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November 10, 2006

Question of the Day

What single piece of legislation would you most like to see enacted? I'll go with Employee Free Choice Act, a bill restoring the right to organize, which is current de facto absent from the polity. It institutes card check, provides new avenues for mediation, and heavily stiffens penalties for illegal unionbusting. As I think all progressive legislation flows from a vibrant union movement, such a bill looks like the first step towards a restoration of progressive governance from which my other policy priorities could be achieved.


November 10, 2006 | Permalink


Universal health care, of course.

But a real winner would be, I think, preventing off shore squirreling away of corporate profits. If we got hold of that money -- call it the FAIR TAX ACT -- I imagine we might be able to balance the budget even without undoing Bush's Paris Hilton Tax cuts.

Posted by: Karl the GM | Nov 10, 2006 2:45:23 PM

That would be a good choice, but amended to repeal the stupid definition of 'supervisor' that the Bu$hCo NLRB has imposed (and any other assorted inanitities they've brought to the fore since 2001), forcing many real 'workers' to give up their representation.

And just why is it that 'supervisors' cannot join the union of the workers? (And don't give me any of the that 'management is supposed to represent the owners' bullshit either.

I'd go even further, and mandate union representation on the the Board of Directors, as Germany does.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Nov 10, 2006 2:45:59 PM

I've got three choices.

  • The "Fix the 2003 Medicare Drug Benefit Act".
  • The "Torture Prohibition, Only This Time We Mean It Act"
  • The "No Permanent Bases In Iraq Act"

I can't decide which to go with.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | Nov 10, 2006 2:49:49 PM

So many choices.... however, one that would enable all the rest is the restoration of the Fairness Doctrine in the media.

Posted by: Steph | Nov 10, 2006 2:53:21 PM

If we're talking about means to our ends, there's a lot to be said for full representation of DC in the House and Senate.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Nov 10, 2006 3:01:22 PM

Fairness Doctrine is good, but I really don't think there is the audience on the left that there is on the right. I could be wrong.

Election reform or Ezra right to organize are basic. I would like fully open borders.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Nov 10, 2006 3:03:38 PM

I'm impressed by the number of cosponsors the Employee Free Choice Act got. Even a few Republicans from high-union-density areas signed on I'll agree with Ezra and go with that one, since it has a lot of support already organized behind it.

Posted by: Chris | Nov 10, 2006 3:07:27 PM

I would like to see federal funding for elections for all candidates who can get some minimum number of small contributions, sort of how they do it in Arizona.

What was the total amount spent on this election? 4 billion or so? That is one tax break for the oil industry. The rest would be gravy.

Posted by: tomboy | Nov 10, 2006 3:08:08 PM

I would like to see the "No Foreign Government Lobbying Allowed Act" and the "Positive Voter ID Act".

Posted by: Fred Jones | Nov 10, 2006 3:08:43 PM

I agree with Jim from Portland that the supervisor problem needs to be fixed for NLRB elections. One simple solution would be to allow corporations to exempt their best paid employees-- whether that should be 10% or 15% or 20% I don't know.

Also, one of the problems with the union movement is that people feel it should be a way to lift poorly paid workers out of poverty but the laws don't work to make that happen. It would be popular, I think, to have special rules for employees making less than twice minimum wage or not receiving health benefits. The government could take the position that we should simply assume that poorly paid workers need a union and make it easier for them to bring a union in.

Also, the Canadian rules that prohibit corporations from taking an active role in union elections should apply here as well. The decision to organize should be entirely up to employees and there's no role for mgmt. It's a conflict of interest to allow an entity with authority over employees to weigh in on how they should bargain with that entity.

Moving health insurance from employers to the gov't might actually have a beneficial effect on organizing unions. The fear of losing health benefits is a powerful incentive for not going on strike. The Dems might want to announce that single payer should be the ultimate goal, but we want to make the change gradually. Making it easier for individual states to experiment with various single payer plans is a good first step.

Posted by: withrow | Nov 10, 2006 3:13:28 PM

In addition to those mentioned, repeal of (most of) the tax cuts, shoring up Social Security, immigration reform.

Never did figure out why a card check program shouldn't also require a secret ballot. They aren't mutually exclusive.

I'll support Fred's ID act if he'll support measures to ensure that this isn't just a new poll tax. That would include making them free, making them easy to get, making them available at places as numerous as supermarkets, paying for the government to go to the abode of every homebound person without an ID who requests one, and so on. But I think the Republican party will lose interest in that kind of arrangement, because it won't give them any electoral advantage by disenfranchising the poor and disabled.

Posted by: Sanpete | Nov 10, 2006 3:28:21 PM

I like all of the above.

But for a very simple change in the law that could have profound effects:

REPEAL the one-time limitation on FEEL student loan consolidation, and let interest rates be CAPPED at the weighted average of rates for loans being consolidated. The only reason for the existing rule is to appease Sallie Mae, the chief patron of John Boehner.

As college cost growth keeps outpacing the rate of inflation and available federal aid, those just entering the work force arrive as indentured servants. Under such strain, home loan affordability becomes increasingly elusive, despite the recent correction in the housing market.

Posted by: mimir | Nov 10, 2006 3:35:50 PM

Repeal of the Military Commissions Act.

Posted by: Thlayli | Nov 10, 2006 3:37:55 PM

"Repeal of the Military Commissions Act."

Even the heroes at Balkinisation don't expect, and aren't really asking, for that to happen.

Dem Policy Agenda

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Nov 10, 2006 4:12:01 PM


The Fairness Doctrine isn't contingent on the amount of audience on either the right or the left. It's an opportunity to educate the public about what the left is about instead of continually letting them frame us. The jettisoning of the FD, IMO, is why we don't have much audience any more and why the electorate has been so willing to swallow what Rove/Rush and Co. has fed them.

Posted by: Steph | Nov 10, 2006 4:17:29 PM

An excellent suggestion for a legislative priority. Of course, like anything else the Democratic majority passes, it'll get vetoed by Bush. That's why that bill should get tied to some big middle-class tax break.

Heighten the contradictions, and make the bozo use his veto pen.

Posted by: Brian | Nov 10, 2006 4:37:47 PM

Getting corporate money out of politics. Federal funding of elections, 'dividend protection' where no political money can be donated without affirmitive action by an actual person, not a corporationg or holding company/mutual fund etc.

Posted by: dan | Nov 10, 2006 5:13:45 PM

Raise the minimum wage!
"Remember that the USDA controls Food Stamps AND Agro Subsidies? Let's Even That Out A Little Bit" Act

As the child of a single mother who took advantage of student grants and loans, Head Start, Food Stamps, and even the dreaded Welfare (AIDC) to be able to finish college and get a *non*-minimum wage job, I like to think of myself as living proof that those programs really do work the way they're supposed to:

I skipped a grade and a half of school (ok, so it was Kindegarten/First), graduated from an elite university, and now I've got a white-collar job which pays well. Yay!

Posted by: ajw93 | Nov 10, 2006 5:38:04 PM

I think a minimum-wage hike is a done deal. 120 days from now.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Nov 10, 2006 5:45:36 PM

I'll support Fred's ID act if he'll support measures to ensure that this isn't just a new poll tax. That would include making them free, making them easy to get, making them available at places as numerous as supermarkets....

Yes, we have that now. It's called voter registration.

...paying for the government to go to the abode of every homebound person without an ID who requests one, and so on.

Now that is just rediculous. What you throw up as a barrier is the notion that the voting public is not required to put out any effort or forethought at all. There must be some compromise between validation of legitimate voters and ease of voting. I do agree, however, that it shouldn't cost anything.

Asking those who wish to vote to make small accomodations to insure fair elections is not a high price to pay. it is actually in their best interests...unless they really don't want a fair election, and in some instances, that may be the case.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Nov 10, 2006 6:11:05 PM

I would love to see legislation outlawing political parties in national elections, but publicly financed elections and runoff voting would suffice for now.

The other issue that would be good to address would be vote by mail for national elections. Sorry Fred, but I think the sanctity, as it were, of national elections outweighs states rights. If states want to disenfrachise their voters in state elections, fine, but the national elections effect everyone and individual states and counties don't have a right to fuck them up - whether it is dems or repubs doing it.

Finaly, I would love to see some sort of UHC. Even if it starts limited to children, it would be a move in the right direction.

Posted by: DuWayne | Nov 10, 2006 6:59:16 PM

A law guaranteeing exfelons in all states the right to vote. In addition to fairness concerns, we're talking about a ready-made army of liberal voters we could set loose.

Posted by: dr. zeuss | Nov 10, 2006 7:18:25 PM


Sorry that the Constitution doesn't follow your reasoning. There is really no such thing as "national elections" as you have described. The states elect who they wish to send to the House and Senate.

Your lack of respect for the constitution shows that you believe that the state lines are only for the convenience of delivering mail.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Nov 10, 2006 7:55:03 PM

I might add that if DuWayne was really all that worried about the sanctity of elections, he would also be interested in verifying legitimate voters. to minimize the fraud.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Nov 10, 2006 7:56:42 PM

"Repeal of the Military Commissions Act."

Even the heroes at Balkinisation don't expect, and aren't really asking, for that to happen.

Well, it's a candidate for the Democratic version of the "nuclear option", which would be to send a bill to the White House with the following note attached:

"Dear George,

You have two options: you can sign this, or you can get impeached. Take your pick.

Nancy and Harry"

Posted by: Thlayli | Nov 10, 2006 8:23:01 PM

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