The People's Budget

Last month I spoke at a candidate forum at the Central Family Life Center, a great community organization here in Staten Island.

Speaking at the Central Family Life Center

After each candidate's intro, there was a lively Q&A with the audience, during which we were all asked if we agreed with the Congressional Progressive Caucus's The People's Budget (direct link here).  The answer from all five of [us Democratic candidates], myself included, was more or less along the lines of, "This is the first I've heard of it, I'll get back to you on that after I've read it."

Well, I'm a man of my word, so here are my thoughts and comments on this very interesting 41 page platform:

Big Picture Summary

  1. First, I highly commend the Congressional Progressive Caucus for producing a detailed, coherent, well-reasoned policy platform.  Compared to most Republican "plans", which consist of four paragraphs of double-spaced vagueness, this is a professional plan, and above all else it reflects that Democrats are the only party that respects America enough to approach governing seriously.
  2. There's a lot in here, but I would say that I agree with 70-80% of The People's Budget's policy prescriptions.  More specifically, I would describe my views in perfect alignment with 60%-70% of what they propose, my plans as being more progressive than about 10% of what they propose, and the inverse being true for the remaining 20%+/-.
  3. It's hard to paint detailed political philosophies in broad brush, but if I had to, I would say that my agenda puts more emphasis on the power of taxation and regulation, whereas The People's Budget puts more emphasis on Federal spending and planning.

Detailed Thoughts

By the way, I scanned in a marked-up copy of The People's Budget (ie with all my handwritten comments on it) here, so if you want to read my in-the-moment thoughts, click on this link (PDF).  Here's some of the bigger takeaways:

  1. My income tax plan (in The Narrows Agenda) is more progressive than theirs--I go straight to the "Reagan Rate" of 49% on income over a million dollars.
  2. Similarly, I think my proposals on campaign finance reform are both more aggressive and more implementable.
  3. I was disappointed that the issue of gun violence was relegated to a single paragraph.  I have more detailed proposals on lowering gang gun crime and enforcing responsible gun ownership than them.
  4. Both of our agendas include many of the same workplace and labor laws--I saw the WAGE Act and Sen. Sherrod Brown's pioneering work referenced there.
  5. They cover a lot of ground in terms of college financing.  To me, the bigger problem in American education is that so many children are graduating from High School ill equipped for the modern world that college becomes a necessity.  Solve the former problem, and the high cost of college goes away.

I could go on and on discussing this very interesting document, but again, if your interested, see my marked up copy here (PDF). Like my Narrows Agenda, The People's Budget refers to dozens of existing progressive bills that address many of America's current problems--I listed a bunch of them as "Follow Up Reading" on the first page of my markup.  As I mention every time that I speak, the solutions to our most pressing issues aren't magic, it's not "fighting", it's passing smart laws--and we, the Democratic Party, have dozens of such laws, ready to pass just as soon as we retake the House.

Thank you to Sally for bringing this to my attention!