Heritage Looks Ahead: Stimulus Spending and Health Care Reform

Wanted to share some of the latest research from The Heritage Foundation with you and ask you to take a few moments to provide some insight on what's happening on health care issues in [[State]].

$1 Trillion Taxpayer-Funded Stimulus/Bailouts vs. Reform of the Federal Budget

Congressional leaders are working with the President-elect to prepare a so-called economic stimulus plan
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/06/AR2008120602187.html> in early January to provide massive spending increases, including bailout states and local governments. The price tag could be as high as $1 trillion.

As Heritage expert Ron Utt explains
<http://www.heritage.org/Research/Economy/bg2222.cfm> , infrastructure spending is not the right strategy to boost the economy. Utt points to efforts by Japan over the last 15 years, and the U.S. during the Great Depression, to "spend your way out" of a bad economy. Neither attempt was proven successful.

In order to move back toward a free market economy, it's time to put an end to the ongoing bailout and stimulus mentality
<http://www.heritage.org/Research/Economy/wm2174.cfm> .

Yet, after the U.S. Senate stopped its consideration of an automaker bailout when negotiations with the UAW broke down over union concessions, the White House continued negoations with the automakers and Congressional leadership to find a way to provide loans in exchange for restructuring of the car companies. Today, the Administration announced
<http://blog.heritage.org/2008/12/19/the-411-on-the-auto-bailout/> it
would provide loans to General Motors and Chrysler in exchange for certain "viability" conditions while Ford opted out of any funds.

Heritage expert Andrew Grossman explains why
<http://blog.heritage.org/2008/12/19/bushs-awful-auto-bailout/> it was the wrong decision and suggests the loans will not be repaid, that the requirements on the automakers will not be enforced, that it is just a downpayment on future bailouts, that this is an end run around Congress, and that the deal may be illegal
<http://www.heritage.org/Research/Economy/wm2170.cfm> . As this picture of the UAW contract with Ford
<http://blog.heritage.org/2008/12/15/fords-uaw-contract/> makes it clear, there was plenty of room for union concessions which could be acheived in bankruptcy without putting taxpayers on the hook for the loans.

Even after the financial industry bailout in September, President-elect Obama promised a "net spending cut" while campaigning. As part of our ongoing Change WE Believe In series of memos to President-elect Obama, Heritage expert Brian Riedl and Alison Fraser challenge him to put his spending plan where his promise was
<http://www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/sr35.cfm> . In the memo, Heritage offers eight guidelines to make his pledge a reality.

1. Take the pledge seriously.
2. Define "net spending cut."
3. Cut farm subsidies.
4. Reform entitlement programs.
5. Devolve more programs to state and local governments.
6. Eliminate waste, pork, and corporate welfare.
7. Use PAYGO to prevent expensive new entitlements.
8. Resist gimmicks when calculating spending.

Be sure to read the other latest memos in the series:

* Making Domestic Energy Affordable
* Transforming and Improving American Education
* Protecting and Strengthening Religious Freedom
* Stiffening Pakistan's Resolve Against Terrorism
* Fixing Border Security and Immigration
* Strengthening the Visa Waiver Program

Who are the health care reform leaders in New Hampshire?

Many states are moving toward reforming their own health care systems through their governors, legislatures and insurance commissioners. The Heritage Foundation is closely monitoring efforts to address our health care system at the federal and state level, and we want to reach out to the key people working on this important issue.

President-elect Obama has appointed former Senate Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) as his incoming Secretary of Health and Human Services. Daschle is committed to a nationalized system of health care with an individual mandate, favoring a national health board
<http://www.heritage.org/Research/HealthCare/wm2155.cfm> to tell doctors and hospitals how to practice medicine. To lay the groundwork for these plans, the Obama transition team is organizing "house parties"
<http://change.gov/page/s/hcdiscussion> to discuss health care – with over 4,000 scheduled thus far.

We need to be prepared with a conservative network of individuals to provide real solutions, not government mandates and boards. Please take a moment to let me know if there are proposed health care reforms by your governor or legislature, and send me the names of the doctors, citizen groups, lobbyists, legislators, and other state government elected officials and staff who are taking a lead role to find common-sense conservative solutions on this critically important issue.

As we enter the New Year, we will continue to track and provide timely research on these and other important issues. I hope you enjoy this holiday season and look forward to hearing from you.

Mark Kelly
Strategic Policy Outreach Manager
Coalition Relations
The Heritage Foundation
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