This week, the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) introduced a great piece of legislation that's been months in the making—the Restore the American Dream for the 99% Act.
Back in April 2011, the CPC, with the support of UFE and other allies, fought to counter the onslaught of attacks by deficit hawks on both sides of the political aisle. The CPC's People's Budget became progressives' answer to Rep. Paul Ryan's "path to prosperity," which was actually just a path to more disparity.
While the People's Budget didn't pass, it helped to stave off Ryan's destructive plan. Members of the CPC decided to hit the road to have conversations with real people—not just the wealthy or corporations masquerading as people—in order to develop a legislative plan that would respond to their most pressing concerns.
As these progressive legislators moved from town-to-town, the Occupy Movement emerged, grew and the country erupted with social and economic justice activism. At the same time, the Rebuild the Dream project, a collaboration of over 80 organizations and hundreds of thousands of individuals, created the "Contract for the American Dream," a point-by-point plan to repair the economy. UFE wrote the tax fact sheet for the Contract.
More people than ever are becoming aware of how devastatingly unequal the U.S. economy has become and are taking action to restore fairness to it. A chart demonstrating income inequality became a popular protest sign! A protest sign! (It still surprises us.) Clearly, the CPC couldn't have picked a better time to be with the people.
The result of the tour — the Restore the American Dream for the 99% Act— is the best piece of legislation we've seen in a long time.
The comprehensive bill simultaneously addresses the jobs crisis, the budget deficit, never-ending wars and wasteful military spending, all while protecting and strengthening Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. And, much of the plan is paid for through higher taxes on millionaires, Wall Street banks and other large, tax-dodging corporations. Every single one of us should take every opportunity to promote this bill within our communities and demand support from our elected officials.
This plan isn't just for the 99 percent; it's for all 100 percent of us, because we're all in this together. Learn more with this bill summary:
The Act for the 99% creates over 5 million jobs over the next two years and reduces the budget deficit by over $2 trillion over the next ten years while protecting the programs Americans rely on.
KEY JOBS CREATION PROVISIONS
- Emergency jobs to put America to Work: creates 2.2 million jobs through on-the-job training and direct hire programs for cops, teachers, firefighters, construction and maintenance workers for schools, parks and public land workers, work study jobs for students, health providers including nurses and assistants and a new Community Corp to take care of our neighborhoods.
- Buy America: requires materials for government contracts are manufactured in the U.S.
- Infrastructure bank: establishes an infrastructure bank that will allow private sector partnering with regions, states and localities to create infrastructure projects
- Protection of our wounded veterans – ensures that our veterans are not discriminated against in the workplace for time spent receiving treatment for injuries
- Investment in infrastructure and transportation – provides $50 billion to fix our crumbling roads, bridges, rail lines, sewer systems and to upgrade power lines and mass transit systems
REVENUE INCREASES AND SAVINGS
- Fairness in taxation – requires people who make over $1 million a year to pay their fair share, raising $800 billion
- Defense spending - A rare consensus has emerged among a wide range of policymakers that any deficit reduction plan must tackle defense spending; ending unnecessary programs saves $280 billion
- Unchecked war spending - restricting spending in Afghanistan to planning and executing a responsible troop withdrawal saves ≈ $1.2 trillion
- Oil and gas industry and polluter taxes – the oil and gas corporations are among the most profitable on Earth; ending tax giveaways and requiring polluters to clean up their mess will raise over $60 billion
- Wall Street and speculators tax - The financial sector shattered the global economy – this 0.03 percent tax disincentivizes dangerous speculation by slightly raising the cost to trade, which raises $350 billion
- Making Work Pay Tax Credit – this progressive tax refund puts money into the pockets of those who need it most to boost the economy; it would be extended for 2 years
PROTECTING MEDICARE, MEDICAID AND SOCIAL SECURITY
- Public option – allows a public option to operate with private insurance companies in the health care exchanges; saves $88 billion
- Negotiate drug prices – allows Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies saves $156 billion
- Enhancing Medicaid rates – the fastest way to support state governments is to restore the increased federal Medicaid matching rates
- Scrapping Social Security cap - Social Security by law cannot contribute to the deficit; however people making over $106,800 do not pay taxes on the additional income. To ensure long-term solvency, this requires anyone making over $250,000 to pay the normal social security tax on their upper income