Democrats & Liberals Archives

Keep it Simple, Congress

Here’s my advice for the new Democratic majorities in Congress:

Write some really simple legislation.

Americans are already disgusted with the “I’ll scratch your back, if you’ll scratch mine” system of governance in which bills become absurd conglomerations of disparate issues which no one wholly agrees with and no one wholly disagrees with.

With majorities, Democrats have an opportunity to just say no to that process, and put bills in front of the President which are popular with the American people and carry no baggage that spoil their central theme.

Minimum wage is a great example. Democrats should avoid the temptation to fill a minimum wage bill with liberal riders. Make the President's veto, if he dares, mean exactly that he thinks it's ok for employers to pay sub-poverty wages.

Reverse the worst of the Republican legislation of the last 12 years a piece at a time. There's so much to do - make each piece of it as simple as possible. Allow the government to negotiate the best prices with pharmaceuticals for prescription drugs. Reverse the media consolidation rules which squelch diversity of opinion broadcast over TV and radio. Etc, etc, etc. One at a time the American people can come to understand that Democratic leadership is in their best interest. But only if the Democrats deliver that leadership.

No doubt Bush will be dusting off his veto pen at long last, but maybe there's a limit to the number of popular bills that an unpopular president can get away with vetoing. Opportunities abound; I'm choosing hope.

Posted by Walker Willingham at November 10, 2006 2:23 PM
Comment #194482

Walker, Democrats are still a big tent party, with many diverging factions on a host of issues. Corralling them into unanimity is going to be very tough on some issues even if they are kept simple.

But, I agree with you. It is long past time for single identity bills to be debated and passed up or down on the single issue it covers. Long past time.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 10, 2006 3:00 PM
Comment #194491

A bill with one single subject…wow…what a revolution and revelation that could be!! No hidden pork, nothing hidden (at least that doesn’t relate to the bill’s subject)…it’s…it’s….wonderful!! It would end politics as the Congress knows and plays it!!

Think what a boon this would be for our national budget…for our tax bills…for our deficit…for honesty and fairness in government.

Why…it just boggles the mind! Real and open democracy…what a concept!

Posted by: Lynne at November 10, 2006 3:44 PM
Comment #194493
Real and open democracy…what a concept!

This is why it will never happen, they know that they can’t keep their power of they start letting us have some control.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 10, 2006 3:52 PM
Comment #194497


i hope you’re wrong. i’m afraid you’re right.


here’s hoping.

Posted by: Diogenes at November 10, 2006 3:59 PM
Comment #194500

Here are some easy pieces fo legislation to start with:

1. It is illegal to have a Christmas display in your store before Thanksgiving.

2. All of Congress / Federal Government must take part in Social Security like everyone else in this country. Congress is exempt from Social Security. They have their own plan.

3. Increase penalties and fines for identity theft including stealing of Social Security numbers. Those found to possess a fraudulent Social Security number gets 20 years in a maximum security prison + must make restitution to the victim. If they are an illegal alien, immediate deportation upon release from Prison. This should help reduce identity theft and help address Illegal immigration at the same time.

4. Tie economic aid to foreign countries with the heaviest abuses of identity theft / internet fraud. Economic incentives to Nigeria and Eastern Europe for reductions in Internet fraud abuse. The to these countries could be used to expand their economy. Right now, Internet Fraud is the 3rd largest industry in Nigeria (next to oil and diamonds).

5. Insist China and India participate in Kyoto. These are the two largest countries and are major polluters.

Right now, China is building a new Coal power plant a week.

6. Make tax cuts permanent

7. Eliminate Death tax. This is triple taxation. You are taxed when you earn your money, you are taxed on your purchases, then you are taxed when you turn those purchased items over to your heirs.

8. Launch investigations into price gouging of Big University. Why has the cost of going to University risen over 30% while the economy is growing at single digit rate. Where is the money going, what are our students getting from it?

Posted by: RedStapler at November 10, 2006 4:09 PM
Comment #194506

I think the first thing the Democrats should do is revive and pass Dennis Kucinich’s HR 2977.

It would ban the deployment of mind-control weapons in outer space, certainly an issue near and dear to the hearts of the far left.

Posted by: Neo-Con Pilsner at November 10, 2006 4:52 PM
Comment #194527

The first priority of our newly re-elected governor in Illinois is supposed to be increasing the miniumum wage from 6.50 to 7.50 an hour. The federal minimum wage is so low it could only apply in the most poverty-stricken parts of the country.

Posted by: ohrealy at November 10, 2006 7:28 PM
Comment #194530

Walker, good article. One simple piece at a time — that would be a really wonderful thing to see.

Posted by: Adrienne at November 10, 2006 7:46 PM
Comment #194559

Eric the Blue, I was pretty obviously making a joke, so taking it so seriously is pretty humorless on your part. Also, it doesn’t help that you are flat out wrong. The reference to “psychotronic” weapons is not the only place that “mind control” is mentioned in the bill—which is right there in the very link you provide.

(II) through the use of land-based, sea-based, or space-based systems using radiation, electromagnetic, psychotronic, sonic, laser, or other energies directed at individual persons or targeted populations for the purpose of information war, mood management, or mind control of such persons or populations

But honestly, if you Democrats really do want to debate the use of mind control weapons in outer space as a key part of your agenda, I’d be happy to indulge you. I suspect that doing so would be a lot more fun (and funnier) than many of the alternatives.

Posted by: Neo-Con Pilsner at November 11, 2006 1:15 AM
Comment #194571

Thank you for highlighting something that has always bothered me.
I especially hate how these votes are twisted and portrayed.
Interest groups highlight opposition to the addition of some completely unrelated amendment as a vote against the overall concept (not recognizing that the lawmaker wants the higher level bill that they’ve been working on and gaining concession with to pass)
Even worse, completely unrelated amendments are attached to very important bills, then when lawmakers vote against it to get the bill back into negotiation, they’re portrayed as being against the important bill…
It’s sickening and way too common.


Posted by: Christine at November 11, 2006 2:48 AM
Comment #194648

Red Stapler: We should also make it a capital crime for dentist to put their hands in your mouth and then ask you questions.

Posted by: BillS at November 11, 2006 6:13 PM
Comment #194794

Out comes the democrats anti energy policies.
AP reports that the democrats are going to return to killing the US effort to drill for more of it’s own oil. Oh that’s right…American oil companies are evil. Only foreign oil companies are worth of our money.

Posted by: Stephen at November 12, 2006 8:51 PM
Comment #194995

Red Stapler-

“Eliminate Death tax. This is triple taxation. You are taxed when you earn your money, you are taxed on your purchases, then you are taxed when you turn those purchased items over to your heirs.”

No. You’ve been duped. It doesn’t even apply unless you’ve got an estate worth almost $3M and it is a tax on the transfer of that wealth. Every time money is transfered, it is taxed unless a specific exemption applies. That is how the tax code works. Why should the government subsidize Paris Hilton by giving her an exemption?

Stop spreading misinformation. This one in particular is especially annoying.

Posted by: Kevin23 at November 14, 2006 12:20 PM
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