Thanks to fellow Kossacks padretom's recommendation, I have decided to put a list of goals for the Democrats to achieve if they retake Congress into a diary so that it can get more views and get up on Facebook (I myself do not have a Facebook account, no one cares if i had a chicken pot pie for lunch,and the world out there is full of nutsos). Instead of simply the 11 I originally posted, I have added some for a full 20 point program. i will also flesh out some of my ideas.Starting Below:
Thanks to fellow Kossacks padretom's recommendation, I have decided about putting a list of goals for the Democrats to achieve if they retake congress into a diary so that it can get more views and get up on Facebook (I myself do not have a Facebook account, no one cares if i had a chicken pot pie for lunch,and the world thee is full of nutsos). Instead of simple.the 11 I originally posted, I have added some for a full 20 point program. i will also flesh out some of my ideas.Starting Below:
1, limit filibuster to 10 per side. Filibusters used to be rare, and need to be so again, since having that possibility is important when we are in the minority. Republican abuse of the filibuster and other procedural tactics are partly why nothing gets done and Congress has the collective popularity of dog poo-flavored ice cream.
2 lift the limits on the Antiquities Act in Alaska and Wyoming and Amend the act so no state can ever be exempted again. set aside places like the Arctic, Bristol bay, the Great Lakes and the North Woods of Maine as monuments. The limits in both states were an attempt by Congress to pare executive power after a 1920 Supreme Court ruling expanded presidential power under the Act. Both limits are both arbitrary and unnecessary, since Congress already has all the imput and power it needs to create monuments- through passing legislation. Congress can defund or abolish monuments, and only Congress can declare an area a national park or wilderness. the Antiquities Act is Plan B, congressional legislation is the preferred route, but since Congress moves with the speed of a naked hiker through an Alaskan blizzard at the best of times, having the ability to set them aside quickly is a good thing, as the Congress in 1906 recognized. 22 states and Puerto Rico have no national monuments, and there are at least 200 sites national wide that could be monuments.
3 Revive the CCC and make it a permanent agency, opening it to anyone age 18 and up regardless of race or gender. the Original CCC employed 3.2 million men from 1933-42, building the infrastructure for several national parks, and 800 state parks. that was limited for political reasons to 18-25 year old white men. Native Americans and blacks were excluded on racist grounds, and women on sexists grounds. a modern CCC would be open to men , women, and all ethnicities. pay in the original CCC was 30 dollars a month, figure a modern pay rate would be 12-13 bucks an hour, depending on region
4 create a Department of Conservation and increase the money for environmental Agencies like the EPA and the Park Service. the Department should consist of six agencies - Bureau of Land Management, CCC, EPA, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service and Park service. Unlike FDR's proposed department in the 1930s, which would have merged the Park Service and Forest Service, the modern department retains each agency as a separate entity, under the same department banner. Each agency would get the same funding - 20 billion each, for a total of 120 billion annually. for the first couple years of the department, the agencies would be addressing backlogs in maintenance- the Park Service backlog is about 12 billion - or in the CCC's case establishing infrastructure in the states with state headquarters in the state capitals and the federal headquarters in DC.Once those backlogs were eliminated the funds would support a large increase in national monuments and parks within the system
5 pass legislation shutting down tax havens and impose a 1% transaction tax in the stock market. the gap between the taxes people owe and pay is rising, the IRS last estimated it to be 500 billion, which would basically wipe out this years deficit. ironically, a surplus is bad economically, since all past periods of surplus have led to depressions or "Panics" as they were called in the early years. the only time we have ever been debt-free as a country was under Andrew Jackson in 1833.
6 impose new taxes on the rich to pay for a New New Deal, and spend the money on roads infrastructure, high speed rail and improving health care. the top tax rate is 39.6, it has not been above 40 since 1980. the cost of fixing our infrastructure is at least 3 trillion, and the more people are covered by insurance the more likely they are to be to take care of health concerns without going broke. a healthy citizenry saves the feds and states tons of dough in spending that would otherwise be on treating and caring for sick patients.
7 add a public option to the health care exchanges. this will force the insurance companies to compete directly with the feds for services. blame Max Baucus for scuttling the public option in the ACA debate, but like with SS and medicare, improvements come with time.
8 lift the ban on negotiating prices for drugs by the feds. Allowing price megotiation will save the feds money and custmers money, as the feds have greatest buying and purchasing power, with then forces prices lower. theres is no reason a month supply of drugs should cost 20000 bucks.
9 raise estate taxes to 80% for any family with assets of 10 million or more. the Founders were very much in favor of high estate taxes, they had just fought a war against a system that favored the rich and powerful that concentrate wealth in just a few hands. instead today we have traded in lords and princes, for CEOs and bankers. in 1975 the estate tax was 77% for estate worth 10 million or more. the first million was exempt then the taxes kicked in, raising with each extra million.
10. lift the cap on membership of the House and raise it to 500. When the house was first created it was designee to expand in membership as the country grew in population. the 435 we have today was the count as of the 1910 census. and the cap was an anti-immigration measure.the 1920 census was never taken into account, had it, the House would have gone up to 483 members. the cap was out in place in the late 1920s and the only exemption to that cap was when Alaska and Hawaii wee admitted in 1959. the House temporarily had 437 members, the Presidential election of 1960 had a total of 537 EVS.
11 admit Puerto Rico and DC as states. We have not admitted a new state since August of 1959, a 55 year gap, which is the longest such period in US history- there was a 47 year gap between Arizona and Alaska.admitting DC as a state mirrors the treatment Canberra gets in Australia or Berlin in Germany, it would raise house membership by 1 and Senate membership by 2. Adding PR would put an end to the longest period between becoming a part of the US and becoming a state- PR has been a part of the US since 1898-116 years. Alaska waited 92 years(1867-1959) before becoming a state. PR would likely get 5 house members and 2 senators. this would raise House membership to 441 and the Senate to 104. a majority in the House would thus require 221 and a majority in the senate would require 53. Becoming president would require 273 votes as opposed to the 270 it does now.
12 Reinstate Glass Stengall. One of the reasons for the crash in 2008 was that banks were taking needless risks and there was no separation between banks that were buying up toxic derivative swaps and those interested solely in providing a place for people to put their money. Glass Stengall would separate banks from doing that.
13 Repeal Taft-Hartley and other anti-union measures. Taft Hartley was passed in 1947 and vetoed by Truman, the house and Senate overrode his veto. the bill constrained the ability for union members to strike. FDR was working on proposals to create Workers Councils in the US before he died in 1945, in a setup similar to what Germanys worker laws are today.
14. raise SS cap to 90% and index it to inflation. When SS was reformed in 1983 the goal was to peg the cap to 90% of wages. unfortunately we havent come close to that, currently the cap of 117000 is about 83%. 90% would put it at 186000. With increased work participation from agencies like the CCC, bith SS and Medicare would be on much stronger footing.
15 Raise the membership of the Supreme Court to 11. The Constitution does not give a specific number to the membership of the Court, it only states that there should be one. the original SC had 7 members, and for a brief time during the Civil War there was 10 members. We only associate the SC with 9 justices because thats the number that the court has stood at the longest. FDRs attempt to pack the Court with 6 extra justices - which was the numbers of justices at the times which were over 70- was an overreach, had he simply proposed raising it to 11, it would have passed and he would have gotten the votes needed to uphold his New Deal programs - the Court at that time had been rejecting many New Deal programs. adding two justices would likely allow the ability to overturn Citizens United as that would shift the the balance from 5C-4L to 6L-5C.
16 eliminate gerrymandering, by requiring a judge draw the boundaries in each state. gerrymanders has been around since the 1820s, and while its legality has never really been fully tested, it is a practice which distorts the will of the people.
17 Reorganize the budget process. when the president proposes a budget, Congress cant just ignore it. they have to work with the Presidents proposal as a baseline. They can add more spending or cut some, but they have to give the Presidents proposal a fair hearing. if Congress rejects the presidents budget then it must propose its own alternative , using the presidents proposals as a rough floor. Before Watergate, there was no official budget process, Congress appropriated and spent money as it pleased.
18 Make Election Day a federal holiday and expand the number of early voting days countrywide to a month prior. This will be one of the methods to increase the percentage of people voting in elections.
19 Reinstate the Fairness Act and shut down any station , like Fox News that deals in biased , slanted and false statements and coverage. Each side will get a representative to its side, alongside folks like the Greens libertarians Socialists etc, and a chance to make its case.
20 Making Voting mandatory, like Australia. if you dont vote you have to pay a $100 fine. theres a huge gap in midterms-which get 40% and Presidential elections, which get 60%. there's is no reason we shouldnt get 80% turnout in this country. Australia gets 95% turnout. making Election Day a holiday, and giving voters a months prior to election, as in #18, will increase turnout as well.
Theres my list. Looking forward to Responses and thoughts from the readers