April 25, 2008: An Update from the Institute
The Rod Versus Mike Show
By Greg Blankenship, President
This week, State Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago) was, amazingly, allowed to push forward on legislation that would impose a single-payer health care system in Illinois. The plan includes taking private property from businesses and making private insurance illegal. In short, the plan is a disaster.
A few news outlets picked up on the plan, and they did a very funny thing. They took it seriously. My guess is that it's because House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) became an official sponsor.
Welcome to the latest edition of what I like to call the "Mike Versus Rod Show." Governor Rod is upset with Speaker Mike Madigan for--gasp!--following the law and the State Constitution regarding Rod's push for expanded Medicaid. As a result, the governor has begun bashing Madigan and the House Democrats for acting like they don't care about health care. You know, I hear the Gov is calling them Republicans or something.
Apparently, that horrible insult has had an impact on the House Democrats, so they've gone to Speaker Mike for cover. But what the speaker did, however, is most interesting. And I have a theory to explain it.
Here's my assessment: the speaker went and picked the worst alternative health care program he could find--an alternative that he fully knows won't be passed. It's an alternative based on that liberal nirvana and real-life horror show, the Canadian system. (Note to government health care fans: Canada is within driving distance. Feel free to move).
Even if this plan were passable, it would be rejected by the Bush Administration or by the federal courts on the grounds that it violates federal law. Big companies, meanwhile, would be exempt from the scheme, creating a health care caste system in the state. The takings of private property would also be one whale of a battle. A Canadian-style system at the state level just isn't in the cards, and I'm betting that everybody in this game realizes that.
Except, maybe, the media. Apparently, no one wants to be the first guy who says, "Hey, this isn't serious. It will never pass federal scrutiny." Why? In my book, it's because that first guy is going to be the guy cited by Blagojevich when he slams Madigan.
Politically, Madigan is a pro. He'll accept criticism, but everyone knows how personal things have become. People may dislike Blagojevich, but they respect and fear the House Speaker. They don't want to "get personal" with Mike.
However, at some point, someone is going to publicly point to the really, really serious flaws in this wacky plan. Maybe he'll do it in an e-letter or something. And then, we're really going to feel sorry for that poor sorry sop and. . .
Oh wait. . .oops. . .oh, boy.
All joking aside, the future of our state's health care system is a serious matter, impacting millions upon millions of lives. It's a topic far too important for political games.
The Great Illinois Tear-Down
By John Tillman, Chairman and CEO
In our last newsletter I wrote about tear-downs--you know, where you tear down your existing house to build a bigger and better house in its place. I wondered if people ever longed for the old house after moving into the newly built one. It turns out they don't. The new house is always better because you fix the old, nagging problems like leaky roofs and bad floor plans.
Just like an old, creaky house, we need to tear down our political paradigm in Illinois. We presently operate with a government-centric paradigm where pay-to-play, pork, and patronage rule the day. We need to build a new way of looking at things, and a new way of doing things. This new paradigm would be liberty-centric, with reform, transparency, sunshine and respect for the taxpayer as the ruling principles.
Sounds like a pipe dream, right? After all, how can we build anew when seemingly everyone, including both Democrats and Republicans in Springfield, loves the old, corrupt, spiders-in-the-basement house that is Illinois politics?
It won't be easy, but it can be done. You may recall that last time I said that I was more optimistic than ever that such a movement can be built in Illinois. Why? Because of the groundswell of interest we are receiving from fed-up citizens all across the state. More and more, every day, we're hearing from people who want to get involved to change the way Illinois does business--people who realize that the roof is leaking and not repairable in its current form.
People across the state are also recognizing that the remedy is not found in either political party. More and more people now understand that the parties are tools used primarily by insider power brokers. Politicians only respond when there is actual political pressure that they fear or respect. Right now, most of those applying pressure are pushing to keep that old, creaky, corrupt house standing in Illinois. To change things, the liberty movement must build capacity outside of either party to compete in applying pressure to politicians, both Democrat and Republican.
I share this with you in the form of education. You see, the law prevents research organizations like the Illinois Policy Institute from applying such pressure. However, we can do the research and educational work on how this process works--and on how you, as a voter and taxpayer, can apply such pressure for a better Illinois.
We are in the early stages of building a network of Liberty Leaders, and that network is growing every day. We will be conducting a number of seminars and conferences around the state to help build a cohesive team. We are working initially on transparency and we will shortly be adding additional components to our transparency work.
Our goal is to have hundreds and eventually thousands of Liberty Leaders all across the state to work at the local level, educating the people of Illinois on why liberty-based principles and polices are a new house worth building.
Once we see the foundation laid and the walls going up, we will soon wonder why we ever thought that old house was worth keeping.
If you would like to get involved in some way, I invite you to contact our Transparency Project Director, Kate Campaigne, at email@example.com. Meanwhile, don't forget that when liberty prevails, freedom and prosperity follow. That is certainly a house worth building.
Questions? Comments? Want to get involved? Please contact John Tillman at firstname.lastname@example.org.