Saturday, April 11, 2015

199.5 - Outrage of the Week: media blackout on CPC budget plan

Outrage of the Week: media blackout on CPC budget plan

Now for our other regular feature, the Outrage of the Week.

On March 25, the US House held a series of votes on various budget plans under an unusual arrangement where the budget that got the most votes would be the "official" house version.

At the end of the day, surprise, surprise, the official GOP plan got the most votes.

I want to mention one of losers. Specifically, the Peoples Budget, prepared by the Congressional Progressive Caucus. This is the 5th year the CPC has done its own budget proposal, with this year's being called A Raise for America.

It's important for you to realize something right at the top: This is a real budget, which has been subjected to independent analysis. It is not just a summary of principles or a bunch of bullet points or a list of headings or a concoction of fudged numbers with what Paul Krugman accurately called trillion doll asterisks.
This budget proposes a multi-trillion dollar public investment in areas such as the desperate need for infrastructure repair and improvement, upgrading our energy systems, and addressing climate change, the sorts of investment that not only create millions of new jobs but improve the quality of life for the nation as a whole.

It reduces income inequality by raising taxes on the rich and closing corporate loopholes while cutting taxes on low- and middle-income folks. It improves the lives of the poor with expanded social supports. It invests in education and provides debt-free college. It improves on Obamacare by creating a public option (if you can remember what that is). It invests in renewable energy technologies.

And it does all this and much more while reducing the annual deficit not only by raising taxes on the rich and corporations but by cutting military spending and ending pointless war spending and pointless wars.

And in fact, many of its proposals are popular with the public. For a few examples, 80% of Americans support raising the minimum wage, which this budget does. Two-thirds think the rich pay too little in taxes, 70% oppose the cuts to Food Stamps, and large majorities favor paid leave, equal pay, and affordable child care, all of which this budget supports, and say the government has a responsibility to ensure employers treat employees fairly by enforcing such policies.

As the budget describes itself,
A fair wage is more than the size of a paycheck. It’s having enough hours, paid overtime, sick and parental leave, and affordable health and childcare. It’s being able to afford a good education for your kids and never living in fear that your job will be sent overseas. It’s knowing you can make ends meet at the end of the month. The People’s Budget helps achieve that.
And does it in a way that is fiscally sound with a budget that stands up to analysis.

So of course it only got 96 votes in the House.

But that's not the real outrage here.

The outrage is that until this moment, most of you had never heard of that budget. Most of you, unless you haunt lefty news sites or are a real political wonk who reads or, you have never heard of this budget. The budget most in line with what Americans want, the one that does the most for the many instead of the few at the top, the one that does the most to advance economic and social justice, and the one that showed you can do all that while being more fiscally responsible than either of the major parties' alternatives, was subjected to an all but total media blackout.

I searched on Yahoo! News for major media coverage of this budget. I got nothing. I searched on Google News, got nothing. A search at the New York Times site produced zero hits. A search at the Washington Post site got exactly one hit.

I have said it many, many times before: We are by our national mainstream media uninformed, misinformed, and malinformed. And no matter how many times I say it, it is still an outrage.

Sources cited in links:

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