Poor People’s Moral Budget

Report from Shailly Gupta Barnes, Lindsay Koshgarian, Ashik Siddique –

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival has released a Moral Agenda and Declaration of Fundamental Rights.

The statistics contained within the document present a comprehensive response to the systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism, and war economy plaguing our country today. The 140 million people who are poor, or one emergency away from being poor, know that these demands are necessary.

The seven sections of the Moral Budget look at policies and investments for seven critical areas of the Poor People’s Moral Agenda:

1) democracy and equal protection under the law

2) domestic tranquility

3) peace and the common defense

4) life and health

5) the planet

6) our future

7) an equitable economy

In each case, it was found that our nation has abundant resources to meet the demands of the poor, and to address the widespread and systemic injustices we face. In contrast, the current realities of voter suppression, low and inconsistent wages, insecure access to health care and other basic needs, wealth inequality, war, and climate change are far costlier than we have been led to believe.

Read the Full Report (pdf file)

Read the Key Findings 

This budget shows that it is possible to invest our resources in the ways demanded by this campaign and our moral and constitutional values: to establish justice, domestic tranquility, security, and the general welfare for all. It shows, too, just how wasteful systemic injustice is. The abundance of our society will grow even greater when we stop investing in maintaining injustice to benefit the few, and turn instead to policies based on the needs of the many.

Key Findings

The United States has abundant resources for an economic revival that will move towards establishing a moral economy. This report identifies:

  • $350 billion in annual military spending cuts that would make the nation and the world more secure;
  • $886 billion in estimated annual revenue from fair taxes on the wealthy, corporations, and Wall Street; and
  • Billions more in savings from ending mass incarceration, addressing climate change, and meeting other key campaign demands.

Policymakers have always found resources for their true priorities. It is critical that policymakers redirect these resources to establish justice and to prioritize the general welfare instead. The abundant wealth of this nation is produced by millions of people, workers, and families in this country and around the world. The fruits of their labor should be devoted to securing their basic needs and creating the conditions for them to thrive.

At the same time, policymakers should not tie their hands with “pay-as-you-go” restrictions that require every dime of new spending to be offset with expenditure cuts or new revenue, especially given the enormous long-term benefits of most of our proposals. The cost of inaction is simply too great.


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