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The Evident Superiority of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget


As Yglesias says, Brooks ends up making the case about as well as anyone actually trying to make it could.  The former’s summary is useful:

Long story short, I would say the CPC budget has the following main advantages over the Ryan budget:

  • More food and medical care for poor children.
  • Less air pollution and a meaningful chance to avert the worst consequences of climate change.
  • Lower taxes on middle-class and working-poor families.
  • Medicare reform focused on reducing the unit price of health care services rather than increasing it.
  • More funding for transportation infrastructure and basic research.

Brooks says the Ryan budget has the following main advantages over the CPC budget:

  • High-income individuals will be less inclined to take vacations or retire and more inclined to work long hours.

This is…not a difficult choice.

On a related note, Republican congressman Paul Broun argues that the Ryan budget isn’t quite horrible enough. Here’s a representative paragraph of this all-too-familiar marriage of Gilded Age economics and vacuous states’ rights buzzwords:

I recently co-sponsored legislation that would convert Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program into state-managed programs through a single federal block grant. This would save approximately $2 trillion over 10 years by capping federal funding at 2012 levels for the next 10 years and giving states an incentive to seek out and eliminate waste, fraud and abuse. The government agency closest to the consumer can most efficiently manage taxpayer dollars.

I especially treasure the use of that old classic “waste, fraud and abuse” to handwave the fact that the “incentive” being given to the states by capping no-strings-attached federal Medicaid spending is to “deny health care to poor people.” And it’s not as if this is a secret agenda; the Supreme Court’s regrettable spending power holding in Sebelius has made clear that many Republican state officials do not want to provide health care for the poor even if the federal government is picking up most of the tab. And, of course, far from eliminating “waste, fraud and abuse” the point of making Medicaid a block grant and destroying Medicare and replacing it with a system of increasingly worthless vouchers is to devote less of a shrinking pool of money to the provision of health care and more to various rentiers.

But, of course, I’m sure House Republicans will endorse sensible, middle-of-the-road budget policies if only the President would show the courage to lead, with leadership.

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