Earlier today I wondered why Claire McCaskill, Missouri’s intrepid deficit slayer, was not supporting the budget proposal prepared by the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) – it cuts the deficit and preserves the New Deal programs that are responsible for sustaining the American Middle Class. You may have noted, if you took a look at the actual proposal that it is actually called “The People’s Budget” – but I carefully referred to it as the CPC budget.
I did that on purpose. Many of the commentators who have written about the CPC budget also refer to it in that way. I can’t speak to their line of reasoning, but I wonder if it isn’t the same as mine: the phrase immediately brings to my mind the plodding yet fantastic documents produced in the days of the Soviet politburo. I asked my husband, who hadn’t heard abut the CPC budget, what the phrase “the people’s budget” suggested to him. His response confirmed my impression – he replied that it suggested images of something from the People’s Republic of China. From this point of view, “The People’s Budget” strikes me as one of the most politically tone-deaf exercises in branding to come down the pike in quite a while. Is that really what the CPC wants to suggest?
I realize that there is nothing objectively wrong with calling the CPC budget “The People’s Budget.” In fact it would be an excellent title if weren’t for the noxious pixie dust sprinkled by history, particularly the history of anti-soviet propaganda in the U.S. You don’t really want people to think of vapid five-year plans, not to mention gulags, when you’re trying to chart an alternative economic course.
Is it to late to call this excellent proposal something that really gets to the heart of what it proposes to do? Something like, maybe, The Fair Budget? Or the Equitable Budget? The All-for-one, One-for-all budget? You get the idea.