RACINE — With high unemployment rates and people struggling, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., said in a visit to Racine Thursday, “We cannot afford to cut, cap and balance.”
Instead, the country needs to “invest and grow,” said Jackson, son of civil rights activist Jesse Jackson.
He was in Racine Thursday, at a rally at Monument Square, speaking about an alternative to the budget proposed by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and reminded people about the importance of the November elections, when Ryan will be on the ballot.
“When you get finished recalling Gov. Walker, turn your attention to this congressman, (send) him back home,” Jackson said to a group of about 60 to 70 people waving signs criticizing Ryan.
Ryan, the Janesville Republican and chairman of the House Budget Committee who represents Racine County, proposed a budget titled the Path for Prosperity that proposes greatly reducing federal spending and controversial Medicare changes, among other changes that have gained national attention as the country gets closer to the November presidential election.
Jackson said instead of helping the average person, “(Ryan’s budget) would be prosperous for our largest corporations and the rich and especially the super-rich.” He continued, “For the middle class, the Ryan, Romney, Republican budget for the rich is not the path to prosperity.”
On the other hand, Jackson said the Congressional Progressive Caucus, of which he is a member, proposed a budget called “the Budget for All” that would preserve Medicare and eliminate tax loopholes for the wealthy. It would also end subsidies for oil and gas companies, save billions in military spending and take a balanced approach to cutting programs, he said.
However, Ryan said in an emailed statement Thursday, “There is nothing fair about taking more from working families because politicians in Washington refuse to restrain their spending appetite … The Congressional Progressive Caucus’ budget proposal would increase taxes by $6.8 trillion in the next 10 years, would increase spending by $6.6 trillion, and would ensure a future of debt and decline.”
Jackson said after his speech that the progressive caucus budget would increase spending in the short run, but it’s needed to increase aggregate demand and put millions to work so they can buy cars and homes. Then those people working will pay taxes, which will lead to less national debt, he said.
That budget didn’t pass through the House this year. But Jackson stressed with more progressive supporters in Congress, it could pass. Jackson said for that to happen it will take 218 votes, which would be a majority in the House. “We cannot afford to sleep this election,” Jackson said. “It takes 218.”