The Week Just Past: A "Grand Bargain?'
"The President made another one of his patented "campaign style' speeches this week, this time suggesting elements of what he says should be included in a "comprehensive' approach to the national debt. He traveled to a warehouse facility in Tennessee where he proposed his own "grand bargain for middle class jobs.'
"One of the central elements of his "bargain' is a cut in corporate tax rates, which he has previously suggested. However, in the past, the President has insisted that such business tax reform be coupled with an individual tax overhaul. He has now dropped that demand and says, instead, that he wants the corporate rate reduction to be coupled with a significant "investment' -- which most people call "spending' - on some sort of job creation program, such as manufacturing, infrastructure or community colleges. And once again, the President has made a major new spending proposal but has declined to attach a price-tag to it.
"A better approach would be to tie corporate and individual tax reform together so that small business owners who use the individual tax code would be offered cuts along with large corporations.
"I am pleased that the President has started talking about some sort of package that takes aim at our deficit and debt. Of course, we have to make sure that whatever we agree upon in a bipartisan manner constitutes a "grand bargain' for America's taxpayers.
"Clearly, our goals must be to keep the federal government open for the business for American people.
"We must continue to cut spending: While the dangerous "across-the-board' cuts of the "sequester' must go, it should be replaced by responsible, targeted reductions that allow us to reach our deficit reduction targets. This is the only way the Department of Defense will end its unfair furloughs of civilian employees.
"And of course, any "grand bargain' needs to focus on entitlement spending, Obamacare's future and a means to prevent government default on its obligations.
"These are all challenging issues which will be discussed and debated this fall. While I disagree with his suggestions, I am glad that the President recognizes that we must begin the debate now!"
Recommended Reading: Wednesday editorial in the Wall Street Journal, "Obama's 'Grand Bargain' With Obama." He proposes tax reform with higher taxes and not much reform."
Six Ways to NOT Energize Manufacturing and Job Creation
As Rodney mentioned above, President Obama was back on the road this week with another speech focusing on "his proposals for boosting U.S. manufacturing and high-wage jobs." If those proposals look anything like the agenda he's been pursuing, he's facing a tough sell with American manufacturers who have repeatedly warned the president's policies are holding back economic growth and making it harder to create jobs. Here's how:
Blocking the Keystone Pipeline. President Obama gave opponents of the Keystone pipeline "reason for hope" recently when he told the New York Times "there is no evidence" that the project "would be a big jobs generator." The vast majority of Americans disagree. A recent National Journal survey found that "67 percent support building the pipeline" saying it "will ease America's dependence on Mideast oil and create jobs." The pipeline also has the backing of labor unions and manufacturers, who call it an "economic engine" that will create thousands of jobs.
Threatening a Government Shutdown Over More Tax Hikes. The White House is spoiling for a government shutdown, issuing veto threats aimed at rolling back the sequester he proposed, and extracting more tax hikes on American job creators. The National Association of Manufacturers says the president's tax hikes "will only fuel the headwinds manufacturers face, making them even less competitive and threatening economic growth and U.S. jobs."
Imposing a National Energy Tax. Last month, President Obama laid out his plan for a national energy tax that will have severe consequences for American power producers and the energy-intensive sectors, like manufacturing, that depend on them. According to a study released by the National Association of Manufacturers, the cumulative impact of several proposed Obama administration regulations "could cost, by conservative estimates, roughly $100 billion annually and more than 2 million jobs," and, in a worst case scenario, "more than 9 million jobs." The President's "war on coal" has already put thousands of Americans out of work, and puts more than 800,000 more jobs at risk.
Doubling Down on Failed "Stimulus' Spending. President Obama renewed his call for more "stimulus' spending last week, despite the failure of his first trillion-dollar "stimulus' to bring the unemployment rate down to five percent, as promised. Nearly 200 economists agree "the large structural deficit due to excessive government spending is hurting the economy," and addressing out-of-control spending is one of the keys to helping the economy grow and create job opportunities.
Implementing Obamacare. Labor unions have "grown frustrated and angry" about the president's health care law, warning that it will "destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class." According to one recent survey, 82 percent of American manufacturers cite "increased anxieties related to" the implementation of Obamacare as one of their top concerns.
Rolling Out Red Tape on Natural Gas Production. "A 2011 Pricewaterhouse Coopers study estimates that high rates of shale gas recovery could result in a million new manufacturing jobs by 2025," The New York Times reports, with the "potential to spark a manufacturing renaissance in the U.S." But, the Obama administration could put a stop to that with "burdensome, restrictive, unnecessary" regulations on hydraulic fracturing that would impose a one-size-fits-all policy on states that have been safely and effectively managing this type of energy production for years.
Recommended Reading: Sarah Kliff, writing in the Wednesday Washington Post about a Congressional Budget Office Report (CBO), "Obamacare mandate delay costs $12 billion, cuts insurance coverage."
Permanent "Fix" For Student Loan Clear Congress
America's college students are on the verge of getting much-needed relief as the House has now given final legislative approval to student loan reform legislation that -- according to the Associated Press -- "closely hews to what House Republicans passed earlier this year."
Indeed, "the plan is similar in principle to one the House passed" because student loan interest rates will be tied to the markets -- not politics and politicians. As TIME magazine notes, "the GOP-led House had first endorsed the idea of a variable rate in its own version of a student loan bill, which it passed in May."
Since then, the House-passed Smarter Solutions for Students Act got tangledup in gridlock and division in the Senate until last week when the Senate finally approved their version of the bill. The bill now headed to the President's desk is a permanent fix and it protects taxpayers by not adding to the deficit.
Recommended Reading: Gerald Seib writes that the Middle East"is much closer to a broad conflagration than most Americans realize." Read "In Mideast, Obama Finds He Has Limited Leverage. Escalating Violence in the Region Poses a Threat for the U.S. President" in the Wall Street Journal here.
Responding to Iran's Actions, Not Their Words
The House this week endorsed stronger economic sanctions against Iran, as the Islamic Republic continues to pursue a nuclear weapons capability. The House passed the Iran Nuclear Prevention Act (H.R. 850), cosponsored by Rodney, by a vote of 400-20. The measure broadens overall economic sanctions and compels countries that are currently purchasing crude oil from Iran to reduce their combined purchases of Iranian crude oil by a total of 1 million barrels per day within a year, further limits Iran's access to overseas foreign currency reserves and imposes additional shipping penalties to limit the ability of Iran to engage in international commerce.
"Iran's new President takes office this weekend and some people choose to interpret this as a hopeful sign," Rodney said. "However, we must respond to Iran's behavior, not its words. The new President is has a record of anti-Semitism and support of terrorism. We know Iran continues to flagrantly violate many UN Security Council resolutions calling for the suspension of its nuclear enrichment program and continues to deny inspectors access to suspected nuclear sites in Iran. This bill gives the President new tools to pressure Iran to change course before it is too late."
Salute: Brooklawn Middle School Flag Club, Ilene St. John, Betty Lou DeCroce
Thank you to Parsippany's Brooklawn Middle School Social Studies Teacher Joshua Weinstein and the members of the BMS Flag Club for their work to put the "glory" back in "Old Glory!"
Best wishes to former Freeholder Clerk Ilene St. John after 33 years of service to the people of Morris County!
Kudos to Assemblywoman Betty Lou DeCroce for being selected one of 50 state legislators nationwide to the Emerging Leaders Conference at the Darden School!