PPI Proposes ‘Galvanic’ Change in Federal Expenditures and Taxes

July 26, 2019 by Dan McCue
Ben Ritz, Director of the Center for Funding America's Future, PPI; Marc Goldwein, Senior Vice President, CRFB; Emily Holubowich, Executive Director, Coalition for Health Funding and Co-Founder of NDD United, with forum moderator Will Marshall, President, PPI.

WASHINGTON – If anyone doubted there’s serious interest in getting a handle on the nation’s debt and the federal budget, the standing room-only crowd that jammed a hearing room in the Longworth House Office Building Thursday afternoon would have quickly persuaded them otherwise.

The event was the lunchtime “Forum of Building a Better Budget,” and its hosts were the Blue Dog Coalition of moderate, fiscally-responsible Democrats, and the Progressive Policy Institute, a think tank dedicated to fiscal pragmatism and breaking partisan deadlock.

The second hour of the forum would feature a frank discussion of this week’s agreement to lift the nation’s debt ceiling and raise caps set on federal spending with Representatives Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Ben McAdams, D-Utah, and Ed Case, D-Hawaii, all of the Blue Dog Coalition.

Preceding them was a panel discussion moderated by Will Marshall, president of the Progressive Policy Institute.

It featured Ben Ritz, director of the Center for Funding America’s Future at PPI; Marc Goldwein, senior vice president of the Committee for a Responsible Budget; and Emily Holubowich, executive director of the Coalition for Health Funding and co-Founder of NDD United, an alliance working to protect investments in core government function.

If there was a foreboding consensus, it was summed up early by Holubowich, who spoke of how unfortunate it was that debt “has become a political tool” and of how deficit reduction should be a prime concern of everyone who works on Capitol Hill.

“You can’t just continue to spend and spend,” she said.

But all conceded breaking the cycle of spending in Washington won’t be easy.

“The reality is the American public doesn’t understand its culpability in this situation,” Goldwein said. “You cannot as a citizen expect to get everything you want and not pay for it.”

“The reality is the American public doesn’t understand its culpability in this situation,” Goldwein said. “You cannot as a citizen expect to get everything you want and not pay for it.”

Central to the discussion was a budget plan Ritz has written with Brendan McDermott, a fiscal policy analyst at the Progressive Policy Institute.

The premise of the so-called “Budget for Equitable Growth” is that in recent years lawmakers have been borrowing far too heavily to finance present consumption and neglecting to make “robust” public investments in scientific research, infrastructure and education, which Ritz and McDermott call “the foundation of American progress.”

Along with this, the duo also propose making adjustments to federal health and retirement programs to reflect the nation’s aging society,  and revamping the tax code so that it actually pays the nation’s bills.

“If enacted in their entirety, these proposals would increase federal public investment spending by more than 70 percent over current projections while simultaneously putting the federal budget on a path toward balance,” Ritz said.

He emphasized, however, that a balanced budget isn’t a core objective of his and McDermott’s proposal. Rather, he said, “we seek to break the fiscal impasse in Washington that starves public investment, handcuffs future policymakers, and fuels unsustainable public debt.”

Moderator Marshall said the plan in its entirety — filling some 96 pages — represents a “galvanic” change in thinking of the federal budget.

Goldwein said selling such a plan would entail “connecting the dots’ for the American public.

“People are more open to paying more in taxes if they understand what those taxes are doing for them,” he said.

The bottom line, said Ritz, “is that if we keep doing two-year budget deals in the name of fleeting victories, it’s just going to make it harder to pay for what we need long term.”

Federal Budget

Blue Dogs Call on Congress to Put Forward a Budget Congress
Blue Dogs Call on Congress to Put Forward a Budget
January 14, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The co-chairs of a Blue Dog Coalition panel on fiscal responsibility and government reform blasted an assertion by a powerful committee chairman Monday that the House might just want to skip passing a divisive budget resolution this year. "Failure to pass an annual budget... Read More

Voters Remain Deeply Concerned about Fiscal Irresponsibility in Washington Federal Budget
Voters Remain Deeply Concerned about Fiscal Irresponsibility in Washington
January 7, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Voters remain deeply concerned about Washington's wanton ways when it comes to spending and want leaders to take corrective action, a new survey by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation finds. The survey was conducted in December, just as Congress and the White House were... Read More

Senate Clears Final Spending Package, Wraps for the Year Federal Budget
Senate Clears Final Spending Package, Wraps for the Year

WASHINGTON — The Senate cleared two spending packages totaling $1.4 trillion Thursday, sending the measures to President Donald Trump ahead of a Friday deadline. Debate over the massive packages was tucked in between floor speeches about the House’s Wednesday vote to impeach Trump — making for... Read More

House Approves $1.4 Trillion Spending Plan Political News
House Approves $1.4 Trillion Spending Plan
December 17, 2019
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The House voted Tuesday to pass a $1.4 trillion government-wide spending package, despite a disagreement over $1.4 billion for President Donald Trump's wall along the U.S. Mexico border. The two-bill package ballooned to some 2,371 pages after several tax provisions were added into the... Read More

Gun Violence Research Could Be Funded by Congress for First Time in Two Decades Guns
Gun Violence Research Could Be Funded by Congress for First Time in Two Decades

WASHINGTON — Congressional negotiators agreed to spend $25 million to study gun violence in America next year, the first time in more than two decades that federal funds will be dedicated to researching the contentious issue. The National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease... Read More

Appropriators Reach Spending Agreement, Fend Off Possible Government Shutdown Federal Budget
Appropriators Reach Spending Agreement, Fend Off Possible Government Shutdown

WASHINGTON — Republicans and Democrats reached agreement “in principle” Thursday on $1.37 trillion in government funding, staving off the possibility of another shutdown just a week before spending is set to run out, according to Appropriations Committee leaders. The deal — reached just hours after a... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top