Our Statement of Principles
The debates about the federal budget are about more than deficits and debt–they are about the future of our country and the opportunities we create for all Americans. Today, while Americans are struggling to find good jobs and keep their homes, there is unequivocally more that our government can do to strengthen the economy and make families more financially secure. Despite the rhetoric, virtually all economists–conservative and progressive–agree: additional action is needed to generate a robust recovery, even if those steps will increase short-term deficits. Our leaders should not continue to allow deficit fears to imperil our economic recovery.
In the long term, however, we can and should put our nation on a sustainable fiscal path.
We believe that this path must begin with rebuilding the middle class:
JOBS FIRST. With nearly 15 million people unemployed, our nation’s first priority must be generating jobs so that we can rebuild the middle class and protect the well-being of families across the country.
INVEST IN AMERICA. American prosperity in the 20th century was possible because national investments paved the way for America’s people and enterprises to more productively thrive. But as the start of the 21st century has shown, that prosperity cannot simply re-create itself automatically. We must commit to updating our nation’s infrastructure—our physical infrastructure and our human infrastructure–to build the schools, roads, and electrical systems worthy of our nation.
PROTECT SOCIAL SECURITY. With funds to pay full benefits through 2037, Social Security remains our nation’s key source of retirement income for most Americans and must be protected from misguided cuts that would reduce benefits for future generations. We can increase or eliminate the payroll cap to finance adequate benefit levels for future generations.
FIX THE REAL PROBLEM: HEALTH CARE COSTS. With significant increases in our long-term national debt due to rising health care costs, we must build on the health reform law’s cost-saving measures to ensure that America gets the health outcomes it pays for.
NO MORE TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHIEST. A significant portion of the national deficit can be attributed to irresponsible tax cuts benefiting the rich. We must not continue the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
REWARD WORK, NOT JUST WEALTH. Our nation is now taxing wealth less than work: many middle-class Americans pay a higher tax rate on their paychecks than the richest Americans pay on profits from stocks, bonds or corporate dividends. To reward work, we must fix this inequity by boosting revenue from unearned income.
HOLD WALL STREET ACCOUNTABLE. With the gambling of Wall Street continuing despite its role in causing the Great Recession, we must implement policy to raise revenue from the finance industry while dampening reckless trading.