As Supercommittee Fails, New IPS Report Proposes Better Budget Reforms

Washington DC – There is plenty of money to fix the federal budget and make the world more equitable, green, and secure, says a new report by the Institute for Policy Studies released Monday, November 21, just days before the Congressional supercommittee’s deadline to finish a deficit plan. The report, entitled “America Isn’t Broke: How to Pay for the Crisis While Making the Country More Equitable, Green, and Secure,” lays out a plan for reform that amounts to $824 billion in potential revenue per year, seven times the amount that the supercommittee was tasked with finding in savings. Many of the reforms in the report are also being discussed in parks, squares, and plazas housing the Occupy movement all over the nation.

“At a time when so many Americans are struggling, Congress could have placed fair taxes on Wall Street, corporations, the wealthy and pollution and both closed the deficit and created millions of jobs,” said IPS Director John Cavanagh. “This failure shows how Wall Street, not the public, is calling the shots in Washington.”

“While no deal is better than a bad deal, ‘sequestration’ is the opposite of the vision-based change this country needs. IPS’s blueprint starts with a 20-year vision for the country and then translates that vision into fiscal policy,” says Sarah Anderson, director of IPS’s Global Economy Project. “We want the United States to be a healthier, more equitable and sustainable country that engages effectively with global partners to prevent conflict. Our proposed fiscal reforms would head us in that direction. Sequestration is putting the future direction of the country on auto-pilot.”

The report draws on the Institute’s strong expertise in the areas of fair taxation, military budgets, and sustainable energy policy. Proposals include implementing a Wall Street tax on financial transactions, stopping tax haven abuse, closing tax loopholes for wealthy Americans, ending military operations in Afghanistan, shutting down obsolete weapons programs, taxing carbon emissions, and ending subsidies to coal, oil, and gas companies.

Detailed tables in the report list 24 specific reforms, coupled with how much money could be generated if each reform were enacted. For example, a tax on financial transactions could generate $150 billion in potential annual revenue. Just cutting outsourcing to defense contractors by 15 percent could free up $30 billion in taxpayer dollars.

IPS report co-authors: Sarah Anderson, director of the Global Economy project; John Cavanagh, director of IPS; Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism project; Chuck Collins, director of the Inequality and the Common Good program and co-editor of Inequality.org; John Feffer, co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus; Miriam Pemberton, principal co-author of the IPS annual Unified Security Budget for the United States report; and Daphne Wysham, co-director of the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network.

Get the report here: http://www.ips-dc.org/reports/america_is_not_broke/

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The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS-DC.org) is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the U.S. and globally. We work with social movements to promote true democracy and challenge concentrated wealth, corporate influence, and military power.

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