NPP Analyzes “Competing Visions” for America

Earlier this week, National Priorities Project (NPP) released its annual analysis of the budget proposals put forward by the president, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and the House Budget Committee, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

The analysis compares the budgets' approaches to key areas of policy contrasted with the findings of public opinion polling. The areas examined reflect differing priorities and divergent visions for the future of the country. The budget proposals veer more and less strongly from public opinion.

Corporate Taxes

While 79 percent of Americans want to close corporate tax loopholes to reduce incentives for corporations to shift profits offshore, the Congressional Progressive Caucus plan is the only proposal to both reduce profit-shifting to offshore entities and raise significant new revenue, including implementing a Wall Street Sales tax. The president’s plan closes some tax loopholes but offers only a piecemeal approach to reducing corporate tax avoidance. The proposal put forward by Paul Ryan and the House Budget Committee is not expected to raise any revenue. Instead, it reduces tax rates for corporations and could make shifting profits offshore even more attractive for corporations.


In a poll referenced by the NPP report, 69 percent of Americans said improving education is a top priority. The Congressional Progressive Caucus budget provides $47 billion to invest in schools over 10 years, coupled with increased spending on general discretionary funding for education. The president’s proposal also provides an increase in funding, focusing on providing universal preschool and a “Race to the Top” initiative.

Cuts to education spending contained in the Ryan budget impact all levels of schooling – access to preschool, funding for K-12 edcuation, and higher education. Ryan would freeze the maximum value of Pell grants and reduce access to financial aid, as well as squeeze overall funding for education.

Individual Taxes

The Congressional Progressive Caucus ends Bush tax cuts for wealthy families and creates five new tax brackets for high-income earners. Additionally, the plan treats investment income and earned income more similarly while expanding the earned income tax credit (EITC) among low-income, working families. The president’s approach raises significantly less revenue but still promotes tax fairness by implementing a “Buffett rule” in the form of a minimum tax for the wealthiest Americans and supporting low-income, working Americans.

By contrast, sharp reductions in tax rates for millionaires included in Ryan’s budget run contrary to popular sentiment, which favors asking upper-income Americans to pay their fair share of taxes. Citizens for Tax Justice found that Ryan’s plan would give millionaires an average tax cut of at least $200,000.

To read NPP’s statement on their findings and view their full comparison chart, click here.

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