The Week Just Past: "Summer Re-Runs"
"President Obama took to the road again this week for another one of his patented campaign-style speeches. This time, he went to Illinois where he "pivoted' to jobs and the economy. (I am told that this was the President's 19th such pivot, but who's counting?)
"Although it took over an hour to deliver, it turned out that the President's speech contained really nothing new. In effect, it was a "summer re-run' of the same old policies that have already failed, namely more stimulus spending fueled by more taxes.
"It goes without saying that stripping money out of one area of the economy through higher taxes and spending that money in another segment of the economy through the government does not create economic growth.
"I think we'd all agree that the "official' unemployment rate is still way too high at 7.6 percent and the "unofficial' jobless rate is much higher, in the neighborhood of 10-12 percent! And yet, the President mentioned "unemployment' only once in his speech.
"For your information, I have included in this eNews a compilation of some key economic statistics.
"The President wants to blame budget sequestration for the weak recovery. The main reason the economy continues to grow below its potential is the uncertainty businesses feel because of the President's own policies. Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation are making it impossible for businesses to plan and certainly making it difficult to hire.
"The House of Representatives has been working to improve economic growth and job creation since 2009. It's time the President left the campaign trail and sat down and worked with us."
Economic Facts Tell the Story
The latest jobs report continues to show the economy plodding along at an anemic pace.
In June, the unemployment rate was at 7.6 percent.
Number of unemployed workers is 11.8 million.
Number of workers working part-time for economic reasons is 8.2 million.
Since 2009, the average duration of unemployment has almost doubled from 19.8 weeks to 35.6 weeks.
President Obama's 'economic recovery' has produced 3.95 million fewer jobs than the average economic recovery.
The Obama Administration's economic policies have not been kind to the "middle class."
Most recent Labor Department statistics show median earnings have fallen 4 percent since the recession ended, after adjusting for inflation.
Gas Prices are up 19 cents from a year ago.
Per capita disposable income has increased by only 2.3% since June 2009, well below the average for an economic recovery.
Manufacturing and Construction
When in doubt, the President seems to always turn to manufacturing and the housing market. Unfortunately, those markets have not done so well under his Administration.
Since President Obama Took Office, we have lost 742,000 construction jobs.
Since President Obama Took Office, we have lost 592,000 manufacturing jobs.
Finally, the President is focusing on rising health care costs and his plan to "lower them" for the middle class. As we have seen since 2010, the President's health care law has only hurt the middle class.
The individual health insurance market may face premium increases of nearly 100 percent on average, with potential highs eclipsing 400 percent.
Small businesses can expect average premium increases in the small group market of up to 50 percent, with potential highs over 100 percent.
Senate Finally Acts on Student Loans
The U.S. Senate has finally passed a bill that would tie federal student loan interest rates to the government's borrowing rate.
The bill (HR 1911) would add 2.05 percentage points to the rate for both the subsidized and unsubsidized portions of undergraduate loans, 3.6 points for graduate loans and 4.6 points for PLUS loans.
"I'm pleased that the Senate has finally joined the House to pass a bill to provide a permanent, market-based solution on student loans," Rodney said. "This bipartisan agreement is a victory for students, for parents, and for the taxpayer."
The Senate-passed measure is consistent with the bill the House passed back in May.
The House is expected to approve the legislation next week.
Recommended Reading: Tuesday editorial in the Wall Street Journal: "Republicans for Snowden."
House Bill Bolsters National Security
The U.S. House this week approved the fiscal year 2014 Defense Appropriations bill (H.R. 2397) by a strong bipartisan vote of 315 to 109. The legislation includes funding for critical national security needs, and provides the resources needed to continue the nation's military efforts abroad. In addition, the bill provides essential funding for health and quality of life programs for the men and women of the Armed Forces and their families.
"This is a responsible bill which properly supports military readiness, funds critical security programs, and provides for the needs of our troops and their families," said Rodney, the Vice-Chair of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee which wrote the legislation. "The Defense Appropriations bill is critically important to ensuring that America continues to have the most capable and superior military in the world while taking steps to save taxpayer dollars without undermining the safety, security, or success of our armed forces."
In total, the bill provides $512.5 billion in non-war funding, a decrease of $5.1 billion below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level and $3.4 billion below the President's request. The bill also includes $85.8 billion in funding for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO).
The Senate has yet to act on its version of the Defense Appropriations Act.
Recommended Reading:Thomas Friedman, writing in the Wednesday New York Times, "Egypt's Three Revolutions."
This Week's Salutes: Junior League, St. Clare's, W. Orange Fellow
Kudos to Library of Congress Fellow Neethi Chilaka of West Orange who's researching Union soldiers being held captive in the notorious Civil War prison at Andersonville, Georgia.
Congratulations to the Junior League of Morristown which is celebrating 75 years of service. Read Rodney's statement in the Congressional Record here.
Thanks to St. Clare's Health System for being a integral part of our community for 60 years!