1. A strategy for Iraq, set in clear terms…
2. Securing ports and borders…
3. Initiatives to support the development of green technology. Governmental power (grants, tax breaks, etc.) should be used to support a growing industry that will not only protect us from the decimation of the environment but give Americans a new, lucrative market to dominate….
4. Universal health care.
5. Strengthening civil liberties protections.
6. Election reform. Uniform voting requirements, equitable distribution of equipment.
7. Investigation of Big Oil’s windfall profits and the energy futures markets.
8. The restoration of Congress’ ability to appoint Independent Counsels to investigate government abuse.
9. A non-partisan, independent Ethics Committee to oversee the Legislative branch.
10. Either endorse the Senate immigration bill, or unveil another plan. My own personal idea (in addition to the “pay a fine, wait in line” proposal) is to grant citizenship to those who enlist in the armed forces, become fire fighters or police officers, work for the government, or join the Peace Corps and remain in those positions for five years.
1.Fix education. Increase teachers’ salaries three or four times over to attract more highly qualified teachers, but give schools the ability (and duty) to fire poor teachers based on student performance. Make the Right more willing to go for the large spending increase by tossing them a well-regulated voucher program. (For more details, read The 2% Solution.)
2. Confront tyranny in the world. Do it more calmly, consistently and fairly than the President and Republican party have done — with a much wider range of appropriate actions in between empty words and bazookas. And without giving China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia or anyone else a free pass. We need a constant, reasonable system of carrots and sticks.
3. Enhance veterans’ benefits.
4. Reform Congressional internal rules. The majority leader should not have veto power over any bill. But currently, he all but does, because even if a committee votes a bill to the floor, the majority leader can pocket-veto it by refusing to schedule a vote.
5. Give US labor laws sway over all US territories. You can argue for raising the minimum wage or lowering it — you can argue for regulating or deregulating — but whatever they are, our federal laws to protect workers must apply everywhere. Whatever rules we enforce in Maryland should be in effect on the Mariana Islands too.
6. Reform the prison system. Find new models and methods. Cut recidivism, prison abuse, prison gang/drug activity and other atrociously common problems.
7. Gay rights. I think Democrats need to embrace and champion them. Marriage, adoption, workplace rights, and the right not to face discrimination. The hard core of anti-gay voters aren’t going to vote Democratic anyway, and it’s just the right thing to do.
8. End slavery worldwide, including sex-slavery, debt-bondage, etc.
9. Simplify the tax code. I’m not married to any single plan. (But for a good look at the problem, read Perfectly Legal.)