February 14, 2008: An Update from the Institute
A CON Job Exposed
Should the number of hospitals in Illinois be based upon patient needs, or should hospitals be built based upon political payoffs to government officials?
The right answer, of course, is the latter--but as you've probably guessed, that's not always the way things work here in Illinois. This week, the Illinois Policy Institute spread the word about a little known "con job" dominating our state's health care.
Institute president Greg Blankenship's expose of the system appeared in the State Journal-Register
and the Joliet Herald-News
earlier this week, along with radio features across the state. You can also read the full policy brief of the CON system here
on our website.
Real solutions to health care will come from facing the facts. We'll continue working to get those facts out into the open, so that we can promote better policy--and a better Illinois.
From the Rail: Things You Won't Hear in the State of the State
By Greg Blankenship, President
Next week, on February 20th, Gov. Blagojevich will deliver his sixth State of the State address to the General Assembly. I don't know what Blago's going to claim, but to say state government is in bad shape is an understatement. The latest news--namely, of a major water main break at the State House and a long-standing rodent infestation at the Department of Revenue--can only be seen as an omen for what the spring season may hold for Springfield.
It's not pretty. We all already know that there is a hole in last year's budget that must be repaired. Now, as part of this year's proposal, the governor is rolling out a plan to bail out homeowners caught up in the subprime mortgage crisis. Hey, if we're not paying for old ones, what's another new program going to do the state, anyway? Why stop when we've blown past "broke" when we have "really, really broke" to aim for?
The governor kind of reminds me of the sitcom character who says, "I've got an idea so crazy that it just might work." Legislators came to town this week begging the governor not to institute any new programs. I can't guarantee their wishes will be answered, and I can't predict the details of the speech. But I can tell you, regrettably, what won't be in the State of the State address.
First, there won't be any talk of tax cuts to help stave off a recession. In fact, expect the governor to undermine Washington's fiscal stimulus efforts--as laughable as they are--by making sure that the money comes from Washington, goes to Illinoisans taxpayers, comes back to Springfield through higher business taxes, then finally is spurted into a government black hole.
Second thing you won't hear, sadly, is talk of any kind of effort to clean up state government. Blago brushed that off about five years ago. Ethics or transparency legislation is the last thing this administration wants to bring up.
Finally, there is talk of spending restraint. There won't be any of that, either.
No wonder things are literally falling apart--water main breaks, rodents, and all--in Springfield.
A Valentine's Day Trio: McCain, Illinois, & Marriage
By John Tillman, Chairman and CEO
Here's a Valentine's Day quiz question for you: What do John McCain, the Illinois liberty movement, and a good marriage all have in common?
Answer: They each need to give a little love to get a little love--and learn to ignore those things that bug them about one another.
Liberty, as we all know, is a broad concept with many principles. While everyone has their own hierarchy of principles, many, many principles are held in common. When people focus on what separates rather than what unites, however, no one really wins--well, except for the big government movement, and, of course, divorce attorneys.
Only a coalescing liberty movement working on common, unifying principles can win. It is winning that allows each part of the coalition to move their individual agendas forward. If the other side wins, no part of the coalition has a chance to achieve its goals. This fact is true for John McCain. It's true for the Illinois liberty movement. And it's true in marriage as well.
Much has been said about McCain's troubled relationship with hard-core conservatives. His strategy, as we all know, focuses on economically conservative, pro-war independents and disaffected Democrats. He seems to believe that these two voting blocks will outnumber the conservatives who may stay home with him as the GOP nominee.
Maybe, but he is taking a dangerous risk. First, as Hillary sinks in the wake of a rising Obama, McCain's future, especially when it comes to wooing independents, looks decidedly less bright. And if McCain does manage to win the presidency with his planned coalition, can he govern with larger Democratic majorities? The Democrats may be poised to expand their ranks in Congress. If they do, what will happen to McCain's ability to pursue the issues that matter most to him?
In Illinois, if each element of our liberty coalition continues to work in isolation, big government advocates will continue to win. But when the coalition is united for liberty, liberty can prevail.
Staying focused on that which separates people is a roadmap to defeat . . . and to the divorce attorney's office. This is not a risk anyone--not McCain, not married couples, and not those working for greater liberty in Illinois--should take. We need to unite with a common purpose: presenting a comprehensive agenda for liberty that can serve as a counter to the big-government policy we see every day.
Call me a hopeless romantic, but I think it can happen. What can I say? It's Valentine's Day.
By they way, if you'd like to give a little love and support to the Illinois Policy Institute, please contact John Tillman at email@example.com or click here.