Democrats & Liberals Archives

First 100 Hours

Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker-to-be, is eager to hit the ground running in the new Congress to produce legislation that helps the typical American, not merely the rich and the elite. This is why she has listed her 6 top priorities that she wants to get enacted during the first 100 hours of legislative activity.

Here are her priorities, the priorities of Democrats, the priorities of typical Americans across the land:

  1. Toughen House Ethics Rules - Instead of allowing lobbyists for Big Business to write the laws that Congress passes, the new rules should assure that legislators write the rules after considering inputs from all sorts of people

  2. Raise Minimum Wage - The first order of legislative business for Democrats is to take care of those on the bottom wrung. Democrats will pass legislation to increase the wages of those who have no negotiation power. I predict, that as usual, Republicans will take the part of business, though I truly believe that increasing the minimum wage will not hurt business at all

  3. Enact 9/11 Commission Recommendations - Republicans were so busy fighting the "war on terror," they forgot about the Commission recommendations. Democrats will fill this hole. This is important to making all Americans feel secure in their own land

  4. Cut Student Loan Interest Rates in Half - Rich people have no trouble going to College. Poor people have a tough time. The least we can do is supply them with cheaper loans. We do this for business often. It's time to help American students

  5. Broaden Federally-Supported Stem Cell Research - This will help all Americans, since disease affects all of us the same way

  6. Negotiate for Lower Medicare Drug Prices - The most outrageous piece of Republican legislation is the Medicare Drug Bill that stated that our government was not permitted to negotiate for cheaper drug prices. Instead of worrying about pharmaceutical companies, Democrats want to help all senior citizens pay less for drugs
Every single one of these items is concerned with ordinary Americans. If they pass during the first 100 hours, everybody will live in a better America.

This is the nature of the Democratic Agenda: We help ALL Americans, not merely Big Business and the powerful.

Posted by Paul Siegel at November 18, 2006 3:45 PM
Comments
Comment #195603

Paul good article. All great things for Democrats to be focused on. Here is an article about what is being discussed concerning ethics reform. I hope they’ll be making them a whole lot more stringent — and accordingly, I hope that liberals will begin applying a bit of needed pressure to ensure this is done effectively, rather than by half measures.
The American people have spoken, and now they want to see some real reform after voting with our party — therefore, none of us should stand idly by if our leadership begins to duplicate the GOP’s broken “Contract with America”, you know?

Posted by: Adrienne at November 18, 2006 7:27 PM
Comment #195609

Paul

2. Raise Minimum Wage.
This is a feel good do nothing bill, pandering at it’s best. Study after study have shown that the only ones hurt by putting an artificial minimum on wages are the people the Dems say they care about. The only ones that benfit are the unions and the politicians.

Posted by: Keith at November 18, 2006 8:23 PM
Comment #195610

Paul

2.Broaden Federally-Supported Stem Cell Research

You do realize that the Bush administration is spending more than any other on this research? You will also find that the majority of conservatives in the country don’t have a problem with stem cell research. What they have is a problem with embryonic stem cell research. Also there is the question of whether the federal government should be paying for this anyway.

Posted by: Keith at November 18, 2006 8:26 PM
Comment #195611

Kieth: You are just wrong. Study after study shows that raising the min. wage helps not only workers at the bottom but helps workers at all levels by raising the floor. It even helps business some. People with a little more money spend it. It is shameful for people working full time to be below the poverty level. Many of those at the bottom are trying to support kids. This is a family value. I thought you guys on the right supported family values or is that just more BS.

Posted by: BillS at November 18, 2006 8:53 PM
Comment #195618

Raising minimum wages. I always thought the purpose of minimum wage was a starting point, not a wage to raise a family on. I worked a few minimum wage jobs in my time and I always looked for a real job making better money I didn’t stay on minimum wage.
Stem cell research. I agree with Keith. The only problem is embrionic stem cell research. Those have shown no promiss to date
The rest of the stuff I think it’s going to take more than the first 100 hrs. or even days.

Posted by: KAP at November 18, 2006 9:47 PM
Comment #195624

Paul

I discussed this from the red side already. Suffice to say that I am somewhat less sanguine than you are.

Posted by: Jack at November 18, 2006 10:35 PM
Comment #195628

Bills

Raising the Minimum Wage Hurts Vulnerable Workers’ Job Prospects Without Reducing Poverty

Distribution and Employment Impacts of Raising the Minimum Wage

The other issue is that minimum wage was never supposed to be the wage that somebody should make to support a family. If you have a family and are making minimum wage you have some serious problems.

Where does it stop, who is making up the arbitrary minimum? And if you are going to guarantee someone a “living” wage for doing nothing other than being born, where is the incentive to better yourself.

Anyone who is on a job for more than 90 days and is still making minimum wage, should be looking for something else. If not they have no one to blame but themselves.

Posted by: Keith at November 18, 2006 11:47 PM
Comment #195635

Kieth: The Heritage Foundation is NOT an unbiased source. They start with a position and fix their findings around it. Your second source was mixed in their findings and dealt moastly with teen unemploment rates.even there they showed a very small decrease. Furthur,there has benn no great job loses in the 23 states that have raised the minimum wage independantly from the federal government.It may not be part of your experience but there are many people stuck in minimum wage jobs. A good percentage are single mothers with few options. Even people working low wage jobs also benefit from a raise in the minimum as it raises the floor.You mentioned “a living wage just for being born”. That is not what we are discussing. The minimum wage even after the increase will not be a living wage in many regions and niether is for “being born”. They are for working.If you want to see poor people,get on the early bus.
As to who sets the wage,good question. Personally I would prefer closer to ten bucks. If the minimum had been adjusted for inflation it would be higher than that.I hope the new law includes just such a provision.After all,congress has managed to give themselves four raises since the last time they raised the minimum.
I am with you about the government should not be the arbitrator of wages. Hopefully the new congress will start to take the handcuffs off the labor movement and we can do it ourselves.

Posted by: BillS at November 19, 2006 2:31 AM
Comment #195640

“Hundreds of Economists Say:
Raise the Minimum Wage”

http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/minwagestmt2006

“increasing federal and state minimum wages, with annual cost-of-living adjustments for inflation, “can significantly improve the lives of low-income workers and their families, without the adverse effects that critics have claimed.””

Posted by: KansasDem at November 19, 2006 3:04 AM
Comment #195641

Kieth,Jack et al: Take a look at the Economic Policy Institute for more info on minimum wage increases and a breakdown on who they effect. Mostly women,mostly adults and mostly people providing more than half of their families incomes. The EIC is great but not enough. You will also find a statement there from 650 economist,six of them Nobel Lauretes,calling for the proposed increase and refuteing the current set of arguments against it. Hard work should be rewarded,correct?

Posted by: BillS at November 19, 2006 3:10 AM
Comment #195642

Hi Kansas; Thanks for the link. I hope they read it. Its like talking to a wall sometimes ,isn’t it. I guess rewarding hard work isn’t a coservative value anymore.sad

Posted by: BillS at November 19, 2006 3:18 AM
Comment #195645

Paul,

Please explain to me how Pelosi proposes to accomplish task the first when she puts up one of the most corrupt politicians in DC, a man who declined a $50,000 dollar bribe “until we work together more” as Majority Leader. Explain to me how she will accomplish this when she puts up one of only 6 judges removed from office in the history of the nation, a man who solicited bribes from gangs, a man she herself voted to impeach, as head of the Intelligence committee. She’s not “draining the swamp,” she’s building a canal to let more scum in.

Posted by: 1LT B at November 19, 2006 3:52 AM
Comment #195647

Paul:

Keith mentioned this already, but it deserves mentioning again. Republicans support stem cell research, but not EMBRYONIC stem cell research. There is a huge difference, and those who ignore the difference often do so simply to further their cause.

The media talks often about how Bush etc are not in favor of stem cell research. They have an agenda to make it appear that Reps are callous sorts who don’t care about cures for nasty diseases.

The real truth is that Embryonic stem cells, which do have great potential to cure, have yet to do so, while other stem cells are already curing diseases. There exists the ability to harvest stem cells from umbilical cord blood or from adults, and these stem cells are the true proven stars.

Yet some are not satisfied until they get their way in 100% of the area. They are not looking for alternatives (yes, there now exists a way to get embryonic stem cells without killing off a potential life). These are the ways that researchers should be looking to utilize, instead of focusing on the ONE area that has legitimate moral conflict.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at November 19, 2006 8:10 AM
Comment #195650

100 hours. 100 days. We’re talking about a group of people that can barely decide what to have for lunch and Pelosi is going to change the country in the first 100 hours? Please. I’ll bet the drapes don’t get changed in the Dems new offices in the first 100 hours.

Minimum wage: Will hurt small business - not big businesses. Hope you like chain pizza parlors and not the mom and pop type. Hope you use the Jiffy Lube and not the local mechanic. That’s the choice you’ll have - no local, small business can just raise everyone’s wage willy-nilly. The wage increase will also increase the cost of worker’s compensation premiums, the employer’s social security contribution and the increased cost of doing business will have to be passed on to the customer. You. Oh, and the guys you just gave a higher “living” wage to. What a deal.

Stem Cell Research: Everything EXCEPT embryonic is ok - just how difficult is that to understand?

Medicare RX prices: Buy the same drugs made in America by American companies that are sold in Canada and Mexico. The drug companies sell these drugs at drastically reduced prices to other countries - so why are we penalized? Because the Feds make it VERY expensive to even get a drug approved, much less developed. They can sell drugs in Canada and Mexico without the ridiculously complicated FDA approval process that they go through here.

House ethics: an oxymoron no matter who’s in charge. “how can you tell if a politician is lying? lips are moving.” Take money (contributions) out of the equation and you might get somewhere with this one.

Posted by: Ilsa at November 19, 2006 9:15 AM
Comment #195659

Two problems:

1.) Raise Minimum Wage:(I think I’ll save this in Word so I can cut and paste instead of having to type it over and over and over, ad infinitum) A minimum wage job is for teenagers who want to make some spending money on the weekends or holidays or summer. It is there to train new entries into the job market when they are learning to adjust to the daily grind. IT IS NOT…repeat…NOT a “living wage”. If all you are qualified to do is minimum wage jobs, then you need to get a government grant (if you work in a minimum wage job, you will be eligible for these) and go to a community college and learn a trade.
Once again, minimum wage jobs are not meant to raise a family on. Period.

2.)Broaden Federally-Supported Stem Cell Research: I have commented on this here and I have not changed my mind. Government DOES NOT need to fund ANY stem cell research for the drug companies.

Answer the following questions:

Q) Will the Government (we the people) end up owning any patents as a result of this research or will the drug companies own them?

Q) Will my money (taxes) be refunded from the profits of these new drugs or will the drug companies stuff the cash in their pockets and give the American taxpayer the middle finger?

Q) With the big drug companies already ass-raping us with the high price of medicine, don’t they have their OWN MONEY for research?

Q) Do you believe in corporate welfare for big business?

I would really like to see “miracle” drugs come from stem cell research, but I also believe that it should be the drug companies that pony up the bucks for experimentation…not us.

Posted by: Jim T at November 19, 2006 10:38 AM
Comment #195660

Ilsa…Just how difficult is this to understand. The reps lost… the reason is the people that voted want the very things that you spoke of in your post. And if my party can,t do better with ethics then you can be sure I will be the first in line to vote them out!

Posted by: Jeff at November 19, 2006 10:38 AM
Comment #195672


Is anyone from Kansas? Is it true that the minimum wage in Kansas is $2.65 per hour?

Posted by: jlw at November 19, 2006 11:42 AM
Comment #195676

That list is OK, but hopefully Congress will accomplish more that that. There are many other issues of equal or greater importance.

Here’s a more comprehensive list of what Congress needs to address:

  • (01) War in Iraq

  • (02) Campaign Finance Reform

  • (03) Election Reform

  • (04) Energy Vulnerability

  • (05) $8.6 trillion National Debt

  • (06) Nation-Wide Debt

  • (07) Social Security

  • (08) Medicare

  • (09) Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

  • (10) The Federal Reserve (excessive money-printing)

  • (11) Dysfunctional and Corrupt Legal System

  • (12) Public Education

  • (13) Illegal Immigration

  • (14) Healthcare

  • (15) Tax Reform

  • (16) Property Taxes

  • (17) Eminent Domain Abuse

  • (18) Government Waste and Corruption

Some of these will be tough and take a while to solve, but need serious action as soon as possible.

Many of these things can be enacted now.

But, all of it is most likely futile if Congress still refuses to take real steps to create more transparency, accountability, stop peddling influence, enact campaign finance reform, and hold violators accountable.

As long as government continues to be FOR-SALE, a few that abuse vast amounts of money and property will continue to control government and too many bought-and-paid-for, look-the-other-way incumbent politicians that infest Congress.

So, let’s see what (if anything of real substance) this Do-Nothing Congress can adequately address in the next two years?

Some of these problems should be no-brainers, of which, even the likes of Congress should still be able to accomplish.

How about a ONE-PURPOSE-PER-BILL amendment?

And, what’s up with the Rep. William Jefferson thing? Why did Congress protect Jefferson? How many years does it take to investigate a bribery? Congress should be calling for his resignation. It’s difficult to take Congress seriously when it continues to protect those that have been caught red-handed with their hands in the cookie jar.

Just based on track-record, there’s not much reason to think this Congress is suddenly, truly, ready and willing to address the nation’s pressing problems. After all, about 90% of incumbents are still there, and government is still FOR-SALE, and carries the water for their big money donors.

Voters want to see some results.
If Democrats fail to realize it, they may have a short-lived time as majority if they concentrate on “feel good” and “symbolic” things and continue to ignore the MOST pressing problems facing the nation.

Posted by: d.a.n at November 19, 2006 11:50 AM
Comment #195679

On minimum wage, when it increases does this not create a high benchmark for Unions? They use the minimum wage as a way to point at what unskilled workers make to negotiate higher benchmarks for their members. Is there not some further economic impact there, or are Union members fairly compensated for their work?

Posted by: Edge at November 19, 2006 12:24 PM
Comment #195683

“Is anyone from Kansas? Is it true that the minimum wage in Kansas is $2.65 per hour?”

jlw,

Yes and yes. We’re the big red splotch in the middle of this map:

http://www.dol.gov/esa/minwage/america.htm

Another worthwhile bit of info is that most area maufacturing companies have shifted an ever greater number of factory jobs to temp positions with ZERO benefits. My oldest son, who also farms, has experienced this. Being laid off, then being offered a position thru a temp agency that puts you back to work for the same company with NO bennies.

My daughter manages several convenience stores for a large chain and they’ve actually decreased their hiring pay because, well, they can, there are lots of job applicants. My daughters bonuses have increased considerably though.

EPI addresses that phenomenon at some length.

Gross domestic income: profit growth swamps labor income
http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/webfeatures_snapshots_20060330

More than one half of my daughters part time employees are young school teachers that need the additional income just to make ends meet. That kind of trumps the BS argument about educating yourself out of an unjust and unfair economy doesn’t it?

Posted by: KansasDem at November 19, 2006 12:52 PM
Comment #195684

“How about a ONE-PURPOSE-PER-BILL amendment?”

d.a.n.,

That’s one that you’d think would have overwhelming bipartisan support. The only reason I can think of for not supporting that is that it would force too many well fed snouts out of the trough.

Posted by: KansasDem at November 19, 2006 1:00 PM
Comment #195685


The percentage of American workers who are in a union is 13.9% and declining each year. The construction trades unions are being attacked by unscrupulous contractors who are violating U.S. immigration laws to enhance their profits at the expense of American Workers. The difference between what union and non union contractors charge for labor is a insignificant number. Basically, they charge the same for labor.

Posted by: jlw at November 19, 2006 1:10 PM
Comment #195688

“Its like talking to a wall sometimes ,isn’t it. I guess rewarding hard work isn’t a coservative value anymore.”

BillS,

I linked to an article by Jared Bernstein of the EPI in the green column where Bernstein explains the two different economic philosophies, #1 being the current Bush & co. philosophy of a YOYO economy (YOYO being “your on your own”), and #2 being WITT or “we’re in this together”. He goes into this in much greater detail in many of his articles at EPI.

There has in fact been a movement from the right since Reagan’s “trickle down economy” began in the 80’s to “Starve the Beast”, or basically bankrupt the US Treasury so it will be impossible for the government to maintain any social safety net whatsoever. That is one of the essential building blocks of creating a Dominionist Theocracy in the US.

You can read much more here:
Economics from the Religious Right
http://www.theocracywatch.org/rr_economics.htm

Posted by: KansasDem at November 19, 2006 1:28 PM
Comment #195719

Jim T
As to min. wage jobs being for teenagers. The demograpics just do not bear this out. Most min.wage earners are adults and a good percentage are providing over half their families support. These are facts. If you chose to deal with them or not is irrelavent. Saying otherwise over and over again does not change them. Look it up in the links provided by Kansas Dem. You may disagree with the conclusions of EPI but their research is undisputable without extreme Orwellian doublethink.

Posted by: BillS at November 19, 2006 5:50 PM
Comment #195729

jlw
FYI: Immigrants ,when given a chance, will join trade unions. My union the Carpenters, spends lots of time and money organizing. The organizers tell me that immigrants are actually easier to organize than natives. Perhaps is is because they have little to lose or because they are grateful for the chance. In Mexico when they try it the police show up and shoot people. Also they are smart enough to jump at the chance to make more money for the same work.My point is do not blame them. There is a bill before congress to make easier to organize. If we can get it through we can change much for the better. Hrad to imagine Bushco ever signing it but he will not be there much longer.

Posted by: BillS at November 19, 2006 6:48 PM
Comment #195738
KansasDem wrote: The only reason I can think of for not supporting that [One-Purpose-Per-BILL] is that it would force too many well fed snouts out of the trough.

Yep.
Lot’s of no-brainers.
Unfortunately, voters are not really paying close attention (yet).
But they will.
Their education is in the pipeline.
Too bad is has to be the hard way.
Too bad it will be too late.

Posted by: d.a.n at November 19, 2006 7:50 PM
Comment #195764

“Lot’s of no-brainers.
Unfortunately, voters are not really paying close attention (yet).”

d.a.n.,

It’s also far beyond sad that such a low percentage of Americans bother to even vote. It’s somewhat of an example of just how many people in America are “just along for the ride”.

This is not just a “political” problem. Many of the problems we’re facing involve everyone. McCain says we need to increase troop levels in Iraq. True! It’s about damn time a Republican said so!

Just try to reinstate the draft and see what happens to your political career. Well, unless your name is Dingell.

We all want “feel good NOW solutions”. That’s well represented in your personal debt figures. We’ve become an “I want what I want when I want it” society. There is far too little compassion and empathy towards our fellows.

And those in charge are too busy bumping snouts to notice what’s going on around them. That’s not limited just to politicians. Corporate America is right in line. And we (collectively) must not give a sh*t because throughout the USA only 40% to 60% of Americans voted in the mid-terms.

I guess we have become a “sex in the city” nation. We’re more concerned with “Tom-Kat” and “PS-3/60 gig” than the future of America.

Posted by: KansasDem at November 19, 2006 9:29 PM
Comment #195813

Bills

Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers: 2005

From the wall

Posted by: Keith at November 20, 2006 1:20 AM
Comment #195847
KansasDem wrote: We all want “feel good NOW solutions”. That’s well represented in your personal debt figures. We’ve become an “I want what I want when I want it” society. There is far too little compassion and empathy towards our fellows.

KansasDem,

You are absolutely correct about the number of voters that don’t vote. Of the 200 million eligible U.S. voters, only about 59% voted in the 2004 election.

Yes, symbolic, feel good solutions are designed to fool the voting public, and too many lack the conscience and education to do what is right for their fellow citizens, and themselves too. If voters truly understood the real root of the problem, they would understand the correct steps needed to arrive at a solution. Unfortunately, the eventual motivation to become more responsible can only come the hard way. The only hope to avert the hard lesson is from better education.

And, I fear that the nation, on the whole, lacks the moral fibre to see through the feel-good symbolism, and lacks the motivation to learn, research, and investigate government and issues. Fortunately, polls show 70% of Americans believe the nation is on the wrong track. Unfortunately, voters are still too lazy to take action to resolve it, and too ignorant to know what that action should be. That is not said with malice, but concern, because (until a few years ago, at about age 46) I used to be one of those lazy and ignorant that blindly pulled the paRty-lever and wallowed in the circular, distracting, petty partisan warfare). And I’m not a complete idiot, so that demonstrates how powerfully effective and seductive the partisan warfare is, and why politicians love to fuel it; because it is powerfully effective at dividing the voters so that a majority can never exist to oust incumbent politicians. This is a basic flaw of our winner-take-all election system (which could be improved with an “Approval” voting system).

Regarding Pelosi’s list, some of it appears to be more symbolic than substantive. There are equally or more important issues facing the nation. Minimum wage is not big of an issue (not really), because past history has show it is NEITHER that harmful or helpful (slightly more helpful). Therefore, It’s a good thing to do, but there are more important things that could be done that would help everyone more.

On Pelosi’s list above, the MOST important thing is correctly number one on the list:

  • [1] Toughen House Ethics Rules

Why?

Because most (if not all) of everything else is futile without that one, first, fundamental step.

If Congress is truly serious (which is extremely doubtful, since 90% of incumbents still retained their cu$hy, coveted seats), they will pass serious reforms for the following:

  • (1) Campaign Finance Reform; government should NOT be FOR-SALE.

  • (2) End Gerrymandering; redrawing is so blatantly fraudulent, it is amazing that it is tolerated at all.

  • (3) ONE-PURPOSE-PER-BILL. The light of day is the best disinfectant for this system of graft, corporate warfare, bribes, fraud, and waste.

  • (4) Move faster to eliminate those guilty of bribery, fraud, and other crimes (e.g. 9 term Representitive William Jefferson (D-LA-1)). How many years does it take? What’s up with the FBI? They have it on video taking a $100K bribe, and later found $90K of it hidden in his freezer wrapped in foil in $10K bundles, and that was in August of 2005 ! ? ! Perhaps crooks like this should also forfeit their tax-payer funded pensions too? But, also, what is up with the voters that re-elected Jefferson ? ! ? This is a perfect example of lazy and/or ignorant voters. Voters keep re-electing irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for, corrupt crooks, and then wonder why government is corrupt ! ? ! This is ample proof that the problem is not just politicians. It is also voters that keep re-electing them.
  • (5) Reduce the ridiculous, bloated, size of government. The size of government is ABSOLUTELY ridiculous! It has grown by hundreds of thousands in the past few years. Bloated government is like a cancer, consuming from within. The waste is mind boggling. Yet, government continues to grow and consume and waste and grow and consume and waste and grow to nightmare proporations. The total federal debt ($22 trillion) is 164% of the $13.4 trillion GDP (which has NEVER been larger; ever). More people are employed in government than all manufacturing. And much of it is bureaucratic, dead-weight.

Voters will learn … the smart, less painful way, or the hard, painful way. But they will learn, and their lesson is already in the pipeline. Ignorant_Voters = Bad_Politicians = Bad_Government. In a voting nation, an educated electorate is paramount. Yet, we are failing in the area of education. And, to make it worse, the government refuses to enforce existing laws. It enforces the laws selectively. Government is intentionally importing, annually, millions of impoverished and less educated, which is also costing the U.S. tax payers over $70 billion per year in net losses (due to burdens on schools, hospitals, ERs, CDC, law enforcement, prisons, border patrol, welfare, Medicaid, insurance, unemployment, and voting systems, etc.).

And year 2007 is already shaping up to be a recession year, because this so-called rosy economy has been propped up by massive borrowing, ($22 trillion) debt, sending, and money-printing, and massive ($20 trillion) of personal debt. That could not last forever.

Posted by: d.a.n at November 20, 2006 10:36 AM
Comment #195891

Kansas:
I finally had time to read the link you provided about theocracy. No surprise it is out of Texas. Couldn’t we like just give Texas to the Palistinians and solve two problems at once?

Posted by: BillS at November 20, 2006 2:23 PM
Comment #195964

Its great that Pelosi has a plan and hopefully knows how to execute it. The democrats are in it for the poor people or the collar worker.Unlike the Republicans who want to fulfill the needs of businesses and corporations. Since 1994 the Republicans have been in power it good idea for change and to reap the benefits that come from it. Hopefully the change is for the better and Pelosi can lead in the revolution.

Posted by: Angiet at November 20, 2006 11:06 PM
Comment #196106

Maybe I just missed it in the binge drinking I and my friends engaged in after the elections, but what I haven’t heard from the Democrats is a committment to restore fiscal sanity. The national debt needs to be addressed, and I hope the Democrats can rise to the occasion. I consider movement on this front a national priority.

Posted by: Trent at November 21, 2006 7:41 PM
Post a comment