A Platform for People and the Planet, and a Budget That Makes It Real

Isaiah J. Poole

A new progressive platform for “Building a Movement for People and the Planet” was published this week by the Campaign for America’s Future and National People’s Action. That platform lays out 12 key planks of a progressive agenda that the two organizations expect to become the foundation of independent progressive political organizing over the next two years.

This platform is the backbone of the “Populism 2015” conference in Washington April 18-20 that CAF is co-sponsoring with National People’s Action, USAction and Alliance for a Just Society. (Go to Populism2015.org to see the complete platform, learn more about the conference and register.)

The release of the platform coincides with this week’s release of the Congressional Progressive Caucus “People’s Budget” and a drive to sign up tens of thousands of citizen co-sponsors in advance of a budget vote expected between Tuesday and Thursday. (Read our analyses and sign the co-sponsor petition on our People’s Budget page. For a comparison of the People’s Budget to alternatives from House and Senate Republicans and the Obama administration, see this chart by the National Priorities Project.)

A comparison of the planks in the Populism 2015 platform with the proposals in the Progressive Caucus budget reveals strong parallels that allow both to be used synergistically in the upcoming political debate over America’s economic and political direction. The Populism 2015 platform is a set of principles; the Progressive Caucus budget shows how those principles can be translated into government policy.

The 12 planks in the “Building a Movement for People and the Planet” platform are:

1. Rebuild America for the 21st Century and Create Jobs for All.
2. Raise Wages, Empower Workers and Reverse Inequality.
3. Invest in a Green Economy.
4. Eliminate Institutionalized Racism to Open Opportunity to All.
5. Guarantee Women’s Economic Equality.
6. Provide a High-Quality Education to Every Child
7. Expand Shared Security for the 21st Century.
8. Enforce Fair Taxes on Corporations and the Wealthy.
9. Forge a Global Strategy that Works for Working People.
10. Make Wall Street Serve the Real Economy.
11. Change Priorities to Address Real Security Needs.
12. Fight for Democracy and Curb the Power of Big Money.

The Progressive Caucus People’s Budget would address those principles by:

● Creating a total of 8.4 million jobs over the next three years through investments in infrastructure, schools, social services and direct job creation in high-unemployment areas.

● Mandating an increase in the minimum wage and enacting policies that will make it easier for workers to organize in their workplaces and collectively bargain.

● Imposing an initial $25-per-ton price on carbon dioxide emissions by polluters, eliminating tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry, and directing federal research and development toward renewable alternatives.

● Expanding programs that help close the wealth gap experienced by women and communities of color, including Head Start; the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; and the Child Care and Development Block Grant.

● Providing funding for universal preschool, programs to bolster public school quality in low-income communities and for people with disabilities, and a debt-free college education.

● Repairs the weakening of our network of shared security programs – nutrition assistance, health care and unemployment compensation – done by austerity-driven budget cuts, and endorses the principle of expanding Social Security benefits rather than cutting them.

● Requiring millionaires and billionaires to pay modestly higher taxes under a more progressive tax system, taxing capital gains income at the same rate as wages, ending the ability of corporations to use overseas subsidiaries to evade taxes, and imposing a financial transactions tax.

● Ending funding for the war in Afghanistan, reducing overall Pentagon spending and increasing spending instead on diplomacy and international development to address the roots of unrest and instability.

● Providing for the public financing of federal campaigns to give “a voice to small donors [who] have been drowned out by dark money” in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

Rep. Keith Ellison, co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is one of the national leaders scheduled to appear at the Populism 2015 conference. The conference will feature workshops on many of the platform planks. The final day of the conference will include a rally on Capitol Hill and legislative visits.

“This will be more than just another conference,” Robert Borosage wrote this week in an email to CAF followers. “It’s the next step in the populist people’s movement that is working to raise the minimum wage, break up the big banks, stop bad trade deals, stand up to racism, expand – not cut – Social Security, stop global warming, and counter the corruption of our politics.”

A 20 percent discount on registration for the Populism 2015 conference is available for OurFuture.org readers before March 23. Click here to take advantage of the discount.)

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