Capitol Notebook's blog

Canada "re-evaluating" it's government run health care system

While Democrats in Washington have been busy putting greater government controls on health care in America, (and putting taxpayers on the hook for more health care related expenses), our neighbors to the north are taking a hard look at the costs associated with their government funded system.

Why?  Because the population is aging, and reality is beginning to set in concerning the government's financial ability to keep delivering on the commitment of "free health care".  Their government run system currently eats up about 40% of provincial budgets each year...and rising.  In Ontario alone, that figure is projected to be 70% in a little over a decade.

(Via Reuters)

Ontario, Canada's most populous province, kicked off a fierce battle
with drug companies and pharmacies when it said earlier this year it
would halve generic drug prices and eliminate "incentive fees" to
generic drug manufacturers.

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Support for Kagan dropping

It seems that the more time that passes since President Obama's nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, the lower her measure of support tallies among the American people.

The latest Rasmussen poll shows that 47% of Americans hold an unfavorable view of Kagan, with only 41% favoring her - putting her upsidedown by six points.  And that's up four points in the last few weeks, which would seem to indicate that the more the public learns about her, the less they like the idea of her serving a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court.

Add that to the latest poll from USA Today which confirms her low levels of support, showing only 46% of respondents saying that they would "like to see the Senate vote in favor" of her nomination.  By contrast, at this point in their own nominations, Sotomayor was at 55%, Alito at 54% and Roberts at 60%.

Most likely, this has to do with the fact that more people are finding out more information about her views (on abortion, for example) and her liberal record.

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Arizona, illegal immigration and boycotts

There's a really interesting new poll out today - from CNN no less - which shows OVERWHELMING opposition by the American people to any attempted boycotts against Arizona as a result of its new immigration enforcement law.  Further, it shows the country moving away from Obama and the Democrats on this issue at a pretty rapid clip.

From the poll:

  • A full 82% of Americans as being opposed to boycotts against Arizona - and 57% saying that they support the law.
  • 60% of the public favoring immigration reform that focuses on enforcing the law and the border, (instead of the "comprehensive, let's find a way to let them stay and be legal" reform).
  • 54% say that they support building the border fence.
  • And support for more fines on businesses that hire illegals has risen to 71% (from 58% four years ago).

It should also be pointed out here that CNN sampled over 1,000 "adults" - meaning that their sample wasn't limited to just "registered voters" or even "likely voters", each of which almost always would produce even more "conservative" responses to the questions, (and would be more informative for analysis in terms of potential political / election impact).

Government becoming a bigger part of the economy

Although you probably already knew this intuitively, and it certainly comes as no shock given the enormous spending increases, it turns out that government is a bigger part of our economy than ever...and the private economy is a smaller part than ever: (via USA Today)

Paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of this year, a USA TODAY analysis of government data finds.

At the same time, government-provided benefits — from Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps and other programs — rose to a record high during the first three months of 2010.

Those records reflect a long-term trend accelerated by the recession and the federal stimulus program to counteract the downturn. The result is a major shift in the source of personal income from private wages to government programs. ...

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The Tea Parties and the coming spending wars

In years past, most major political blowups over American fiscal policy that altered the political landscape were over the revenue side of the equation, meaning taxes.  People begin to feel the pinch of higher taxes and they fight back, demanding that elected officials cut taxes, and supporting political candidates who promise that they will do just that.  In some states, they've even been able to get initiatives on the ballot and push tax cuts themselves - California's prop 13 comes to mind.

But as Michael Barone points out, the new Tea Party related political activism over fiscal issues is different from the fiscal fights of the past.  Now it's about spending.

What we are seeing is a spontaneous rush of previously inactive citizens into political activity, a movement symbolized but not limited to the Tea Party movement, in response to the vast increases in federal spending that began with the Troubled Asset Relief Program legislation in fall 2008 and accelerated with the Obama Democrats' stimulus package, budget and health care bills.

Hawaii needs your help

The Hawaii legislature, in the final minutes of this years session, broke the trust of its people by voting to allow HB444 regarding civil unions to become law.  Although they needed a 2/3rds majority, as this bill was originally voted to be tabled for the year, they then conducted a "sneak attack" and voted to suspend their own rules and to allow a simple majority vote for the bill to pass.  It then passed by a vote of 31-20.

The opposition rally to this bill numbered around 12,000, while the bill supporters numbered around 100 during their rally.  This bill would allow gay couples to have the same benefits and rights as married couples, and the vast majority of the state clearly oppose this bill.

Our hope is now that the Governor will veto this bill, as the Speaker of the House has publicly stated that he will not call for a special session to try for an override.

We ask that you now stand with us and contact Governor Linda Lingle (phone: 808-586-0034 - fax: 808-586-0006 - email: [email protected] or [email protected]) to encourage her to veto this bill.  She has until July 6th to sign, veto, or allow this measure to become law without her signature.

Hawaii Christian Coalition Chairman Garret Hashimoto will be meeting with the governor on May 24th to encourage her veto.

Please help us generate as much feedback to her office as possible.

(Click here and visit the Hawaii Christian Coalition online)


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Primary roundup: tea parties, incumbents and runoffs, oh my!

The media has referred to it as "Super Tuesday".  But considering there were only a handful of states having primaries, it wasn't really super in size.  Although it did produce some interesting results.

Here's a roundup of the big stories...

Pennsylvania: Lights out for Specter

After switching parties for the second time in his career, Specter is now a man without a country, so to speak.  So much for Obama having the influence to pull Specter over the finish line.  In fact, that's the other "big" news of the night, that Obama is now 0-4 when it comes to big endorsements (remember Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts?).

As for how this impacts the race in the fall, you’ll now have Joe Sestak, who’s not the unpopular Specter, but who is more liberal, running against conservative Pat Toomey.  Now Pennsylvania is no red state, but it’s not really a blue state either.  It’s purple.  If this were a presidential election year, it would be better for the Democrat, but it’s not.  It’s a mid-term when voters are becoming very concerned about fiscal issues, and long-time fiscal conservative Toomey should be able to effectively hang the liberal, big and expensive government label around Sestaks’ neck.

Advantage: Toomey.

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New Gallup Poll Confirms Pro-life as "The New Normal"

The latest Gallup poll on abortion is in and - for the third time in several years - it confirms that most Americans share the pro-life point of view.

The poll points out that the overall shift towards more conservative views on the issue that began over a year ago has continued, with 47% of respondents claiming to be "pro-life" vs. 45% who say they are "pro-choice".

While the gap between the two opinions is not very significant, it does represent a firming of pro-life opinion in the country, prompting Gallup to refer to it as "the new normal" on the issue.  It's also worth pointing out that these last few Gallup polls on the issue represent the first significant change on the issue in over a dozen years (when the pro-life position was at a twenty point deficit).

Gallup also points out that the trend towards more pro-life views is consistent across all age groups, as you can see in the graph below.  Note the rapid growth among the youngest age group...which suggests some political heartburn for liberal Democrats in future years.

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Vandalism of war memorial cross demonstrates anti-Christian sentiment

If you needed an example of just how far some elements in our country have gone to breed a sense of hostility towards Christianity (and anything that remotely reminds them of the Christian faith), then look no further than to what happened this week to the war memorial in the Mojave Desert.

Under cover of darkness, vandals removed the cross-shaped memorial from its place atop a hill in the desert.

The memorial had been at the center of a long running legal battle over whether or not it was constitutional for the symbol to be on public land, but within the past month the US Supreme Court finally weighed in and found the monument to be constitutional.

Given the fact that it's in such a remote location, (only a few dozen cars pass that way each day), and the theft comes so soon after the Supreme Court decision, it's pretty clear that this was motivated by anti-religious sentiment.

From the story:

Seniors in Georgia told not to pray before federally funded meals

As incredible (or not) as it may seem, senior citizens at a Georgia rest home have been told by a company that contracts with the city of Port Wentworth that, since the meals they provide are primarily subsidized by the federal government, they should not openly pray before meals.

The result?  This past Thursday's meal was preceeded by a "moment of silence" instead.  The city's Mayor and City Attorney are trying to find a way out of the problem.

Via the AP:

Mayor Jones said he was outraged by the change and has promised to find a solution.

"It was one of the hardest things I ever did as mayor is to look those people in the eyes and ask them to be patient with me and honor their God in a moment of silence until I can have a resolution to this," Jones said. "For me to look at their eyes and tell them they can't thank God for their food, it's unheard of - I can't take it."

Jones said he flirted with the idea of ending a contract the city has with Senior Citizens Inc.

"Like one lady said, 'You can stop me from speaking, but you can't stop me from praying what's in my heart,"' he said. "But the best answer right now is that we're trying to get the best information possible and legal council is looking at what would happen if we continued to pray."

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