Here are three important stories that bear watching over the next several days.
Elections: - Illinois voters will take to the polls today to cast their ballot for the Republican nominee. Rick Santorum has longed for a one-on-one match up with Mitt Romney. Today he gets his wish. With Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul sitting on the sidelines voters will have a clear choice between the moderate Romney and the evangelical Christian/conservative Santorum. A Romney victory would add another big state to his already impressive list of Florida, Michigan and Ohio. And it would fuel Romney’s assertions that his candidacy is inevitable. A Santorum victory would seriously damage Romney and legitimize party concerns about Romney’s chances against Obama. A survey of likely voters by Public Policy Poling has Romney leading 45%-30%. It should be noted that Santorum’s goal is not necessarily to win; but to keep Romney from getting the 1,144 required delegates before the convention.
Health Care: - Next Monday, the Supreme Court will begin hearing three days of arguments as to the constitutionality of the President’s Affordable Health Care Act. Specifically they will decide whether the federal government can mandate that individuals purchase health care coverage. At stake will be the continuation or the termination of the key legislative accomplishment of the President’s first term. The court’s decision will have a major impact on the economy and on the upcoming general elections.
Republican Budget: - Congressman Paul Ryan will release the Republican budget proposal today, kicking off what promises to be a heated debate on the future economic course of the country. The Republican proposal would reform the tax code by reducing the six exiting tax brackets to two: 10% for lower income earners and 25% for higher income recipients. The plan would eliminate the alternative minimum tax. It would reduce corporate tax rate from 35% to 25% and eliminate virtually all taxes earned from overseas operations. It will be paid for by reducing tax loopholes and implementing major changes in entitlements. The Republican budget stands in stark contrast to the President’s plan which offsets increases in spending by raising taxes on the top 1% income earners and eliminating tax loopholes for the rich and subsidies for major corporations. This is a fundamental debate that the country needs to have moving forward. And then the voters will decide in November which path the county should follow.