Fighting for a U.S. federal budget that prioritizes peace, economic security and shared prosperity
Grassroots activists and progressive economists have other ideas. Earlier this year, the Institute for Policy Studies, the Poor People’s Campaign and other groups released a Poor People’s Moral Budget that would pay for programs like Medicare for All by shifting the federal government’s spending toward infrastructure, social programs and climate investments while restoring “fair taxes” on corporations and the rich.
“Our proposals, some of which you see in Elizabeth Warren’s and Bernie Sanders’s and Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s health care plans, save money in the long run, increase our health and security as a nation, work to eliminate racial, class and gender disparities in the current health care system and ensure that everyone has access to affordable quality healthcare,” Dolan said.
Lindsay Koshgarian, director of the National Priorities Project and co-editor of the moral budget (as well as a contributor to Truthout), argued in a recent New York Times op-ed that Medicare for All could be paid for with an annual $350 billion transferred from military budgets if the U.S. were to change its foreign policy. This would require closing half of U.S. overseas military bases, reducing U.S. military support for foreign governments, and ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that have cost $4.9 trillion over the past 18 years — policies Koshgarian argues would make the world a safer place.
Billions more could be saved if the U.S committed to ending mass incarceration, rebuilding the social safety net and raising the minimum wage — all actions that would either save the government money or stimulate the economy and tax revenues, according to the moral budget. Such progressive priorities are currently stalled or yet to be introduced in Congress, although some are reflected in Warren and Sanders’s agendas. Meanwhile, conservatives are pushing in the exact opposite direction by attempting to kill the ACA and undermine what’s left of the social safety net. Doing so would further enrich the rich and harm the poor.
“There are many options to pay for the expense of a Medicare for All health system,” said Dolan, who co-authored the moral budget. “All it requires is the political will. Our nation has more than sufficient resources to pay for it.”