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Kevin McKenna: ‘Back to Work’ budget would help real Americans

To the editor:

In the budget debates in Washington, D.C., a draconian, austerity-laced budget proposal — courtesy of Paul Ryan and his gang of Ayn Randians — would aid the über wealthy at the expense of everyone else. The media is peddling only one counter proposal which also insists that the poor and middle-class must continue to fund Wall Street’s misadventures through Social Security, Medicare, and other “shared sacrifice.”

I’ve recently stumbled upon the Congressional Progressive Caucus’s Back to Work budget. This proposal, unlike the nebulous Ryan proposal, is specific in how it will deliver on 7 million jobs in one year and reduce the deficit by $4.4 trillion by closing tax loopholes and asking the wealthy to pay a fair share. This proposal specifically addresses job creation, fair taxation, defense, health care and the environment — again through fair share. I encourage folks to lean more about this proposal by visiting the Congressional Progressive Caucus website.

Upon noticing that my representative, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, is not listed as a supporter, I called his office to inquire as to his stance on this budget. I was told that the congressman does not support this budget for two reasons. Tax reform should not be addressed through budget discussions. And elements of the CPC’s budget would be “harmful to the financial services” industry.

For me, this response did not pass the smell test.

The financial industry’s objection may lie mainly with the proposed financial transaction tax. Seventy years ago, John Maynard Keynes wrote about the value of a financial transaction tax in “mitigating the predominance of speculation over enterprise in the United States.” This tiny tax would make some of the most speculative and unproductive trading less profitable, steadying markets and promoting real investment, while in turn raise much-needed revenues.

Of course this will edge into the obscene profit margins generated by these trades, but help improve the lives of our children and grandchildren.

Wall Street has had more than its fair share for far too long. It’s time government policy shifts its focus to Main Street — where it belongs.

Kevin McKenna

Easthampton

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