- The Washington Times - Friday, January 2, 2015

How concerned is the public about their own government and politics in general? The news itself is alarming: “Poor government leadership” on the part of the White House, Congress and combative politicians was deemed the “top problem in 2014” - more than the economy, terrorism, racism, the federal debt, unemployment, healthcare, immigration and a host of other troubling issues. No, really. This is research from a Gallup poll released Friday and it is also the first time government leadership has been No. 1 on the list since the pollster began tabulating such sentiments 14 years ago. Interesting too that concerns over the nation’s “moral decline” is ranked in the top-10 as well. See all the numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

‘AN OPPORTUNITY, NOT AN ENTITLEMENT’

Grassroots conservatives in South Carolina are wasting no time establishing their political stronghold and feisty message. The 2015 South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Convention gets underway at a beach resort in Myrtle Beach in just two weeks, with this theme: “The American Dream: An opportunity, not an entitlement.” The 40-person speakers roster is bristling: Among those confirmed for the three-day event: Sen. Ted Cruz, Reps. Jim Bridenstine, Jeff Duncan, Louis Gohmert, Mike Mulvaney and Tom Rice; Rick Santorum and Ben Carson. This group is serious, showcasing activist workshop with titles like “Building a Grassroots Machines that Lasts!” Senior officials from the Heritage Foundation, FreedomWorks, and multiple tea party and activist groups will also be present.

“We expect to hear some common sense, pragmatic and positive solutions to the crises tearing our nation apart,” a spokesman notes. “In 2015 we will shift the emphasis a little to include more training in our convention because honestly folks, just voting isn’t good enough anymore.”

Interesting to note the political makeup of those who will attend, with a few subtle differences emerging through an online poll for attendees. So far, it reveals that 44 percent describe themselves as “independent/conservative,” 25 percent are “grassroots/tea party”, 22 percent are Republicans, 8 percent Libertarian and under 1 percent are Democrat or liberal.

RAUL LABRADOR TO CONGRESS: SEIZE THE MOMENT

Lawmakers can’t help but notice that public opinion polls consistently reveal that voters are weary of Congress and weary of gridlock; some job performance ratings fall as low as 9 percent favorabilty. So now what? The opening day of Congress looms.

“We have a chance to restore confidence; we must not let the moment slip away. I understand the public’s harsh opinion,” says Rep. Paul Labrador. “We’ve failed to tackle the issues that matter most to the American people. To repair that relationship, Congress must advance policies that empower individuals, not the government.”

The Idaho Republican has a must-do list to address: the federal debt crisis, tax reform that lowers rates and boosts the chance for Americans to thrive in a free market, plus a pro-growth tax policy and some regulatory relief for entrepreneurs.

“We should move to overturn the president’s executive action on immigration, which I consider unlawful. It is the duty of Congress to enact a lasting legislative solution. I believe a step-by-step process is the best path to reform, with a string of bills that assure the American people their Congress strikes the right balance between security and a modernized immigration system,” Mr. Labrador concludes.

RESOLUTIONS? WHAT RESOLUTIONS?

Lose weight, spend less, clean out the garage? These and other New Years resolutions may not be on the minds of many at the moment. And the numbers: only 38 percent of Americans have made resolutions this year; 50 percent have not while 12 percent are somehow undecided about all this. The source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adults conducted Dec. 30.

2015 IS THE OBAMACARE ‘CRUCIBLE’

New GOP majorities on Capitol Hill are sure to offer multiple challenges to Obamacare including a vote to repeal it, predicts Tevi Troy, president of the American Health Policy Institute, a senior health adviser in the George W. Bush administration and a contributor to Commentary magazine. Mr. Troy does not believe that the healthcare law has reached its low point yet, and now must face a confluence of events and challenges.

“Many in the mainstream media scoff at the repeal votes, given that they would be unlikely to pass the Senate and, even if they did so, would be vetoed by the president. Still, they have an importance that goes beyond symbolism. Many GOP legislators are deeply aware that running against the health care law got them elected in the first place, a fact that creates structural and psychological incentives for them to persevere in trying to repeal the law.”

Mr. Troy says the GOP will likely pursue the “medical-device tax,” a 2.3 percent tax on medical devices is supposed to bring in $30 billion in revenue. A few Democrats join Republicans in opposing it. Other probable GOP targets are the way Obamacare defines the full-time work week as 30 hours long, and the “Cadillac tax,” an extra excise imposed on high-value employer health-care plans. “The people will continue to judge the law based on what it costs them, whether the goals of near-universal coverage are met, and whether they will be able to keep the insurance they originally had. They will make their views known, in 2015 and beyond,”” Mr. Troy concludes.

See his expansive ideas at Commentary, right here

POLL DU JOUR

18 percent of Americans say the most important problem facing Americans today is “the government, Congress and politicians.”

17 percent cite the economy, 15 percent unemployment, 10 percent healthcare, 8 percent immigration, 6 percent the federal debt, and 5 percent “moral decline.”

4 percent cite education, 4 percent poverty and homelessness, 4 percent foreign aid, 3 percent the gap between rich and poor.

3 percent cite race relations, 3 percent “lack of money,” 2 percent crime and violence, 2 percent the judicial system, 2 percent lack of respect for each other.

2 percent cite “war,” 2 percent terrorism, 2 percent wage issues and 2 percent national security.

Source: A Gallup poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted throughout December and released Friday.

Happy New Year from Inside the Beltway and [email protected]


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