Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Book by the National Chair of That Other Political Party

Debbie Wasserman Schultz with Julie M. Fenster. For the Next Generation: A Wake-up Call to Solving Our Nation’s Problems. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2013.

This presents the authors’ positions on numerous national issues. The following are notes of interest to Political Science students taken from the book:

The Republican House Speaker continues a practice of a previous Speaker and named for him, the “Hastert Rule”. The rule is that the Speaker will bring only votes before the House where a majority of the Republican House members support the bill. Thus bill would could win the support of a majority of House members are never brought to a vote, creating much power to the Republican members. This rule was abandoned to prevent a fiscal crisis where enough Democratic House members, including the author, passed legislation to avoid sequester cuts and tax increases.

The authors note the Obama stimulus worked but did not fix economic problems. Yet it prevented an economic disaster.

Rep. Wasserman Schultz observed that many opponents of universal health care coverage fail to observe they already pay for emergency room care.

She notes that the U.S. can;t make democracy emerge in other countries. Yet she argues we should make them accountable and insist that they keep past treaties.

The U.S. gets just 7% of energy from renewables. She wants to increase the use of renewables.

The national infrastructure is falling into disrepair, she argues, 11.5% of bridges are “structurally deficient” and another 13$ are “functionally obsolete.” The state with the worst problem is Pennsylvania, with 26% of bridges as “structurally deficient” and another 16.5% are “structurally obsolete.”

Rep. Wasserman Schultz is not opposed to charter schools yet warns that charter schools often offer only an illusion of success.

The income earned by the 60% in the middle of earnings has been decreasing since 1970.

In Australia, a person who fails to vote is fined $25.

Rep. Wasserman Schultz noted in a speech that Rep. Allen West, whose district borders her, should not support the Republican Medicare plan that the Congressional Budget Office concluded would cost senior citizens an additional $6,000 a year, due to the large number of senior citizens in his district. Rep. West responded with an email calling her “the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the U.S. House of Representatives...if you have anything to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up” and also added she “was not a lady.”

The author notes that any in Congress, especially Tea Party members, lack “a spirit of sportsmanship.”


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