A Laundry List for the Democratic Congress
Now that the Democrats have come to power (even despite the Republican vote-fraud procedures), it looks like there is finally an opportunity to put our country back on track. Here are my ideas of what the Democrats should do:
-- Investigate Bush's corrupt activities for the past six years. From the CIA torture camps, to the Haliburton contracts, to the lies about Iraq, Bush (and company) should have to face the music. Whether the Bushites are fired or simply resign is of no concern, so long as Bush's crooked cadre gets their walking papers.
-- Review the legality and constitutionality of the Patriot Act. Personally, I don't see what's so "patriotic" about a set of laws that allow the government to open mail, tap phone lines, and deny due-process to American citizens.
-- Revise the Bankruptcy laws. While it can be argued that the old bankruptcy laws were too lenient, few Americans would think it fair that an elderly widow should lose her home after her husband dies of a long illness and leaves high medical bills that cannot be paid. Some compromise law should be enacted instead that would retain protections for first-time filers but make it difficult to file a second time.
-- Reverse the tax cuts for the rich. Because Bush spent money like a drunken sailor for six years and gave great economic boons to the wealthiest Americans (at the expense of the middle class), it is only fair that the millionaires have to pay their dues. The huge, $10 trillion debt must be paid somehow, and the mega-millionaires have the money required to pay.
-- Reverse the "outsourcing" trend. Corporations should pay stiff fines for sending American jobs overseas. The fines should be so high that it should offset any possible savings that greedy CEOs could glean from sending jobs to India and Costa Rica.
-- Extend the hybrid tax credits indefinitely and penalize gas guzzlers. Any vehicle (hybrid, diesel, or otherwise) that can boast 40 MPG highway should receive an incremental tax credit based on the amount over 40 MPG the car achieves. Likewise, any vehicle that gets less than 25 MPG highway should pay stiff yearly fees. The Bush tax credit for expensive guzzlers (currently $25,000 for a Hummer H2) should be immediately abolished. Car companies failing to employ hybrid or clean-diesel technology in a significant way (10% of vehicles produced) should also pay a stiff penalty.
-- Protections for gay citizens: We need a federal law that supersedes all of the anti-gay constitutional amendments. For gay couples, there should be a nationally recognized Civil Union law that provides a set of rights and responsibilities that parallels heterosexual marriage. States that have enacted anti-gay laws would have those previous decrees nullified. Gay couples already legally married would have their marriage converted to a civil union at no cost.
-- We need to vacate Iraq: We need to set up an undisclosed time-table that would ensure an orderly, phased withdrawal over a 6-18 month period.
-- Fix Social Security, but not through privatization. I don't have any advice on how to do it, but it needs to be done so that people my age won't be handed IOUs at age 65 instead of cash.
-- Anti-corruption Initiative: There should be a law that states that no president, senator, or representative and vote on or sign any piece of legislation that involves any corporation that he/she owns stock in or was ever employed by.
-- Green Grants: There should be a fund that would accelerate research into solar and wind power that could augment electricity production in cities with insufficient reserve power. This would also have the net effect of reducing coal use during non-peak hours.
-- Locate and deport illegal aliens. While this would be a tremendous undertaking, it must be done. Illegal aliens bring crime, disease, and poverty to our country while providing nothing but cheap unskilled labor for mega-corporations. Illegal aliens already put a tremendous strain on ER wards in hospitals across the United States (and we, the taxpayers, pick up the tab). Even if it takes ten years, the illegal aliens must either apply for citizenship through the appropriate means or go back to their country of origin. Companies found to be employing illegal aliens should face stiff civil and criminal consequences.
If these things were accomplished, the Democrats will hold on to power for the foreseeable future!