Tuesday, June 14, 2011

5 Progressive Congressional Bills

Five smart, progressive bills in Congress; bills you've probably never heard of. These aren't bills that are getting any media attention at all. Good ideas, going nowhere. From The Nation:

The Fairness in Taxation Act [H.R.1124]

Sponsored by Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky and co-sponsored by 20 other Democratic House members, the Fairness in Taxation Act [FTA] would create additional tax brackets at the top of the income ladder, starting with $1 million and ending at $1 billion. As things stand, the highest tax bracket is set at $373,000, meaning the top 20 hedge fund managers with an average annual income of over $1 billion pay the same marginal tax rate as those who make 2,500 times less than they do.

This would raise federal tax revenue by more than $78.9 billion in this year alone, and would cover some of the ugliest budget cuts the GOP wants to make, like cuts to Pell Grants.

The Foundations for Success Act [S.294]

This would address the crisis in affordable day care for families, while simultaneously addressing the fact that the US is falling behind in early childhood education.

Sanders’ plan establishes a grant program providing “universal, full day, full week, and full year programs” available to households with children age 6 weeks until Kindergarten. The program would initially serve 10 geographically diverse states across the country that fall significantly behind others in providing viable care services, but would ultimately expand to all 50 states in a long-term initiative to build upon existing efforts to improve the quality and affordability of early care.

The Federal Reserve Transparency Act [H.R.459]

Sponsored by Ron Paul in the House, with a similar bill [S. 202] sponsored by his son Rand Paul in the Senate, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act (FRTA) lifts restrictions placed on the Government Accountability Office and mandates an external audit of the Fed’s books by the end of 2012.

Because their procedures, reasoning, and internal processes should be more transparent.

The Shortening Hours and Retaining Employees (SHARE) Credit Act [H.R.4179]

Michigan Congressman John Conyers has taken up the initiative by sponsoring the SHARE Act, a job-creation program that offers a tax credit of up to $3,000 to employers who shorten workers’ hours in the form of “paid sick days, paid family leave, shorter workweeks or longer vacations.

Workers would have more leisure time - and that translates into consumer spending. This is working well in Germany, where they're maintaining the pre-economic downturn unemployment rate during the recession.

The 21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps Act [H.R.494]

Sponsored by Ohio Representative Marcy Kaptur, the 21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps Act (CCCA) is a job creation program that re-establishes a Civilian Conservation Corp that puts to work unemployed and underemployed civilians to advance useful public works projects aimed at safeguarding natural resources and developing new transportation and infrastructure.

This is the best idea of all. There are so many public works and conservation projects that need attention across the country. Soil erosion, flooding in the midwest, repairs to levees and dams, maintenance projects in parks - the possibilities are endless. At a time when so many are out of work, this would be the best investment we could possibly make. Putting people to work solving America's infrastructure problems? That's something we could all be proud of.

cross posted at MainSt/workingamerica.org

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