The correct counterpart to the unbridled ambition of the Ryan budget isn’t the cautious plan released by the Senate Democrats. It’s the “Back to Work” budget released by the House Progressives.
The “Back to Work” budget is about exactly what the name implies: Putting Americans back to work. The first sentence of the budget lays it out clearly: “We’re in a jobs crisis that isn’t going away.” So that’s the budget’s top priority: fixing the jobs crisis.
The budget begins with a stimulus program that makes the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act look tepid. It includes $2.1 trillion in stimulus and investment from 2013-2015. The main policies there are a $425 billion infrastructure program, a $340 billion middle-class tax cut, a $450 billion public-works initiative, and $179 billion in state and local aid.
This is a lot of stimulus. The liberal Economic Policy Institute estimates that would be sufficient to “boost gross domestic product (GDP) by 5.7 percent and employment by 6.9 million jobs at its peak level of effectiveness (within one year of implementation).”