Why Aren’t We Paying More Attention to the People’s Budget?

Observers say a plan crafted by the Congressional People's Caucus offers a good alternative to those offered by Obama and the GOP.

By Shani O. Hilton May 05, 2011

Although the upcoming battle around the 2012 budget is being painted as one between President Obama and the GOP, other budget options continue to crop up. First there was the Congressional Black Caucus budget.

Then, there was The People’s Budget, an alternative presented by the Congressional People’s Caucus, a group of lawmakers chaired by Minnesota and Arizona Democrats Keith Ellison and Raúl M. Grijalva. The People’s Budget preserves spending and reduces tax cuts, as opposed to the GOP budget.

Ezra Klein took a look at the budget and found it to be reasonable, even if it’s heavy on taxation:

"In the same way that Ryan’s plan is useful for showing how you could do this/what one would have to do on if you do it all on the spending side," says William Gale, co-director of the Tax Policy Center, "the House Progressive Budget shows how one might do this/what one would have to do to do almost all of it on the tax side of the ledger." Gale thought their proposal probably went a bit far in new upper-income taxes, and treating capital gains as normal income might erect a barrier to investment. It would have been wiser, he thought, to be even a bit bolder in terms of new taxes and propose either an energy tax or a value-added tax. "Still," he said, "I think it would be interesting to get this plan out in front of the American people and see how they react to it versus Ryan."

Similarly, Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman says it’s worth considering, asking, "So why does this plan get no attention, while the cruel fantasies of the right get headlines?"

Good question.