By Collin Roth
In April of 2011, Rep. Tammy Baldwin was one of 77 members of the House of Representatives to endorse a radical proposal from the Congressional Progressive Caucus called “The People’s Budget.” Added as an amendment to the Ryan budget, the “People’s Budget” failed 347-77 according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. A Vice-Chair for the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Baldwin supported the amendment that included raising taxes $3.9 trillion, gutting defense by $1.8 trillion, and investing $1.45 trillion into “job creation, education, clean energy, and broadband infrastructure, housing and R&D.” This “investment” sounds very much like a second, larger stimulus package.
According to Ezra Klein of the Washington Post:
The legislation would let most of the Bush tax cuts expire a major difference from Obamas budget, which would extend most of the Bush tax cuts and add a few new brackets for millionaires and multimillionaires, not to mention a stronger and more progressive estate tax. Capital gains and dividend income would be taxed as normal income, corporate taxes would be raised, and a financial transaction tax would be passed. The payroll cap would be raised on the employee side and abolished on the employer side, taking care of most of Social Securitys shortfall, and the Defense Department would see $1.8 trillion in cuts over 10 years. Thered be a public option added to the health-care system and Medicare would get more power to negotiate drug prices.
More specifically, “The People’s Budget” would let all of the Bush tax rates expire in 2012, a position that not even President Obama or most Democrats endorsed. It would have added new tax brackets for high income individuals and couples from the current top rate of 35% to a whopping 45-49%. In addition to other tax increases, “The People’s Budget” claimed it would collect $42 trillion in taxes over the next decade, a full $5 trillion more than President Obama’s proposal.
To find savings, “The People’s Budget” turns to defense for savings. In addition to claiming savings from ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Baldwin-endorsed budget guts the military to the tune of $1.8 trillion over the next decade. The type of defense cuts are detailed in an executive summary:
Savings would accrue from decreasing routine deployments of U.S. troops overseas ( ignoring overseas contingency operations), reducing the size of the Army and Marine Corps as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, reducing the fleet size of the U.S. Navy, reducing the number of Air Force squadrons, and canceling outdated cold-war weapons systems (including variations of the F-35, MV-22 Osprey, and Expeditionary Fighting vehicle ) among other savings.
Finally, the Tammy Baldwin-endorsed “People’s Budget” seeks to “invest” $1.45 trillion into green energy projects like Solyndra, the creation of outdated New Deal programs like a Civilian Conservation Corps, and bolstering welfare programs like food stamps and public housing. And of course, “The People’s Budget” allows for the creation of a government-run single-payer healthcare system, a proposal that Rep. Baldwin has sponsored on her own numerous times.
Dana Milbank of the Washington Post succinctly describes “the People’s Budget” this way:
Still, [the People’s Budget] gives a sense of how things would be if liberals ran the world: no cuts in Social Security benefits, government-negotiated Medicare drug prices, and increased income and Social Security taxes for the wealthy. Corporations and investors would be hit with a variety of new fees and taxes. And the military would face a shock-and-awe accounting: a 22 percent cut in Army soldiers, 30 percent for the Marines, 20 percent for the Navy and 15 percent for the Air Force. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would end, and weapons programs would go begging.
Many like to say you can judge a person’s priorities by their budget. “The People’s Budget” is so far to the left that even the fiscally challenged Obama Administration rejected it.