1) The Week Just Past: A Deficit of Presidential Leadership Hurts Jobs
2) But Will they Read the Report at the White House????
3) Another Reason to "Read the Bills"!
4) National Parks Award for Rodney
The Week Just Past: A Deficit of Presidential Leadership Hurts Jobs
"The Federal Reserve confirmed this week what most of my constituents in New Jersey already know: the economy is slowing down. Again.
"Officials at "The Fed' marked down their forecasts for economic growth this week, saying they now expect the U.S. economy to grow just 2.8 percent in 2011. Two months ago, they predicted that our economy would grow at 3.3 percent this year.
"The Fed is acknowledging that the economic recovery has lost momentum. The economic recovery is continuing "somewhat more slowly than the Committee had expected.' That means, unemployment will take longer to come down than forecast in April, hitting around 8.2 percent at the end of 2012, rather than 7.6 percent.
"At the same time, the Congressional Budget Office was releasing an alarming new report on the future U.S. debt load and its harmful effects on job creation in the future and today!
"By most historical standards, America ought to be back to work by now, but reports like these show why we are not. On top of a crushing level of debt, unemployment has been above 8 percent for 28 straight months--the longest jobless streak since the Great Depression.
"These are exceedingly tough times for the American people and the harsh reality is that things will not get better until we confront and control our out-of-control debt. In President Obama's first term alone, the CBO predicts that our public debt will have increased by nearly 84 percent.
"America is experiencing a severe deficit of jobs and a significant deficit of economic certainty, all caused by a severe deficit in fiscal leadership.
"Before it's too late, I hope the White House will join us in the House of Representatives and commit to spurring job creation, reviving our economy, and restoring consumer confidence by actions, not words."
Recommended Reading I: Economist Michael Boskin, writing in the Monday Wall Street Journal,"Five Lessons for Deficit Busters. A recent study of successful deficit reductions found they averaged more than $5 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax hikes."
But Will they Read the Report at the White House????
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report this week that all Americans should read. In its latest update of The Long-Term Budget Outlook, the CBO provides an overview of the looming debt crisis, the prospect of which is hindering economic recovery and job creation TODAY!
CBO's report includes several key findings:
* Government spending as a share of the economy will increase by nearly 70 percent between now and 2035, up from its historical average of roughly 20 percent. Taxes are projected to rise to the historical average in the years ahead, yet the unprecedented growth in government spending is projected to rise much faster, driving an unsustainable explosion in debt.
* The crushing burden of debt is driven primarily by the nation's largest entitlement programs -- Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid -- along with the compounding growth in interest payments on the federal debt.
* The federal government's interest payments alone are projected to consume 9 percent of our entire economy by 2035, up from about 1 percent today.
* The long-term budget outlook continues to worsen with each passing year Congress fails to act. While total debt will overtake the size of the entire US economy this year, debt held by the public will eclipse the economy by the year 2021.
"The developing debt crisis is not just a problem for the future," Rodney said. "It is actively hurting job creation today, as businessmen and women hold back on their expansion plans due to their worry that we are headed for a future of massive tax increases and higher interest rates. So, in addition to the debt crisis, there is also a crisis of confidence that is hampering job creation today!"
The scariest "take-away" from the CBO report: our debt has put us on the same path as Greece! We're now "Athens on the Potomac!"
Our uncontrolled debt has increased the chances of a fiscal crisis in which investors would be unwilling to loan more money to the government.
According to CBO, in the face of such a crisis, "the government would need to undertake some combination of three actions: restructuring its debt (that is, seeking to modify the contractual terms of its existing obligations); pursuing inflationary monetary policy (that is, increasing the supply of money); and adopting an austerity program of spending cuts and tax increases."
Another Reason to "Read the Bills"!
The Associated Press this week wrote about another serious flaw in the massive new health care law that had gone undiscovered until after the legislation was signed into law by the President. The AP reported that "Obama's health care law would let several million middle class people get nearly free insurance meant for the poor, a twist government number crunchers say they discovered only after the complex bill was signed."
This new group of Medicaid beneficiaries--early retirees--will now be able to retire at the age of 62 and collect Social Security while also using Medicaid -- a program designed to provide our nation's most vulnerable citizens the health care they need. As a result of the new law's loopholes, married couples at nearly four times the federal poverty level will now qualify for Medicaid. Not only does it allow these couples to receive free health care, it bans states like New Jersey from adjusting their eligibility requirements.
A change that would potentially increase the number of Medicaid-eligible people by 5 million or more should have been discussed and debated BEFORE the bill was voted on in Congress!
Recommended Reading II: Geoff Golvin, writing in the Washington Post this week, "We're Not Dummies, so why can't we fix Medicare once and for all?"
National Parks Award For Rodney
The National Parks Conservation Association (NCPA) this week honored Rodney and 33 other Members of Congress for their votes to enhance the National Park System.
"These members of Congress have demonstrated a solid commitment to trying to protect and improve the National Park System so it can better represent the history and culture of our diversifying nation," said Tom Kiernan, president of the NPCA.
"America's National Parks connect us to our history and culture. It is very important that we take every opportunity preserve our past," Rodney said.
"Morristown National Historical Park, the oldest such park in the nation, is a prime example of how we protect our heritage for future generations."