The Ryan-Murray People First Budget Proposal

By Liz Ryan-Murray

My name is Liz Ryan Murray. I am the Policy Director of National Peoples’ Action. Like the more famous bi-partisan pair that recently announced their budget proposal, I too have a budget proposal: The Ryan-Murray People First Budget Proposal.

Unlike the plan recently put forth by Representative Paul Ryan (D-WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) my budget doesn’t go out of its way to put the interests of Wall Street ahead of Main Street.  It doesn’t avoid asking America’s wealthiest citizens and most powerful and prosperous corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. The People First budget proposal is founded on the simple premise that there have been enough cuts at the expense of children, families, communities and small businesses – it’s time we built up our families and our communities and stopped tearing them down.  

It is time for those who have done well in America to do well by America and pay their fair share of taxes.  It’s time we discarded the myth that we can’t afford to revitalize our nation by investing in education, health-care, and housing.

The proposals below would raise hundreds of billions of dollars – money that could be used to create jobs for those who need them – while revitalizing our communities and our economy. They would also confront the devastating inequality that is crippling our country and our democracy.

My namesakes in Congress want to tell you we can’t afford any of these things. Perhaps they’ve forgotten that America is the richest nation in the history of the world, that when so many of our brothers and sisters are suffering, we all suffer as a nation.

If they’ve forgotten, we will just need to raise our voices a little bit louder and demand the dignity and opportunity that we, and those who have gone before us have worked so hard to build.

After all, the power of organized people is always greater than the power of money.

The Ryan Murray Pro-People Budget Proposal would

  • Close offshore loopholes that encourage multinational corporations to game the tax system and ship jobs and revenue out of the United States to places like the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Luxembourg. These loopholes cost the Treasury $100 billion a year, and have set up an unfair and contradictory tax system where U.S. corporations report record profits while paying some of the lowest effective tax rates in sixty years.
  • Pass a Wall Street sales tax, so that those responsible for crashing the economy and causing millions of families to lose their homes would pay a small sales tax on each stock trade that would be used to re-build Main Street. Under the Ryan-Murray Pro-People Budget, proceeds from the Wall Street sales tax would go directly to cities and towns to help them rehire laid-off teachers, restore aging schools, rebuild roads and bridges, and shore up pension shortfalls that threaten many communities.
  • Tax wealth like work. America is a country that has always valued hard work. Is there any good reason why wealthy people who live off their investment income should pay just half the taxes that working people pay on their income?  
  • Adopt the Buffett Rule requiring America’s millionaires and billionaires to pay at least as high a tax rate as paid by middle class families. The IRS recently reported that America’s richest 400 taxpayers – those whose income averaged more than $200 million - paid less than 20 percent of that income in federal income taxes, a rate lower than that paid by ordinary millionaires.
  • End the carried interest loophole that allows America’s highest paid professionals – hedge fund managers -- to report their earnings (which in some cases exceed $1 BILLION a YEAR) as capital gains, taxed at half the rate of wage income.
  • Eliminate the CEO meal deduction – which allows a CEO and his or her pals to have dinner at a fancy restaurant and earn a tax deduction for that one meal that is greater than the SNAP benefits received by a family of four for a month.
  • End the discounted sale of oil and gas from public lands. The royalties charged by the government for drilling on public land and waters trail those of nearly every nation, and represent a giant public subsidy for some of America’s most profitable corporations.

I am Ryan Murray, the Liz variety, and I approved this message.

Make Corporate Tax Dodgers Pay Their Fair Share