1) The Week Just Past: A Stumbling Economy Cannot Produce Jobs
2) Three Reports in Three Weeks: More Bad News on Obamacare
3) A bi-partisan rebuke for the President's Libya Policy
4) NASA Comes Back to New Jersey: Astronaut Visits!
5) Women's Health Summit Monday
The Week Just Past: A Stumbling Economy Cannot Produce Jobs
"Just as the forecast began to clear a bit for our American economy, storm clouds are gathering on the horizon once again. And that means trouble for families, small businessmen and women and the thousands of New Jersey residents out of work for extended periods of time.
"The President declared this week that he's "not worried' about a double-dip recession. But he could be ignoring some important facts:
"Our economy grew by over 3 percent in the final three months of 2010. However, that growth dropped to a limp 1.8% in January, February and March of this year. And we're being told that most of that growth was caused by businesses replenishing their inventories rather than sales to consumers or other final buyers.
"Clearly, a sustained expansion that creates large numbers of new private sector jobs cannot be built on simply restocking warehouses and depots. It takes growing sales to actual consumers to prompt businesses to hire.
"That's probably why only 54,000 jobs were created in May, a large portion of these jobs being started at McDonald's!
"81 percent of all Americans know someone who has lost their job. And, as you can read by clicking on the link below, over 6 million Americans have been unemployed for over six months! That's over 45% of the "official' unemployed population! But we all know the "real' unemployment rate is not 9.1 percent. It's closer to 18 percent!
"Unfortunately, our economy will continue to stumble and sputter until there is a coherent economic policy coming out of the White House and Capitol Hill.
"That means bringing long-term deficits under control by cutting spending without raising tax rates;
"It also means spurring investment through lower tax rates on businesses and individuals to promote economic growth and hiring;
"It means getting government off the backs of job creators by clearing away many of the 43,000 new redundant, onerous and costly major regulations issued by the federal government at a cost of $26.5 billion last year -- the highest level since 1981;
"And it means opening new markets to American goods by implementing new trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
"These pro-growth actions are what we need to boost our economy, restore consumer confidence and get people back to work. The new Majority in the House is ready to act. But we need the White House and the Senate to act as well."
Recommended Reading: Why the nation needs a pro-growth agenda: over six million Americans have been out of work for over six months. CBS News reports that about 6.2 million Americans - 45.1 percent of all unemployed workers in this country - have been jobless for more than six months - a higher percentage than during the Great Depression.
Recommended Reading II: No president "runs" the U.S. economy, but President Obama sometimes talks like he does -- yet none of his economic promises or job predictions have panned out. Read Jonah Goldberg, in Tuesday's Los Angeles Times, "It's Obama's economy, stupid."
Recommended Reading III: In its Monday editorial, the Washington Post says passing free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Columbia would lead to more American jobs. In addition,the agreements are likely to prove a net plus for the U.S. economy when jobs are in short supply. And, if the United States fails to forge closer trade ties with these countries, competitors in Europe, Asia and the Americas will gladly take up the slack. Read "Free the Free Trade Agreements."
Three Reports in Three Weeks: More Bad News on Obamacare
A report released this week by the respected McKinsey Group, consistent with two other recent independent studies, reinforces the reality that too many employers, employees and their families are already facing: health care costs continue to increase BECAUSE OF THE NEW HEALTH CARE LAW, despite repeated promises from President Obama that his current health care overhaul would ensure that those who like their current health care coverage could keep it and that the law would reduce costs by $2,500 for the average American family.
According to the latest report, these cost increases are forcing many employers to reevaluate whether they can afford to maintain their health insurance plans for their workers.
The McKinsey report suggests that as employers see the negative effects the President's new health care law will have on employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI), employers will be forced to make serious changes to their current practices. Key findings from the report indicate:
* Overall, 30 percent of employers say they will definitely or probably stop offering health care coverage in the years after 2014.
* As awareness of the new health care law increases, so too does the likelihood of action. Among employers with a high awareness of the law, those saying they will stop offering coverage increases to more than 50 percent.
A recent Millman report examines the total cost of health care for a family of four covered by a common form of coverage, a Preferred Provider Plan (PPO), and health care costs paid by both the employer and the employee. Key findings of the Millman report indicate:
* A $1,319 increase in the total cost of health care coverage for a family of four compared to 2010 -- a 7.3% rise in health expenses.
* The new rules and regulations resulting from the President's health care law are aggravating existing challenges employers face in a sluggish economy noting, "employers will need to strike a careful balance between passing on more costs to employees versus potentially paying penalties based on affordability provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)."
Then there's the report by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) on medical cost trends for 2012 which provides a dismal forecast of continued increases that consumers will see in their health care costs. Key findings of the PWC report indicate:
* Medical costs are expected to increase. PWC expects medical costs to increase 8.5% in 2012, up from 8% in 2011.
* More Americans will NOT be able to keep the health care coverage they have and like, with the report noting that "some employers are becoming less confident in their ability to offer health benefits on a long term basis."
* 84% of employers are likely to makes changes to offset the costs associated with Obamacare;
* 86% are likely to re-evaluate their overall benefits strategy; and
* 50% are considering significantly changing or eliminating company subsidies for dependent medical coverage.
Three reports in three weeks by respected independent experts --each one reaching the same conclusion: the President's new health care law has made health care coverage more expensive and threatens to destroy the ability to "keep the coverage you have and like."
A bi-partisan rebuke for the President's Libya Policy
The House of Representatives last week sent the Obama administration a strong, bipartisan rebuke for failing to make the case for war in Libya or seeking Congressional authorization for military action. There was indeed ample Capitol Hill disagreement with the President's handling of Libya - for a variety of reasons. But there's more to the story than meets the eye.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton wrote "Obama's Libyan debacle could undercut U.S. credibility elsewhere" for the Washington Times and Senator Richard Lugar penned "The Obama administration's dangerous course on Libya," for the Washington Post.
Both accounts are well-written and disturbing to read.
NASA Comes Back to New Jersey: Astronaut Visits!
Rodney welcomed Navy Captain Lee M.A. Morin, a NASA astronaut, to several local schools on Tuesday. As part of his ongoing efforts to promote interest in math and science, Rodney escorted Captain Morin to Jefferson Elementary School in West Caldwell, Rockaway Meadow School in Parsippany, Mendham Township Elementary School in Brookside, and the Oak Street School in Basking Ridge.
"We believe, as do your teachers, in the value of math and science," Rodney told hundreds of students at the four schools. "Nothing we could be doing today in terms of space exploration could be done without those basic tools."
Captain Morin spoke to the boys and girls about his experiences as an astronaut and the contributions of space exploration to the advancement of human knowledge.
Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in April 1996, Morin served on the crew of STS-110 (2002) and has logged over 259 hours in space, including over 14 hours "spacewalking." After STS-110, he was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Health, Space, and Science with the Department of State in Washington D.C. After this tour, he returned to the Astronaut Office at Johnson Space Center. He is currently assigned to the Exploration Branch, where he is working on the cockpit of NASA's newest spacecraft, the Crew Exploration Vehicle.
Captain Morin also has served aboard the nuclear missile submarine U.S.S. Henry Jackson (SSBN-730) and as Flight Surgeon at Naval Air Station Pensacola and in Bahrain during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
Recommended Reading IV: Siobhan Gorman of the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Chinese cyberspies are now trying to gain access to computers belonging to U.S.-based China specialists and defense contractors who circulate in and out of government and talk regularly with those in power.
Women's Health Summit Monday
Rodney is the invited guest speaker at the HealthCare Institute of New Jersey's "Women's Health Summit" on Monday, June 13 at the Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown, from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon.
Sponsored by the HealthCare Institute of New Jersey, the Summit will focus on the latest research available to prevent illnesses that largely strike women, with a specific emphasis on chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, among others. The summit will provide an opportunity for women to interact with physicians and survivors and educate themselves about lifestyle changes that promote wellness and prevent disease.
Dr. Judith Fradkin, Director of the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, will discuss health promotion, focusing on the prevention of diabetes and obesity. Attendees will also hear from physicians from Morristown Medical Center, Somerset Medical Center, Chilton Hospital, St. Clare's Health System and St. Barnabas Medical Center about important steps that families can take to prevent chronic diseases and the best options for treatment.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in the United States:
* 7 out of 10 deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases. Heart disease, cancer and stroke account for more than 50% of all deaths each year;
* Almost 1 out of every 2 adults have at least one chronic illness;
* Obesity has become a major health concern. 1 in every 3 adults is obese and almost 1 in 5 youth between the ages of 6 and 19 is obese;
* 25% of people with chronic conditions have one or more daily activity limitations;
* Arthritis is the most common cause of disability, with nearly 19 million Americans reporting activity limitations;
* Diabetes continues to be the leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower-extremity amputations, and blindness among adults aged 20-74.
The Women's Health Summit will also feature free health screenings. Participants will have access to tests for blood pressure, body mass index, blood glucose, cholesterol, glaucoma, bone density and additional bio-mechanical assessments.
Reservations are required. Seating may be limited.