What can you buy with the $3.5 trillion?
Kelly Ross, deputy policy director of the AFL-CIO, asked whether, overall, the deal was a good one or a bad one, wouldn’t go beyond the union’s statement (which said the agreement was “a breakthrough in beginning to restore tax fairness,” although it also pointed to deficiencies). Ross said that it was “necessary for the economy” to retain tax cuts to the extent of keeping them in place for households with incomes up to $250,000. He agreed, however, that “we need a lot more revenue.”
The SEIU’s statement described the deal that was made as “the right move to protect America’s middle class families,” while also stating that “right wing extremists once again pushed the debate outside the mainstream.” Peter Colavito, director of government relations for SEIU, likewise said that “this was probably not the time to ask most working class and middle class families to pay a little more,” and added that SEIU had been aligned with the original Obama position that tax cuts should have been allowed to expire at the $250,000 level. Like Ross, he said that “the government needs to find more revenue,” and suggested closing corporate tax loopholes.
PSN’s statement characterized the deal as achieving “some important and historic results for the vast majority of American families,” while saying that it was “far from perfect.” Ann Pratt, executive director of the Progressive States Network, noted in speaking with Remapping Debate that PSN’s focus is on the state level. Without in any way endorsing the idea that all tax cuts should have been allowed to expire, Pratt said that additional federal revenues of the scope that would have been yielded by such a result would have been “great for the states.”
That kind of money, Pratt said, “Would actually go far towards the things that are very important to PSN, like fully funding public schools, and fully funding Medicaid and infrastructure, and putting more money into the hands of middle-class people.”
A separate blog post from PSN said the “fiscal cliff” deal “left much to be desired.”
Additional reporting: Craig Gurian