Day: December 27, 2010

Two Landmarks Reached By American Politicians! Mayor Richard M. Daley and Senator Barbara Mikulski!

As the year 2010 nears an end, two landmarks have been reached by political officeholders.

Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago has just passed the longevity in office of his father, Richard J. Daley, who served as Mayor from 1955-1976. Son Daley will be in office a few more months until his successor, likely Rahm Emanuel, former Congressman and Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama, wins the election in February to succeed the retiring younger Daley.

Also, Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski is surpassing the record for longevity in office of the longest serving woman Senator, Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, who served 24 years in the upper body from 1948-1972, and since Mikulski has just been re-elected to a fifth six year term, she will be adding to the record daily.

Congratulations are in order for Mayor Daley and Senator Mikulski, both of whom have had a major impact on their city and the Senate, respectively!

New Statistics On Economic Mobility And Income Distribution In America Shows “The American Dream” Is A Myth! :(

New statistics demonstrate that the concept of “The American Dream”, that anyone can come from poverty to wealth is a myth, now more than ever!

According to the Organization For Economic Cooperation And Development, the average earnings for the top ten percent of Americans are 16 times that of the lowest ten percent of Americans. In Great Britain, the multiple is 8, and in Sweden it is 5.

42 percent of those in the bottom twenty percent of the economic system will never escape it, while in Great Britain, the percentage is 30, and in Sweden it is 25.

Finally, the top one percent of the population, according to this study, has 36 percent of the income, up from 22 percent in 1980. Meanwhile, the average worker has seen income only go up three percent after inflation after these thirty years!

So the idea that somehow the average American can become rich is not facing reality, particularly with the long lasting effects of the Great Recession, which is supposedly over, but is really NOT over by any means! 🙁

Possible Changes In Filibuster Rules And Committees In Senate, And A Proposal

The call by the Democrats in the Senate for filibuster reform makes it the center of attention for Wednesday, January 5, 2011, the only day that such reform is possible.

As the new Senate convenes, Vice President Joe Biden will preside, and the opportunity for change will be voted on.

Among the changes proposed are the following:

1. Senators could not initiate a filibuster of a bill before it reaches the floor unless they have 40 votes in favor of such action, and would have to remain on the floor to sustain the filibuster. Now an anonymous objection to a motion to proceed is enough to initiate such a filibuster.
2. Secret holds, which allow a Senator to block action on a bill or nomination anonymously, would be prevented. Any Senator who places holds would have to do so publicly.
3. Thirty hour waiting periods on motions to proceed would also be eliminated as a tactic.
4. A simple majority vote on changing Senate rules at the start of a session, rather than a two thirds majority, would be adopted.

Other Senate changes that might be voted on include:

1. Election of committee chairmen by secret ballot, instead of by affirmation unless a member objects, making committee chairmen more accountable to the other members of the committee.
2. Limitation of how many subcommittees one member can head.

Apparently, there is reluctance to make it harder to create a filibuster based on number of Senators required, with 60 Senators now needed to overcome a filibuster.

Before 1975, 67 Senators were needed to end a filibuster, and major reform was making it 60 Senators at that point.

It would seem to the author that while a minority should have the full rights to opposition, it is undemocratic to allow 41 Senators to stop action endlessly.

The author’s proposal would be to lower the threshold from 60 Senators to 55, realizing that if a candidate for public office, including the Presidency, wins 55 percent of the vote, it is considered a landslide win!

So why not lower the number for a filibuster to be overcome to 55, making it that 46 Senators would have to agree to keep a filibuster going? This still retains the right of the minority, but prevents abuse of the concept of endless debate and discussion, and prevents the kind of damage that the filibuster is now clearly seen as causing–the stoppage of often significant legislation desired by the House of Representatives and a clear cut majority of the US Senate!