The Huffington Post has published a budget plan from the House's Congressional Progressive Caucus, a crew that includes folks such as Sen. Bernie Sanders and Reps. Keith Ellison, Xavier Becerra, Alan Grayson, and Sheila Jackson-Lee.
Titled "Back to Work"—why do political documents seem to channel Rodney Dangerfield or Norm McDonald movies?—the plan rightly focuses on economic issues such as record-high levels of long-term unemployment. But when it comes to spending—the one number that government can actually control in a given year—the budget plan puts drunken sailors to shame.
Where the GOP budget calls for shelling out $3.5 trillion in 2014, the Progressive Caucus wants to make it rain with $4.5 trillion in spending in 2014, or about $900 billion more than the feds will spend this year (go to Table S-1).
The GOP—in distinction to their cheapskate rhetoric—would spend $5 trillion in 2023, or 42 percent more than they propose for 2014. The Progressive Caucus wants to kick 2023 spending up to an amazing $6 trillion. They would also raise a slew of taxes while claiming that their plan will "create 7 million American jobs and increase GDP by 5.7%" in "the first year alone." Good luck with that.
How unrealistic is this budget? It assumes that tax revenues will average 21.5 percent of GDP over the next 10 years. Since World War II, the government has raised more than 20 percent of GDP in taxes exactly once (see Table 1.2) – 20.6 percent in 2000—and the highest five-year average came in at 19.8 percent. This budget is more aspirational than an Anthropologie catalog.
It's not all bad, though: the Progressives call for returning Pentagon spending to 2006 levels, which would certainly be more than enough loot to keep us safe from our various enemies. That's something that most libertarians—and even some conservatives and Republcians—could get behind.