Progress Report: Fulfilling Our Contract

Guest post by CC Song In July this year, the American Dream Movement created a powerful document called the Contract for the American Dream. The Contract was made through an open, crowd-source process, where 131, 203 people submitted over 20,000 ideas, and those ideas were then rated, ranked, consolidated into a 10-point plan. The Contract will help us become the great nation we strive to be, a country where if you work hard, you can get a good job, your children can get a good education, and when times get tough, we’ll take care of each other. It will put Americans back to work without cutting essential programs like Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and public education. Most importantly, because the Contract was created through an inclusive process, it reflects the needs and best thinking of the American people. Making lasting change takes longer than five months, but we have made a surprisingly strong beginning. Lawmakers have heard our demands loud and clear and proposed legislation to address some of the 99-percent’s most urgent needs. Here is a progress report on the Contract:
I. Invest in America’s Infrastructure
  • President Obama’s American Jobs Act proposed $50 billion for new infrastructure constructions, which would modernize our roads, rail, airports, and waterways, and create hundreds of thousands of much needed jobs. The Jobs Act was split into smaller bills. Last week, the Senate passed the pieces that establish tax credits for businesses that hire veterans, and repeal a tax on government contractors. [i]
II. Create 21st Century Energy Jobs
  • Bills to extend the offshore wind investment tax credit have been introduced in both the Senate and the House. These bills would jump-start the offshore wind industry by offering a 30-percent tax credit for the first 3000 megawatts of offshore wind projects.[ii]
  • The American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act was introduced last week in the House to extend the tax credit to 2016.
III. Invest in Public Education
  • President Obama’s student debt relief plan will accelerate a measure that reduces the maximum required payment on student loans from 15 percent of annual discretionary income to 10 percent. This will be put into effect in 2012, and remaining debt will be forgiven in 20 years instead of 25. [iii]
IV. Offer Medicare for All
  • The Congressional Progressive Caucus submitted “People’s Budget” proposal to the Super Committee, and urged the Super Committee to prevent any cuts to Medicare physician payment for a decade, to enact a health care public option, and to negotiate payment rates for prescription drugs.
V. Make Work Pay
  • Bills to raise minimum wage have been proposed in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland. Legislators are considering introducing minimum wage bills in Arkansas, Delaware, New York, and New Mexico. The National Employment Law Project is closely monitoring these proposals.
VI. Secure Social Security
  • Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act[iv] was introduced to preserve promised benefits for the next 75 years by applying the payroll tax already paid by 90% of Americans to those with incomes over $250,000 a year.
VII. Return to Fairer Tax Rates
  • In March, Rep. Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the Fairness in Taxation Act, which would create new tax brackets for millionaires and billionaires.
VIII. End the Wars and Invest at Home
  • On Oct. 21, President Obama announced a full drawdown of U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year.
  • The People’s Budget proposes to reduce conventional forces, procurement, and costly R&D programs.
IX. Tax Wall Street Speculation
  • Earlier this month, a Wall Street Tax was introduced. This small tax would raise about $350 billion over a decade by charging a .03 percent “sales tax” on Wall Street transactions. Let Congress know that you want the Wall Street Tax by signing Rebuild the Dream’s petition here.
  • End Excessive Oil Speculation Now Act was introduced to put a halt to oil speculations that have dramatically driven up gasoline prices.[v]
X. Strengthen Democracy
  • Fair Elections Now Act in both the Senate and the House to reduce the influence of big donors over federal elections, enhance the power of small donors, and offer a voluntary campaign finance system.
These proposals are a promising start toward policies that work for the people, not big corporations. By showing your support for these initiatives, we will be on the right path to renew the American Dream for the 99%. We have a much longer way to go before the Contract for the American Dream is truly fulfilled, but let us take some pride in our American Autumn harvest. ________________________________________
CC Song is an American Dream Fellow with Rebuild The Dream.
________________________________________ [i] “Veterans, government contractors score victory in the Senate.” The Washington Post Blog on Small Business. [ii] “Bipartisan bill to support offshore wind introduced in the House.” [iii] “Obama unveils student debt relief plan.” [iv] “Senator Bernie Sanders proposes bill aimed at Keeping Our Social Security Promises.” [v] “Excessive Oil Speculation: Wall Street’s Tax on Us.”

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.