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Blog: The Leader's Ledger


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Good Morning,

As economists point out today, "the darker jobs picture can no longer be chalked up to weather." No matter the temperature outside, the reality is the stalled economy reflects the President's failure to commit to a common sense, pro-growth plan that would get the economy moving again. Instead, President Obama operates in fits and starts. Nearly a year ago, the President wagged his finger at Congress, saying he couldn't wait to work on jobs and then he allowed over 30 House-passed jobs bills to languish in the Senate. Last month, the President handed Congress a jobs "to-do" list that lacks the support of either party. In contrast, House Republicans have remained constant in promoting our vision to take the country forward by passing solutions that remove the biggest obstacles to growth and hiring: regulations and taxes. We will continue to drive measures that will bring down these barriers to give job creators the certainty they need to invest in their businesses, expand, and create jobs. We need to the President abandon his erratic economic policies and work with us.

Today In History: In 1919, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote, was passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification.

Birthdays: Sen. Mike Lee, Lori Ann LaRocco, Angelina Jolie, Robert S. Kimbrough, Tori Praver, Russell Brand, Horatio Sanz. This weekend: Ben Cassidy and Zach Zagar.

Here are the Top 6 things you need to know today…

1. State Of Play: Dem Economist: Uncertainty Preventing Businesses From Hiring And Investing.The recession officially ended three years ago, but the 'recovery' has been a frustrating mix of good and bad news. The economy isn't careening into a ditch. It's just stuck firmly in the slow lane. A disappointing report on the job market Friday dashed hopes that a halting recovery would finally take off and generate hundreds of thousands more jobs every month. Though the economy is growing, it still doesn't feel that way for millions of Americans who are unemployed or whose wages are barely rising. That could hurt President Obama's re-election chances… In the first quarter, CEOs' outlook for spending and hiring improved sharply from the fourth quarter, according to a Business Roundtable survey. But a cloud of uncertainty has grown larger the past few months. The growth in business investment in equipment and software has slowed from an annual pace of 16.2% in the third quarter of 2011 to 3.9% in the first quarter. "My sense is, business people have been through a lot, and their collective psyche is very fragile," Zandi says. "If anything goes off script, they stop" hiring and investing. USA Today

2. Jobs Fallout: Romney Advisor: President Obama's Economic Policies, Excessive Regulations Are "Hostile To Job Creators." "The problem is this Administration and this President's policies are hostile to job creators and we see that on any number of fronts, whether it's the excessive regulations and mandates. The mandate in the President's health care bill alone was estimated to cost 850,000 jobs in or economy by the Congressional Budget Office. You look at the Keystone pipeline decision which would have had an immediate impact on job creation. The proposed tax increases on job creators. This is a hostile environment for job creation in our economy and that's why, frankly, it has a sense of urgency in terms of this year's election to be able to turn things around because the only thing that's going to change it are changing the policies and that means changing the person in the White House. FOX News Sunday

3. The Economy: Former Obama Advisor Admits: "Nobody Is Happy" With Pace Of Job Growth.Former Obama auto bailout czar Steven Rattner defended the Administration's handling of the economy Sunday, saying that while "nobody is happy" with the current pace of job creation, the President was leading the nation on the path to recovery. "Nobody is happy with the rate of job creation today. I believe that without the policies that the president put in place, we would not even have this level of job creation," said Rattner on Fox News Sunday. Friday's jobs report showed the economy only added 69,000 jobs in May, with the unemployment rate rising to 8.2 percent. The figures are a worrying sign to many on the Obama campaign with polls consistently showing that voters rank the economy as the most important issue. The Hill

4. Obamanomics: Editorial: President Obama's Economic Policies Are The Problem, Historic Burst Of Regulations Have Hurt Business Confidence And Job Creation. On Friday the White House blamed the third slowdown of its four-year term on Republicans for blocking the President's policies, but what policies are they talking about? In his first two years in office, Democrats gave Mr. Obama everything he wanted, save for cap and trade and union card-check, which would have done even more harm to job creation. They passed stimulus, ObamaCare, multiple housing bailouts, Dodd-Frank and more. Even after Republicans took the House, they gave Mr. Obama the payroll tax holiday he demanded first for 2011 and again for 2012. Far from some new fiscal "austerity," overall federal spending hasn't declined. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has delivered monetary stimulus after stimulus--QE I, QE II, Operation Twist, and 42 months of near-zero interest rates with the promise of 30 months more. Mr. Obama has had the freest run of policy of any President since LBJ. So maybe the problem is the policies. Maybe Milton Friedman was right that "temporary, targeted" tax cuts don't change the incentives to invest or hire because people aren't stupid. Maybe each $1 of new federal spending doesn't produce a "multiplier" of 1.5 times that in added output. Maybe the historic burst of regulation of the last three years has harmed business confidence and job creation. And maybe the uncertainty that comes from helter-skelter fiscal and monetary policy has dampened the animal spirits needed for a durable expansion…Far more constructive would be a bipartisan attempt to remove the tax cliff that the economy is rolling toward in January 2013. One of the biggest fears among investors and businesses is that tax rates on capital gains, dividends and personal income are all scheduled to go way up at the same time. Wall Street Journal

5. Small Biz: Environment Of Higher Taxes, Increased Regulation, Excessive Government Spending Holding Back The Private Sector. This mixed data is a result of the Obama Administration's policy environment, according to Chief Economist Ray Keating of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council. "The story of uneven, under-performing job creation is not surprising. It's exactly what we should expect given a policy environment emphasizing higher taxes, increased regulation, excessive government spending crowding out the private sector, and a lack of leadership on trade," Keating said in a statement. "The U.S. economy desperately needs a change in public policy to ignite entrepreneurship and investment, and the economic growth and job creation that result. If that does not happen, we all better get used to slow growth and poor job creation." Lending to small businesses also fell for in April, according to a study from PayNet, a research firm that follows lending to small firms. Lending fell 2% in April, following a 3% drop in March. FOX Business

6. Keeping Tabs: Democratic Whip Hoyer Agrees With Former President Clinton, Private Equity, Free Enterprise Is Important. "I think President Clinton is correct, private equity is a very important aspect of growing our economy. Obviously, there's good practices in private equity, there are bad practices. You criticize bad practices, but not the whole enterprise itself." CNBC

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