Whose Budget Polls Best – Ryan or Progressive Caucus?

Dave Johnson

There are two budgets in front of the House now. These are the “Back To Work Budget” offered by the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) and the Paul Ryan/GOP budget. Will the absolutely overwhelming (see polling below) wishes and needs of We, the People determine what the final budget will be? Will the American Majority win this one?

The CPC “Back To Work Budget” focuses on actually creating jobs to grow the economy. It quickly puts millions of Americans back to work, increases GDP by 5.7 percent, repairs our infrastructure so our businesses can be ore competitive, realigns our tax structure and by doing these things dramatically cuts the deficit. Here’s the thing: the budget’s policy choices line up with the things the election was supposed to have decided, and with polls that again and again make it clear what the public’s wishes and needs are.

Then there is Rep. Paul Ryan’s Republican-backed budget. It doubles down on last year’s Republican budget that was rejected in the election and the polls. This budget offers the same-old rejected, job-killing, deficit-causing nonsense of tax cuts for the rich, big increases in military spending and devastating cuts in the things We, the People do to make our lives better. It immediately lays off hundreds of thousands across government, and puts millions more out of work longer term through drastic “austerity.” And it gives huge tax breaks to billionaire “job creators” who promise to create jobs only after we make them wealthy enough.

Jobs Or Job-Killing, Your Choice

Jobs or job-killing, it’s your choice. Jobs fix deficits and the CPC “Back To Work Budget” is all about jobs.

The CPC “Back To Work Budget” hires 7 million people right away to repair and modernize our infrastructure, thereby making our economy more competitive. Putting people to work building a bridge is not “spending” because you are exchanging one asset – cash – for another asset, a bridge that helps businesses grow. Voters and polls choose infrastructure spending.

The Ryan/GOP budget actually forces layoffs of large numbers of government employees and forces cuts that will slow the economy, laying off millions more. It further cuts infrastructure spending. (Republicans complain that we should not maintain our infrastructure because it is just “government spending” – as if that was a bad thing. (See also here, here, here, here.) Voters and polls reject this approach.

Tax The Rich Or Cut Taxes On The Rich?

Tax the rich or cut taxes on the rich? Also your choice. The Back to Work budget pays for its investment in infrastructure and other hiring. It closes loopholes that billionaires and corporations use to avoid taxes. It ends the Bush tax cots for people making over $250,000. It adds a new rate for millionaires and billionaires. It taxes income from investment at the same rate as income from working for a living. The CPC budget ends corporate tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas. It adds a financial speculation tax on Wall Street. Voters and polls choose these.

The Ryan/GOP budget dramatically cuts taxes for the wealthiest and giant corporations. Voters and polls choose the opposite of this.

Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare

The CPC budget does not cut Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security. It reduces health care costs by adopting a public option, negotiating drug prices, and reducing fraud. Voters and polls show this is what people want (and need).

The GOP/Ryan budget cuts Medicaid dramatically, privatizes Medicare and repeals “Obamacare” health care reform entirely, leaving people back on their own against the giant insurance companies, and millions upon millions with no health care at all. Voters and polls show this is not what people want.

Energy And Climate

The CPC budget fights global warming. It prices carbon pollution – with a rebate to low-income households. It eliminates corporate tax subsidies for oil, gas, and coal companies. Polls show this is what people want.

The GOP/Ryan budget encourages global warming, continuing subsidies to big oil and coal companies and killing investment in alternative energy. Polls show this is not what people want.

What American Majority Wants: Election Results

So how do these contrasting budget proposals stack up against the election results and public opinion?

(Hint: Obama won. Democrats won.)

Electoral College: Barack Obama 336, Mitt Romney 206

Popular vote: Barack Obama 65,907,213, Mitt Romney 60,931,767

Percentage: Barack Obama 51.1%, Mitt Romney 47.2%

House of Representatives: Democrats received 1,362,351 more votes. (Republicans held the House through gerrymandering of districts.)

Senate: Democrats gained 2 seats.

What American Majority Wants: Polls

Along with the polling data on the The American Majority Project’s polling page, here is some info from recent polls:

Infrastructure investment:

Democracy Corps, November 2012:

  • 52 percent agree that “we should invest now in infrastructure, education and technology, and re-hiring teachers and firefighters to get people back to work to make our country stronger in the long-term.”

Washington Post/ABC News, September 2012:

  • 52 percent agreed that “spending money on projects like roads, bridges and technology development” was a better way for the government to create jobs than tax cuts.

YouGov, Dec 2012:

  • 43 percent said President Obama’s plan for $50 billion in immediate new infrastructure spending was a “good idea;A only 28 percent said it was a bad idea.

NBC, Feb 2011:

  • 71% percent of all respondents support Obama’s plan to spend $53 billion on high-speed rail and $30 billion on a national infrastructure bank.

Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation, August 2012:

  • 63 percent believe that “additional spending on roads, bridges, and other public works projects” would help, not hurt, the economy.

Clarus Research Group, conducted for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, December 2012:

  • 77% percent believe the infrastructure in their state and throughout America “is in serious need of rebuilding and modernizing,” and 68% percent agree we need to make investments to build up our infrastructure to compete with foreign countries that are doing so.
  • Modernizing infrastructure is seen as “both a safety and economic issue” by 90% of voters nationwide.
  • A solid majority (61%) say the best way to pay for infrastructure improvements is to “use a combination of
    funding sources such as some additional tax revenues, user fees and private investment.
  • 84% of voters believe that “If the United States can afford to spend billions of dollars rebuilding the
    infrastructure in foreign countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, we can afford to do the same here at home.”
  • 68% of voters nationwide say that the United States needs to make investments to build up our infrastructure
    to compete with foreign countries that are doing so.

Carbon tax, oil companies, alternatives:

Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, November, 2011:

  • 90 percent of Americans say developing sources of clean energy should be a very high (30%), high (35%), or medium (25%) priority for the president and Congress, including 82 percent of registered Republicans, 91 percent of Independents, and 97 percent of Democrats.
  • 65 percent of Americans support a revenue neutral carbon tax that would “help create jobs and decrease pollution,” including majorities of registered Republicans (51%), Independents (69%), and Democrats (77%).
  • Likewise, 60 percent of Americans support a $10 per ton carbon tax if the revenue were used to reduce federal income taxes, even when told this would “slightly increase the cost of many things you buy, including food, clothing, and electricity.” This policy is supported by 48 percent of registered Republicans, 50 percent of Independents, and 74 percent of Democrats.
  • 49 percent of Americans support a revenue neutral carbon tax if the revenue was instead returned to each American family equally as an annual check. Only 44 percent support this policy if the revenues were instead used to pay down the national debt.
  • 69 percent of Americans oppose federal subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, including 67 percent of registered Republicans, 80 percent of Independents, and 68 percent of Democrats.
  • 54 percent of Americans oppose subsidies to the ethanol industry to make fuel from corn, including 56 percent of registered Republicans, 65 percent of Independents, and 49 percent of Democrats.
  • 85 percent of Americans (including 76% of registered Republicans, 83% of Independents, and 90% of Democrats) say that protecting the environment either improves economic growth and provides new jobs (54%), or has no effect (31%). Only 15 percent say environmental protection reduces economic growth and costs jobs.

Taxes:

Hart Research, February 2013:

  • 66% say that the richest 2% should pay more in taxes. 64% say large corporations should pay more in taxes.
  • Only 28% of voters believe that the fiscal cliff bill passed on New Year’s Day raised taxes on the rich enough, while more than twice as many (59%) say that we still need to do more.
  • 66% say close loopholes and limit deductions for wealthy individuals to reduce the budget deficit and make public investments. 23% want to reduce tax rates.

TIPP/Investor’s Business Daily Poll, April, 2012:

  • 51% say tax capital gains same rate as income vs 35% say keep current low rate.

Rasmussen (!), November 2012:

  • 57 % of voters say they agree with the president’s proposal to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000 per year. 35% oppose that move.

Quinnipiac University, December 2012:

  • 65% of voters back increased taxes for Americans making more than $250,000 a year, 31 percent oppose.
  • Voters said a “no-taxes” pledge isn’t a good idea, 85-10 percent.

Also

  • Voters overwhelmingly oppose cutting Medicaid spending, 70-25 percent.
  • Voters oppose gradually raising the Medicare eligibility age, 51-44 percent.

Jobs:

Gallup, November 2012:

  • 95% say restoring the job market is a top priority.

Public Policy Polling, November 2012:

  • 49 % say President Obama’s mandate following his reelection is to focus on jobs. 22% say the president’s mandate involved reducing the debt.
  • 36% said that the president was tasked with striking a compromise with congressional Republicans.

Assist those in need:

Food Action and Research Center, various polls:

  • “The opposition to cutting food stamps crossed party lines: 92 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of Independents, and 63 percent of Republicans say this is the wrong way to reduce spending.” this amounts to 72% of all voters who think food stamps are a positive thing for the country
  • “Only nine percent of those polled said they would be more likely to support a candidate who favors cutting funds for the food stamp program; half said they would be less likely.”
  • “Opposition to food stamp cuts is even more overwhelming than in polling data FRAC released in November 2010, when 71 percent said it was the wrong way to cut spending.”
  • “Voters are broadly concerned about the nation’s hunger problem: 81 percent say that low-income families and children not being able to afford enough food to eat is a serious problem.”

Hart Research for AFL-CIO. November 7, 2012.

  • 88% of respondents favor allowing Medicare to negotiate drug policies.

Other:

Kaiser Family Foundation, January 2013:

  • 61% of Americans are not willing to see any cuts to public education.
  • Only 21% of Americans favor major reductions in Unemployment insurance

Gallup, December 2010:

  • 66% of Americans supported the extension of unemployment insurance in 2010

What This Means

These polls (and so many others not listed here) are simply overwhelming.

In other words, the CPC “Back To Work Budget” reflects what voters voted for and what polls show people want. And, much more importantly, the CPC “Back To Work Budget” reflects what history and economists tell us will fix the economy and boost the standard of living for regular Americans!

The GOP/Ryan budget reflects what people voted against and polls show people really, really, really do not want. And, it is just more of the austerities policies that have not worked here and have just devastated Europe.

In the midst of a Washington frenzy over budgets and deficits and crises the CPC announced a budget that hires millions, reduces deficit and lines up with the recent election results and every poll, and the inside-the-Beltway crowd ignores it. No “mainstream” media outlets have even reported that this budget exists. Every mainstream media outlet has reported extensively on the Ryan/GOP budget.

On the other side we have people with billions of dollars. As is always the question now, which will prevail?

More

For more see “Competing Visions: Rep. Paul Ryan, Sen. Patty Murray, And House Progressives Release Budget Proposals For 2014″ from the National Priorities Project. “National Priorities Project examines how new budget proposals stack up against what Americans want.”

PS

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post explains the other problem with the Republican/Ryan budget, in Paul Ryan’s magical budget,

“Now, how do we do this?” Ryan (R-Wis.), the House Budget Committee chairman, asked with a magician’s flourish as he unveiled his budget Tuesday morning.

Here’s how: The former Republican vice presidential candidate’s budget eliminates ___ loopholes in the tax code, cutting the ___ and the ____ deductions. It reduces spending on the ____ program by _____ and the _____ program by _____. Retirees would see ____, students would experience ____ and the poor would be _____.

Note this post was assisted by the great research work of Ben Johnson.

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