In a previous blog we described “A Pledge to Return Control of the Government to the Citizens.” We now proceed to explore how such a tool could be utilized.
The principal proposed rule change would give a minority of 40% or more of a body the power to bring one piece of legislation a month to the floor to be discussed and voted on-the-record without amendment. Used strategically, the content of those votes that would have one of two immediate effects:
- Expose those legislators whose allegiance on this issue is to the moneyed interests rather than their constituents.
- Cause legislators to protect themselves from the ballot box by switching their allegiance to that of their constituents.
There are currently dozens of bills or proposals that, if put to a vote, would almost certainly pass due to overwhelming popular support. The majority has long been able to protect its members from taking vulnerable votes - this rule change would ensure that those members are finally held accountable. Instead of hiding behind a lack of transparency, members of Congress will finally be forced to publicly choose between their constituents and special interests.
Here is a sample list of bills that may be brought to a vote, many of which would be very likely to pass:
- Votes to strengthen the power of the vote
- Demand and enforce mandatory disclosure of all contributions to individuals, their campaigns or Political Action Committees.
- Close the loopholes that allow deduction of contributions to a charitable trust if any of those funds are used directly or indirectly for political purposes.
- Require disclosure of the past ten years of federal tax returns in order for all candidates to file to run for federal office.
- Require that all states use paper ballots exclusively for voting and that a portion of their precincts, chosen at random, be counted by hand as a check on the integrity of their voting system.
- A new amendment to the constitution which states explicitly that corporations do not have any of the rights of persons and that money is not speech.
- A new amendment to the constitution which limits contributions to only be made by citizens up to a maximum of $1,000 per citizen, bans all PAC’s, advertising, robo-calls and internet promotion and brings back the fairness doctrine with presentation of candidates on a federal internet site.
Votes to improve Family Purchasing Power
- Increase the national minimum wage to $15/hr and raise the minimum exempt wage to $50,000/yr. Index both of these against inflation going forward.
- Offer purchase of Medicare insurance at cost to all those under 65 years of age
- Medicare to negotiate at the national level for prescription drug prices.
- Strict enforcement of antitrust laws for the agricultural, energy, communications, broadcasting, shipping and transportation industries.
- Portable benefits for part time workers and private contractors same as those required for full time workers. Payment for these benefits will be paid for by employer/scheduler
- A federal usury interest limit of the inflation rate plus 10 percent.
- A constitutional amendment giving the federal government the right to fine corporations/importers for excess profits in order to ensure that U.S. workers receive total wages in excess of 48% of GDP.
Votes to stimulate small and startup businesses by giving them a level playing field
- Cost of shipping a package to be fixed for all customers and independent of volume.
- Corporations may purchase Medicare for their employees at cost.
- Banks to provide small business loans at same terms and availability as for their larger business loans. Federal government to subsidize added risk as long as guidelines are followed.
Votes to enhance public safety
- Mandatory licensing of the individual to safely and responsibly own or carry a gun with periodic renewal process. All legal guns to be registered to a licensed individual. Said individual to be legally responsible at all times for their registered guns.
- Ban the sale or ownership of gun clips holding more than 10 bullets.
- Ban carry of automatic or semi-automatic weapons in urban areas.
It is only by giving this power to the minority that we can once again restore our democratic institutions to “promote the general Welfare” as stated in the preamble to our Constitution.