The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Tim Rusch,, (212) 389-1407

A Report Card Comparing Federal Budget Proposals

Demos Releases Side-by-Side Budget Plan Analysis As Bi-Partisan Talks Heat Up In Washington


Only two of five current budget proposals put our nation on a sustainable path with public investments needed to accelerate the economic recovery and rebuild a strong middle class, according to a new report card published by the policy center Demos.

This unique report card, which grades the five leading federal budget proposals across eight major categories, provides a side-by-side comparison as bi-partisan budget talks heat up in Washington. Upcoming bi-partisan proposals are expected to reflect the current political brinksmanship in Washington rather than the urgent need to invest in America's future, modernize our revenue base and rebuild the middle class.
"Budgeting for America's Middle Class: A Report Card Comparing Federal Budget Proposals" analyzes each plan on how it prioritizes the financial success and security of working families. The eight budget categories examined are: jobs and public investment; health care; Social Security and retirement income; education; defense policy; fair and adequate revenues; and long-term debt reduction.
The report card shows how the three budget proposals receiving the most political attention disregard strategies proven essential to the creation of a middle class. Surprisingly, Paul Ryan's plan is the only one of the five that fails to detail the revenues needed to reach his debt reduction targets, while the Congressional Progressive Caucus has the most ambitious target for deficit reduction.
"A fiscal plan should chart a course for rebuilding America's endangered middle class, but two of the leading budget plans fail the middle class and the President's barely breaks even," said Heather C. McGhee, Director of Demos' Washington Office and co-author of the report.
Demos' overall findings for each of the five budget proposals are as follows:
Overall Grade F:"The Path to Prosperity" from Representative Paul Ryan:
--Destroys 900,000 jobs in 2012, cuts early childhood spending by 14 percent, takes away healthcare from millions of citizens, denies Pell Grants to 1.4 million students, dramatically reduces federal revenue, and provides large tax cuts to the wealthy.
Overall Grade D+:Proposal from Erskine Bowles and former-Senator Alan Simpson:
--Destroys over four million jobs over the next four years, dramatically cuts early childhood spending, forces long-term cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, cuts student aid by $48 billion over the next four years, permanently caps revenue, and significantly cuts future Social Security benefits.
Overall Grade C:"Deficit Reduction Plan" from President Obama:
--Forgoes new stimulus for deficit reduction, raises no new corporate revenue, increases defense spending, protects education and low-income programs from cuts.
Overall Grade A-:"People's Budget" from The Congressional Progressive Caucus:
--Creates jobs with trillions spent in public investment, increases child care and Pell Grants, allows the government to negotiate drug prices, closes foreign tax loopholes and ends both the Bush tax cuts and deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2013.
Overall Grade A-:"Investing in America's Economy" from Our Fiscal Security, a collaborative effort of Demos, the Economic Policy Institute, and The Century Foundation:
--Favors immediate stimulus over deficit reduction until unemployment falls to six percent, creates jobs through trillions spent in public investment, provides universal early child care, reduces healthcare costs without increasing burdens on beneficiaries, and makes the tax code more progressive.
"Budgeting for America's Middle Class: A Report Card Comparing Federal Budget Proposals" is available for syndication on blogs and websites.
The full report card is available at
The abbreviated report card is available at
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Demos is a think tank that powers the movement for a just, inclusive, multiracial democracy. Through cutting-edge policy research, inspiring litigation, and deep relationships with grassroots organizations, Demos champions solutions that will create a democracy and economy rooted in racial equity.