How to raise $9 trillion for working-class people without really trying

NPP Pressroom

Think Progress
Alan Pyke

There’s a lot at stake, and it doesn’t get any easier in an election year that will drive the intra-party ideological battles of the Democratic party into focus, And underlying it all will be the latest edition of what these left-populist leaders call the Moral Budget. The newest edition of that idea, released Monday through the Institute for Policy Studies and the Poor People’s Campaign, strikes a dramatically louder and more aggressive tone than its predecessors.

Barber and his allies say they have figured out how to raise nearly $9 trillion toward the public interest, all without cutting a penny from programs that benefit the poor and the striving. By their telling, the Moral Budget is a paradigm-breaking document, especially in a Washington that’s been strangled by budget caps and government shutdown fights.

The core of the $9 trillion revenue plan – which itself is but one component of the Moral Budget – comes in the form of changes to how individuals and families pay taxes in America. But the Moral Budget lives a double life: It’s both a map of a potential rosier future as well as a keen and subtle documentation of how America came to this point of strife and division. Seeking solutions to America’s current crisis within its passages and footnotes, the Moral Budget elucidates how the United States came to elevate the reactionary, spleen-based politics that put President Donald Trump in the White House.

Though the packaging may be new, and the conversation this time may be informed by a particularly Trumpian societal conflagration, the various elements of the Moral Budget arise from a history that includes the recent past as well as dating back to the fateful 1960s organizing drive from which Barber and Theoharis’s present work takes its name.

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