2006 October 18 Wednesday
What Will A Democratic Majority In Congress Do?

Harold Meyerson of the Washington Post speculates on the legislative priorities should the Democrats win control of the US House or Senate.

In the House, the Democrats have made clear that there's a first tier of legislation they mean to bring to a vote almost immediately after the new Congress convenes. It includes raising the minimum wage, repealing the Medicare legislation that forbids the government from negotiating with drug companies for lower prices, replenishing student loan programs, funding stem cell research and implementing those recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission that have thus far languished.

Drug price controls would reduce the incentives and therefore the funding for new drug development. An increase in the minimum wage would reduce the illegal immigrant influx and also probably reduce the crime rate by pulling more black men into the labor market.

There's a limit on what a Democratic Congress could do on the spending side. The deficit is already too large and will likely grow in the next two years regardless of which party controls either house of Congress.

Cognizant that they will owe their victory in part to the public's revulsion at the way Congress does (or avoids) business, the Democrats also plan to revise House rules to enable the opposition party to introduce amendments and to sit on conference committees, from which Republicans have routinely excluded them since Tom DeLay became majority leader. They also will ban members from accepting gifts and paid trips from lobbyists.

By bringing such measures to a vote in the House, and conceivably in the Senate as well, the Democrats will be in the enviable position of doing both good and well: promoting long-overdue policy shifts that the public supports and putting their Republican colleagues in a pickle. Confronted with an up-or-down vote on raising the minimum wage or making medication for seniors more affordable, many Republicans will side with the Democrats.

The Democrats will make progress on the issue of ethics of Congress reps for maybe a few months before their majority position becomes just as attractive to them as a means to sell influence as it has become for too many Republicans. I remember Jim Wright and Dan Rostenkowski. I'm sure a younger generation of House Democrats are eager to follow in the footsteps of an earlier generation of Democratic Party office abusers.

Aside on stem cells: He's probably referring to human embryonic stem cells. The eventual future benefit of stem cell therapies is in the tens or hundreds of trillions of dollars. But total funding for all types of stem cell research (including the human adult stem cells that fundamentalist Christians do not object to) was only $604 million in 2005. It is a common and unfortunate mistake to assume the only issue worth debate about stem cell funding is how much to fund human embryonic stem cells. Yet many stem cell questions can get figured out using animal models. Also, research on adult human stem cells can yield valuable data and therapies. In my view people who want stem cell therapies should focus on the total amount allocated to all stem cell research rather than focus solely on human embryonic stem cells. Even human adult stem cell research is not funded well enough. Even animal model research is not funded well enough. Six hundred or so million dollars per year for all stem cell research is not enough.

Update: How much will the Democrats raise taxes.

A major domestic-policy plank in the Democrats' agenda is a rollback of the tax cuts, which has become the party's campaign mantra. But there is division within the party's ranks over how far they should go in attempting to repeal the across-the-board tax cuts that lowered tax rates for low-to-moderate income workers and doubled the child-tax credit that affects mostly middle-income families.

Rep. Charles B. Rangel of New York, who likely would become chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee if the Democrats win the House back, has said that he could not think of a single Bush tax cut that he supported and suggested that all of them should be repealed. But Mrs. Pelosi, who would be in line to become speaker, said last week that the tax-cut rollback would only affect people earning $250,000 a year or more.

I'm less worried about the prospect for a tax increase because Bush will likely veto tax increases. The far bigger worry? Immigration. Likely future House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has the most Open Borders voting record in the House of Representatives. She could block funding for border fence construction and internal immigration enforcement efforts. Plus, she could push the House toward support for the Senate's amnesty and guest worker legislation. Scary. If Pelosi gets placed into a position to influence US immigration policy it will be in large part because George W. Bush though he'd have a very easy time occupying Iraq.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 October 18 08:47 PM  Politics American Congress


Comments
Your Image Here said at October 18, 2006 11:09 PM:

Personally I see no reason for government ''to fund stem cell research'' AT ALL.
If there ''are miracles in them thar stem cells'' big pharma would be ''funding stem cell research'' TO THE HILT.
In fact they would cut a deal with China for fresh ''aborted tissue'' supplied packed in dry ice for ''stem cell research''. To China human beings are a cash crop...

Richard said at October 19, 2006 3:40 AM:

I don't see the minimum wage increase as stimulating a lot of native hires. rather the opposite. Some marginal employers go out of business due to the increase and their places are taken by under the table outfits hiring illegals.

Derek Copold said at October 19, 2006 7:08 AM:

Uh, have we forgotten the Senate Immigration Bill?

Randall Parker said at October 19, 2006 4:22 PM:

Your Image Here,

No, industry is not going to invest in a decade or two of non-patentable basic research to produce the knowledge needed to make some forms of stem cell therapies possible.

Richard,

The amount of hiring of illegals is far more than the amount of under-the-table hiring. Paying less than the minimum wage is rare. Why? Because it is easy to claim that one didn't know that Jose or Juan wasn't legal. After all, their papers looked legitimate as far as you could tell. But it is a lot harder to claim one didn't know one was paying under the table or paying less than minimum wage. The penalties for the latter activities are harder too.

Derek,

I was already planning to do an update to the post with something on immigration. Future House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is the biggest Open Borders supporter in the House.

crush41 said at October 19, 2006 10:35 PM:

Randall,

Do more to convince skeptics that an increase in the minimum wage will lead to a decrease in illegal immigrant hiring. California's minimum wage, among the highest in the nation, doesn't seem to support the assertion. Los Angeles (as far as I know) has the highest minimum wage of any municipality in the country.

John S Bolton said at October 19, 2006 10:45 PM:

What sort of investigations are we going to see, if there is a changeover of commitee leadership in the congress?
Will it be like the watergate hearings, with monstrously long-winded effrontery piling on for months, and then years?
There is real government business to be taken care of, and years of pseudo-moral posturing by liberal nihilists will be dreadfully demoralizing.
Can we be so heedless of the future as to do that to another generation?

Rob said at October 20, 2006 3:47 PM:

I'm not a democrat, but

The Bush never cut taxes: without reducing spending, the shortfall of a tax "cut" is made up by borrowing. The borrowed money and interest have to be paid back: Bush deferred taxes.

The Republicans' war in Iraq is not free: it's incomprehensively expensive. The democrats (or Republicans if there is a tremendous turnaround) will have to find some way to pay for it. Creating a mess for the other party to clean up is hardly a sign of responsible government.

The dems have an easy answer to anything the Republicans bring up: Why haven't you been working on that for the past six years? Like the border: I'm basically a single-issue voter: no unskilled immigrants. The democrats aren't wonderful on it, but the working class, blacks, early border hoppers, are natural enemies. Businesses that love cheap labor dominate the Republicans.

I live in Virginia, and Allen(R Sen incumbent) may well lose. VA with democrats as governor and one of the senators may be the beginning of the end of the Solid South. Though it may be driven by liberals moving to northern VA. Not long ago, Ollie North was almost our senator. There were a ton of people who thought he'd win the republican presidential nomination.

It may well be too late, but reasonable people should focus on gettin the most conservative dems we can.

Min wage: Seems reasonable that within the likely range, net neutral.

Drug Prices: The government basically sets the list price of scripts because medicare pays a percentage of list. Only uninsured people pay list price. Wal Mart pushes for lower prices. I want the government to as well. What, about a 1/3 of the excess we pay for drugs goes to R&D? Script drugs can be much cheaper before research MUST be cut. The pharma companies may well cut it before they cut excess stockholder and exec compensation though.

Pelosi: Maybe we can convince her that since Bush wants innumerable third world peasants, that she does not? The Republicans are so bad on it, I really don't see how Pelosi could be worse.

Randall Parker said at October 20, 2006 5:33 PM:

Rob,

Democrats are quite able to hold contradictory positions such as support for a much higher minimum wage and a huge influx of dumb immigrants. They can reconcile these contradictions with myths. For example, "if we just spend enough on education and punish enough Republican white males for racial oppression then the immigrants will do just as well as the whites". Or "the reason manual laborers make less is that capitalist oppressor white male businessmen oppress and exploit them - and not because manual labor has lower productivity and creates less valuable products than, say, engineering or accounting".

(Republicans do the same thing on other questions - I even did a FuturePundit post on brain scans that showed how both Republicans and Democrats shut down critical analytical thinking areas of their brains in order to defend their side)

Pelosi is worse. Your mistake is to think that compared to bad there isn't something close by and available that is worse. This is the tragedy of the American political parties at this point in time. We have a choice between really bad and and even worse.

I'm a single issue voter too. Stop the immigrant wave. We have more than enough people and need less dummies, not more. We need less criminals, not more. We need less people who resent the more successful, not more.

You can't be a single issue voter for immigration restriction and support Pelosi's rise to power. Democrat Donald Collins explains:

Frankly, this upcoming election scares me. My party’s House Leader, Nancy Pelosi, could well be the speaker.

Why is this dangerous? Well, my friend, Roy Beck, President of NumbersUSA, showed me his wonderful web page which rates the immigration record of every member of Congress. Being a computer klutz, I had Roy show me at a recent meeting here in Washington, DC, exactly how his system works by going to Pelosi. When he did, she came up last of the 435 House members on all the key immigration issues that need fixing.

Obviously, this lady, with whom I can agree on many other matters, does not understand the urgent threat to our security, democracy and our general welfare posed by illegal immigration now and continued high levels of legal immigration into the future.

Rob said at October 21, 2006 10:38 PM:

Randall, I do see your point. OTOH, Allen is a Senator, and can't affect Pelosi's Speakership. Hastert is probably going to be out, and who knows if a hardcore Bush loyalist will be the next one? The could Pelosi be worse? Throwaway line, and I regret it. OTOH, if Pelosi wants it, at least almost all Republicans will be against it. Bush wanting it obscures it, and team-playing almost let it happen. I used "unskilled as a euphamism. What we need is no low IQ immigration, and no immigrants whose children will regress to a mean lower than 100. So, minimum 130 IQ from Africa, 115 from the Mid-East(though I'd be much happier with zero Muslims)etc. Since that sort of differentiation won't be possible, no immigrants from the third world, would that be more palatable? But, we also have the problem that many "Europeans" and "Canadians" are not. In the long run, a million chinese peasants are probably better than a million African engineers. But, still better to talk unskilled, and close enough for government work.

From that vdare article:

"According to Americans for Better Immigration, the United States Senate has 12 Democrats with career grades of C or better on immigration reduction. Only 17 Republican Senators get C or better."

I'm too lazy to calculate percentages, short of it: Republican Senators are somewhat better. Allen has a B on immigration, but a D- on internal enforcement: internal enforcement is what we need to get alot of the more dangerous criminal aliens. And even with a wall, more criminal aliens(undocumented sometimes-workers)will be be visa overstayers. "no actions" in 4/9. Ain't a big issue for him, or he would have introduced legislation on those issues. The wall hardly matters, it may not happen, and if we don't enforce it, the Mexicans will just build stairs over it. Maybe even escalators. In 2008, we need better than D- on all of it.

Foreign wars: The dems are less likely to invade countries: Korean and Vietnam wars brought alot of refugees. Iraq will too. Iran, Syria... How many countries might the Republicans want to invade next, and how many Muslims, or if they do Venezuela, hispanics, might those wars bring? Thinking about that, maybe we do need to have a couple of wars in Asia again.

"Webb isn't a typical Democrat. His family hails from the rural southern part of the state. He's pro-gun ownership, and he takes a harder line on illegal immigration than many Senate Republicans." According to Bloomberg.com

from vdare "The Washington Post officially endorsed Miller. It didn't miss a chance to insult Webb by calling him a xenophobe." granted, "Webb seems to take a John Kerry approach to immigration—that is, tough talk about borders and soft on everything else." Plus, when he starts hanging out with left-democrats, his opinions may change, but having a Vietnamese wife will limit charges of hating nonwhites if he doesn't.

I know Webb isn't a common guy, but I don't think he's worse than a cheerleader for a former cheerleader. But if you know anything of the Virginia Senate race, I would like to know what you think.

I was the reader who suggested a automation PAC to Sailer, know of anyone who might be able to start it? What do you think of "Yankee Know How" as a blog name?

With divided government, maybe they will be so busy arguing over other things, that at least they won't make immigration worse? Further, as long as losing scares republicans a bit, maybe they won't ignore what the voting base cares about so much? I must say, I don't really understand the elite's on immigration: 80% of Americans are largely free for the taking? Run as a moderate on everything, and a right-wing extremist on immigration. Slam-dunk.

I really can't think of much damage the dems can do that can't be mostly undone. Raise taxes? lower 'em later. Universal health insurance? I don't even know if that's so horrible, as tons of middle age men who could be entreprenuers are healthcare serfs for big companies. Incorporating health insurance into unemployment benefits might be good, but wouldn't solve that particular problem.

Rob said at October 21, 2006 10:41 PM:

Follow-up I'm not that found of middle and high skill immigration. Extremely skilled I want: letting Enrico Fermi in is one thing. Thousands of computer programmers for cost-cutting, quite another, and not good.

Berenson said at October 22, 2006 12:18 AM:

"In the long run, a million chinese peasants are probably better than a million African engineers. But, still better to talk unskilled, and close enough for government work."

Rob, I share many of your views and I share your predilection for boosting the skilled vs. unskilled component of the US immigration pool. Unfortunately, I guess you could add me to the "thrown up his hands" category of inveterate pessimists, frustrated by US policy, who believes that that it's too late here and this country's days are numbered.

I used to do some substitute teaching not too long ago when my business was still getting off the ground, and I can tell you that as bad as things seem today, the future of the USA is incomprehensibly, indescribably worse. Public and even many private school districts that used to have a solid majority of White, European-descended kids are now 10-15% White at most. If you're anywhere in the Southwest, forget it-- that region is already well on the way becoming the latest outpost of the Third World. In the classes where I taught, I spent maybe 10% of class time focusing on lessons and education. The other 90% was spent dealing with the snarks and disruption-- at best-- and the outright violence-- at worst-- of the majority of students, mostly Black and Latino. The girls were in some ways even worse than the boys in terms of disruptiveness. I taught in over a dozen different schools, many even in suburban regions, and the story was the same throughout. You can only remain a powerful country if you have people of high quality, and in the USA, that quality is dwindling on a daily basis.

The prospect of 1,000,000 Chinese (or other Northeast Asian) peasants coming to the USA is a pipe dream-- with China and Korea both gaining strength, it's a much better bet for talented Asians to hitch themselves to the resurging Chinese nation than to come to the addled USA, wracked with politicians from both parties who embroil us in stupid wars, with debt up to our eyeballs and with affirmative action shredding the country's talent and tearing us apart at the seams.

A rough analogy would be the USA vis-a-vis German immigrants after 1871. I'll say this straight out-- IMHO, the main reason the USA became so strong is the nearly 90 million ethnic Germans we have here, and tens of millions of other Germanic immigrants, making the USA the most Germanic nation in the world. I say this as a proud Catholic Irish-Italian just calling it as I see it. Germans were the technical, engineering and business backbone of the USA from the start, and German-Americans such as Westinghouse, Boeing and Rockefeller led the USA into the modern age of advanced technology. An unbelievable number of the early computer pioneers-- Hollerith for example, and many of the Internet founders-- have been German-American. WWI stupidly pitted the country against its best German asset (and in large part because of the same Wilsonian stupidity that's ruining the country today), but even still, the Germanic element of the USA remained predominant. The Germans were the perfect core for the American nation-- mostly apolitical, but strongly dedicated to excellence in technical fields and business, while being appreciative of high culture.

After 1871, of course, with a unified Germany, the rate of German immigration to the USA plummeted, and the US lost that vital human asset. With China now strong and growing stronger, China becomes the new magnet for Asian talent, and we lose that human capital as well. Unfortunately, we've largely substituted for that with low-quality immigrants who are also quite hostile to Western norms. They're now the majority in US schools, and with the prevalence of affirmative action and the general hostility of the US to its productive segment (look at e.g. the recent Duke lacrosse rape hoax case or US divorce regulations for other examples), the tax on US's productive population is already just about unbearable.

IOW, the US is screwed, over a barrel, finished. The best thing to happen would probably be for the USA to fragment into a number of smaller North American nations, maybe along ethnic lines-- or, maybe, for much of the USA's productive class to head for a handful of other nations (a few in the Rhenish-Danube European plain for example) that have a much tougher line on immigration and aren't so willing to dilute and parasitize their most productive people.

Randall Parker said at October 22, 2006 9:13 AM:

Rob,

Of course Pelosi would be worse.

Hastert refused to negotiate with the Senate over the Senate's S.2611 CIRA bill for amnesty and temporary workers. Pelosi would have used the Senate's bill as the starting point and would have maneuvered to prevent real immigration cut-back legislation from even coming to a vote.

You are imagining that Hastert's replacement will be worse than Hastert. But the majority of Republicans in the House will select Hastert's replacement and they are hard core restrictionists as their votes this year have shown.

If you want to be a one issue voter then in the House you have to vote Republican - unless you happen to have a very restrictionist House candidate on the Dem side. They do exist though small in number.

Randall Parker said at October 22, 2006 9:18 AM:

Folks,

I deleted Berenson's first post which included personal insults to another poster. I've instituted a new policy: I delete posts that use insults of fellow posters. You can insult the President or a US Senator (unless they show up here - which is highly unlikely) or Kim Jong-il or similar public figures. But no insulting of fellow posters.

Why am I doing this? I want productive conversations. Insult-fests end up killing off the productive fact and reason based discussions.

Rob said at October 22, 2006 10:45 AM:

I didn't read the other post. But your blog your rules. Delete and ban actual trolls. "M Robinson/CASpears/Rasfarengi/other names he has kill blogs. Most people who get called "trolls" are merely disagreeing, and that is good for both truth, and honing our debating skills. However, if he insulted me, I care if he's a pretty girl. If there was any substance at all, please repost it.

Chinese peasants: Oh yeah, it's a pipe dream. Just an illustration. Getting East Asians through adoption may even dry up: celebs are starting to adopt Black Africans. Where they go, the trendies are not far behind.

I am voting Republican for the House. My district guy is A+ in the past, A recently. Possibly, this may imply that having Bush in the White House makes other Republicans worse, but I don't have the inclination to run the numbers.

John Warner(R), VA senator has D overall.

I checked out the Pres. hopefulls: They are all awful! Except Allen, but he shot his chances when he called a kid of Indian descent a black monkey twice on tape. Even if he won the nomination, and even if he won the presidency, how could he cut immigration since he hates brown people? He's tainted. Even Gingrich's record is horrible, and I kinda liked him, oh well.

Any Black possibilities who want lower immigration?

I have an ethical dilemma? I volunteer at a free medical clinic. I'm only a screener, low-man on the pole. We require people to work, and we ask about citizenship, but it is not required for treatment. Often foreign nationals will present "documents" from there employers which do not show FICA and FUTA witholding. Is it ethical to call the cops (or whoever, I'd have to check on who enforces that) on the companies. I feel ethically bound not to turn over people who come to the clinic. But companies committing crimes?

Where should I donate money or time? Earlier the better.

Randall Parker said at October 22, 2006 4:44 PM:

Folks,

I just deleted two more posts. First Berenson pretened to be a different guy (Verne Troy). Oops, same IP address. Then Bob Badour quoted what he said.

Verne Troy/Berenson,

You are either the same person or posting from the same account and you are both together laughing about your game. You have the same IP address.

Playing at calling the commenter's statement the same names as you previously called the commenter certainly is an interesting border line case where you tried to get around my rule. I had to reexamine my rule for what gets posted. You were trying to get away with it while also switching names. So I deleted it.

One of the reasons I waited so long before implementing a policy of not allowing personal insults is exactly the sort of thing that Verne wrote. People will play games and try to defeat the intent of the rules. Maybe I should extend my rule and make that forbidden too.

New rule: I will delete posts that are not civil. What isn't civil? Whatever I decide is not civil.

Randall Parker said at October 22, 2006 11:31 PM:

Rob,

I keep deleting his comments. But I think he's getting friends to post them from a succession of different IP addresses. So banning one IP address does not help.

Rude people really want to be rude and want you to see their rudeness whether you want to or not.

No, do not expect rational arguments. When people want to rant and insult they aren't up for reasoned debate. They just want to pound their chests.

Rob said at October 22, 2006 11:59 PM:

I know, don't feed 'em. If he has a blog though, I wanna read it. Probably an Auster reader. Why vfr doesn't allow comments. But maybe just a dipstick.

yeah, please delete my response. Besides you, who did he insult?

Lisa Pilgrim said at June 23, 2009 8:42 PM:

with american now having its own supreme leader Mr. Oboma, and with the support of the new Democratic Socialist Party supporting him and the socialist agenda, {the Old Democratic Party is now really a socialist party} How does the United States of America as it is now called think it can say to Iran that it supports free speech, (not government controled or guided press - where education camps, training for a new way of thinking or what ever you want to call it took place during and after the elections at the hands of the democratic socialist party and its support groups, American desires to end freedom of speach as it was known in the past, the democratic party desires to end freedom of religion as it was once known in the old USA and end the right for citizens to bear arms, it also wants to impower an organization to run elections that will and and has been controled by there Socialist movement friends, it is ok for them to break laws and make a joke out of comitty meetings as seen on cspan around the world a very obvious joke only one party rules america now it is the democratic socialist party. Other stangs things of your american new government The Idea of a free election in america after your last two elections is a real joke what makes you americans think you can go to other countries and make sure people get a fair election process, your democratic party registers dead people to win elections and finds extra votes days and weeks after polls close another joke, have register voter votes thrown out count votes that have no real intent of voting for your president as a democratic vote, purchases votes and people admit it on tv but that is ok, So how can america be so bold as to say we support free elections and the right to assembly when you dont even want your team parties, your soldiers are hated by the democratic socialist party for there beliefs and so called moral values instilled in the military training, again a real joke america is to the rest of the educated world. What will the american people do when they suddenly realize they can not assemble to protest your socialist party, no approved right to assembly or permit granted as your socialist party calls it, what will they do when they cant share or anounce there religious faith without worring about a fine or inprisonment for violating someone elses rights, what then will americans say to the other part of the world. what then, LOL Americans now have a false belief that they are in control of elections, what a joke even your former soldiers who served to protect your constitution are on the terrorist watch list even funnier no americans care your supreme leaders is all they need lol. Your news stations have become like the old soviet block control news agiencies and only report what is approved by the party advisors, how do you really think you have freedom of speech?


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