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e-News May 14, 2010


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The Week Just Past: Global Trade = New Jersey Jobs!
A Shameful Budget Record
The Obvious: Cutting Spending, NOT Raising Taxes, Is More Effective At Reducing The Deficit.
Fannie and Freddie escape reform
Cost of the President's Health Overhaul Keeps Growing and Growing and Growing
Long Hill Student Wins Congressional Art Competition

The Week Just Past: Global Trade = New Jersey Jobs!

"The Congressional Leadership, comprised of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, allowed another week to slip by without focusing on the issue that matters most to Americans -- creating private sector jobs and employment opportunities. And this week presented a golden opportunity to promote exports and create jobs through international trade.

"Monday marked the third anniversary of a bipartisan accord on international labor and environmental standards that led to the signing of free trade agreements with South Korea and Panama. Today, unfortunately, these two agreements, along with another trade agreement with Colombia, are being held hostage by Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid who have refused to allow Congress an up-or-down vote.

"This is not just some esoteric philosophical dispute. With the "official' national unemployment rate near 10 percent and the "real' unemployment rate probably closer to 17 percent, these three agreements mean jobs! The National Association of Manufacturers estimates that passage of these three agreements could translate into as many as 80,000 jobs! These are permanent, high-value jobs -- not just new government jobs which must be sustained through our tax dollars.

"New Jersey, through the Port of New York and New Jersey, is well-positioned to take advantage of these agreements.

"While these important trade agreements languish, the victims of Washington politics, the economic toll continues to rise. More than 7.1 million jobs have been lost since Nancy Pelosi took control of Congress three years ago and 2.7 million jobs have been lost since the President signed his so-called "stimulus' plan into law.

"The American people want to know: "Where are the jobs?'

"Clearly, an aggressive trade policy is not a panacea for our economy, but exports clearly mean jobs! We know that the policies of higher taxes, runaway spending, government takeovers and record debt are having a chilling effect on the nation's job creators. Our country simply cannot afford to wait any longer for Washington to enact real solutions that will reduce spending and help put people back to work. We can't borrow, spend and tax our way back to a growing economy and we should not try."

Recommended Reading: Friday's editorial in the Washington Post on the Korea Free Trade Agreement: "From Sen. Kerry, a welcome plea for free trade with South Korea."

Recommended Reading II: Robert Samuelson writing in the May 12 edition of Newsweek says our national debt and trade deficits threaten sustained economic recovery.

A Shameful Budget Record

The federal budget deficit hit an all-time high for the month of April. The Treasury Department said Wednesday the April deficit soared to $82.7 billion, the largest imbalance for that month on record. That was significantly higher than last year's April deficit of $20 billion and far above the $30 billion deficit private economists had anticipated.

The government normally runs surpluses in April as millions of taxpayers file their income tax returns. However, income tax payments were down this April, reflecting the impact of the severe recession which has pushed millions of people out of work.

The back-to-back deficits in April marked a first, according to monthly budget records that go back to 1954. During that period, the government has run April surpluses in 43 of 56 years.
The Obama administration is forecasting that the deficit for this year will hit an all-time high of $1.56 trillion, surpassing the current record of $1.4 trillion set just last year.

The Obvious: Cutting Spending, NOT Raising Taxes, Is More Effective At Reducing The Deficit.

Reuters is reporting this week on a new Harvard University study that says cutting spending is better than raising taxes when it comes to cutting the federal budget deficit. A 2009 study by Harvard University's Alberto Alesina and Silvia Ardagna examined 40 years of debt reduction plans by advanced economies and found that "those based upon spending cuts and no tax increases are more likely to reduce deficits and debt over GDP ratios than those based upon tax increases." They're also associated with higher economic growth.

Fannie and Freddie escape reform

As it continues its extended debate on legislation designed to impose new regulations on Wall Street, the Senate approved an amendment this week to force the Federal Reserve to divulge details about its "emergency" lending activities since 2007. Rodney is a cosponsor of similar legislation in the House designed to provide unprecedented transparency to the Fed.

At the same time, the Senate continues to ignore the financial condition and responsible reforms for the government-owned housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Senate financial regulation bill does not even acknowledge the need to fix these government mortgage companies. As the Wall Street Journal wrote last week, "reforming the financial system without fixing Fannie and Freddie is like declaring a war on terror and ignoring al Qaeda."

Just this week, Fannie Mae asked the U.S. government for an additional $8.4 billion in aid after posting an $11.5 billion net loss for the first quarter. Fannie's losses reflected continuing weakness in the housing market and would have been worse without accounting changes that reduced its deficit. Fannie and Freddie have now racked up losses of nearly $145 billion, or nearly double their profits for the previous 35 years. While many of the nation's biggest banks have repaid their government loans and some are back to profitability, Fannie and Freddie are still suffering from the housing-market crisis.

Recommended Reading III: Tuesday's editorial in the Wall Street Journal "$145 Billion and Counting, Fannie and Freddie lose it all for you."

Cost of the President's Health Overhaul Keeps Growing and Growing and Growing

In another stark example of how the President's new health care law overspends and under-delivers, add another $115 billion to the price tag!

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a new analysis this week of the health care overhaul law, focusing on spending they had not previously quantified. The higher spending reflects increased administrative costs to the federal government for implementing and monitoring the new health law as well as a variety of new government grant programs.

All told, CBO predicts federal spending will increase by an additional $115 billion over their original cost estimate of the President's health law.

We can expect the true cost to grow even higher, since CBO noted this new estimate does not include 38 sections of grant programs, which cover 406 pages of legislation. While the authors of the law did not specify a funding level for these particular programs, they are certain to further increase spending.

Limits on Collecting Intelligence?

Read "Surveillance and Shahzad, Are wiretap limits making it harder to discover and pre-empt jihadists?" in Thursday's Wall Street Journal.

Recommended Reading V: Carl Bialik in Saturday's Wall Street Journal, "In Counting Illegal Immigrants, Certain Assumptions Apply."

Gillette Student Wins Congressional Art Competition

Christina Eng, a student at the Oak Knoll School in Summit, was declared the winner in the 2010 11th Congressional District Art Competition this week. Eng, a resident of Long Hill Township, painted the "Capitol Building in Winter" in water color on rice paper. Her work will hang in a corridor of the United States Capitol for one year.

Noting that 61 students from 21 schools across the 11th Congressional District participated this year's competition, Rodney said, "The annual Congressional Art Competition is an excellent opportunity to recognize the rich talents of our young people. I commend our local high schools for encouraging their students to showcase their artistic skills in this year's competition."

Austin Dimare of the Parsippany Christian School was designated as runner-up for "Italiano Donna." Elizabeth Frino of Pequannock Township High School's "Rock Star" won 3rd place.

"Honorable Mention" went to Sam Knopka of Roxbury High School, Bailey Theado of Madison High School and Chanthia Ma of Millburn High School.

Over 150 people attended the Congressional Art competition reception at the Morris Museum.

The annual Congressional Art Competition has been promoting America's young artists for 28 years.

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