagon’s purchasing practices to be more transparent and cost effective.
- By bringing the troops home from Afghanistan as soon as possible, we can bring about substantial reductions in defense spending.
Protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid
During the most challenging economic times since the Great Depression, it is grotesquely immoral and bad economic policy to cut desperately needed programs for working people, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor while not asking millionaires and billionaires to contribute one nickel toward deficit reduction. During this past year, as Chairman of the Senate Defending Social Security Caucus, Bernie has helped lead the successful effort to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from proposed devastating cuts.
Here are several ways that we can strengthen these vitally important social programs:
- Social Security today has a $2.7 trillion surplus, can pay out all benefits owed to every eligible American for the next 22 years and, because it is funded independently by the payroll tax, has not added one penny to our national deficit or debt. Bernie has introduced legislation that would lift the payroll tax cap on those making over $250,000 annually, which would keep Social Security solvent for another 75 years.
- By requiring Medicare to negotiate drug prices, we could save more than $15 billion a year. Due to the Medicare Part D prescription drug legislation signed into law by President George W. Bush, Medicare is currently prohibited from negotiating with the pharmaceutical industry.
Create Good-Paying Jobs
Today, real unemployment (counting those who have given up looking for work and those working part-time when they want to work full-time) is over 15 percent; 25 million Americans are either unemployed or underemployed.
During the last decade, the United States has lost about 30 percent of its manufacturing jobs and over 50,000 factories have been shut down. As part of a progressive economic agenda, we must demand that corporate American invest in the United States and not China and other low wage countries. Further, at a time when our infrastructure is crumbling, we can create millions of jobs rebuilding our roads, bridges, water systems, airports and public transportation.
We can also combat global warming and reverse greenhouse gas emissions by transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. When we do that, we will also create a significant number of jobs.
Here are several specific provisions that we can strengthen our economy and create good-paying jobs:
- By eliminating loopholes in our tax code, which reward companies that move U.S. manufacturing jobs overseas, the Joint Tax Committee has estimated that we could raise more than $582 billion in revenue over ten years.
- By establishing a currency manipulation fee on China and other currency manipulators, the Economic Policy Institute estimates that we can raise $500 billion over ten years and create one million new jobs.
These are some of the ideas that constitute a progressive budget and a progressive agenda. If adopted, they will create millions of good paying jobs, lower our deficit and protect the elderly, children and the most vulnerable people in our society.
Please stand with us in the fight for a progressive budget and a progressive America. Please sign today.
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