The Congressional Progressive Caucus — chaired by Reps. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) — yesterday released the Restore the American Dream for the 99% Act, a plan meant to boost job creation with the economy still struggling. The bill is a package of public works projects, increased infrastructure spending, a reinstatement of the Making Work Pay tax credit, and an extension of unemployment benefits. The bill would also undo the automatic budget cuts scheduled to take place due to the failure of congress’ fiscal supercommittee to craft a deficit reduction deal.
According to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, the measures in the bill would create millions of jobs over the next two years:
Cumulatively, the five major job-creation initiatives discussed in this analysis would boost employment by almost 2.3 million jobs in 2012 and almost 3.1 million jobs in 2013. These job-creation measures would accelerate employment gains noticeably in the next two years….The Act for the 99% is clearly focused on the aggregate demand slump at hand and would produce measurable declines in joblessness.
The revenue measures in the bill — including new income tax brackets for millionaires, cutting oil subsidies for oil companies, and instituting a financial transactions tax — would not only pay for the job creation measures but would actually reduce the deficit over ten years. As EPI put it, “the Act for the 99% would invest in job-creating policies in the near term while spreading deficit reduction across 10 years. This is the most constructive way for Congress to approach deficit reduction: Create more taxpayers and generate a self-sustaining recovery before pivoting to net fiscal consolidation.”
This bill, which likely won’t receive a moment of consideration on the House floor, would do far more for job creation than any measure since the 2009 Recovery Act, and would do so in a fiscally responsible way. But Republicans won’t even place a tiny surtax on the wealthiest Americans in order to prevent a $1,000 tax hike on the average middle-class family next year, never mind allowing consideration of the Progressive Caucus’ jobs effort.