Congress should abide by these principles:
Prioritize job creation and economic growth.
The deficit as a long term problem must be addressed, but not on the backs of vulnerable Americans in the midst of a fragile economic recovery. Job creation and economic growth will reduce the deficit by increasing revenues and shrinking the deficit in proportion to the size of the economy. Draconian cuts and austerity measures will only cause more economic pain and stall further growth.
No cuts to the social safety net or vital services for the middle class and low income people. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security must remain intact as the guaranteed benefits Americans depend on and have paid for over their lifetimes. These programs must be strengthened and supported, not undermined by privatization schemes and cuts. Further, cuts to programs like unemployment benefits, food stamps and education assistance will only punish vulnerable Americans who are already struggling and will hurt economic growth by hampering consumers’ spending power.
End the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%.
Corporations and the wealthy have not been asked to contribute their fair share for too long, but that must change, especially in light of the election results and the clear choice Americans made for the wealthy to contribute more. The first step in restoring some much-needed economic fairness is to let the Bush tax cuts expire for the top 2% of earners. They prospered mightily under Clinton-era tax rates that would be restored for them and they can afford to contribute a little more towards America’s recovery.