Today the House Republican Conference will meet at 10:00 AM. We'll keep you apprised of any developments.
Today In History: In 1958, the U.S. Congress passed legislation establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a civilian agency responsible for coordinating America's activities in space.
Birthdays: Rep. Jeff Denham, Julian McMahon, Geddy Lee, Martina McBride and Alexis de Tocqueville
Here is what’s in today’s Ledger ...
State Of Play: President Obama Continues To Demagogue On The Debt Limit
Krauthammer: The Boehner Plan’s Achievements Are Significant. Consider the Boehner Plan for debt reduction ... the plan’s achievements are significant. It is all cuts, no taxes. It establishes the precedent that debt-ceiling increases must be accompanied by equal spending cuts. And it provides half a year to both negotiate more fundamental reform (tax and entitlement) and keep the issue of debt reduction constantly in the public eye. ... two-stage debt-ceiling hike consisting of a half-year extension with dollar-for-dollar spending cuts, followed by intensive negotiations on entitlement and tax reform. It’s clean. It’s understandable. It’s veto-proof. ... what is the alternative? The Reid Plan with its purported $2 trillion of debt reduction? More than half of that comes from not continuing surge-level spending in Iraq and Afghanistan for the next 10 years. Ten years? We’re out of Iraq in 150 days. It’s all a preposterous “saving” from an entirely fictional expenditure. ... The Obama Plan? There is no Obama plan. ... Obama is desperate to share ownership of this failure. Economic dislocation from a debt-ceiling crisis nicely serves that purpose — if the Republicans play along. The perfect out: Those crazy Tea Partyers ruined the recovery! The Washington Post
A Simple Choice: Which Outcome Would President Obama Prefer?
- Is Obama hoping that House Republicans will pass their proposed legislation to raise the debt limit, not raise taxes, and not let him avoid another debt limit fight prior to Election Day, while trimming $3.6 trillion in deficit spending versus his 10-year budget (just in the bill’s initial stage, followed by another $1.6 trillion in spending cuts to follow if the debt ceiling is to be raised again)? Is he hoping for this result, knowing that passage of the GOP bill would give it the inside track in the legislative process and all but ensure that something not too far from it would soon end up on his desk — thereby forcing him either to sign it or else to take the preponderance of the blame for allowing the debt ceiling to be exceeded? The Weekly Standard
- Is Obama hoping that Democrats and a minority of Republicans will combine to defeat the GOP bill, thereby giving the Democratic-controlled Senate the inside track in the legislative process? If so, here is the likely outcome: Either Obama will get his requested $2.4 trillion extension to get through his reelection campaign (and thereby minimize talk of debt as he seeks reelection) — almost surely with fewer genuine spending cuts than the GOP bill contains, and with a higher percentage of defense cuts; or he’ll soon get the opportunity to tell the American people that the only reason we’ve hit the debt ceiling is because 41 Republicans filibustered in the Senate and prevented a vote on legislation that would have raised it, or (more likely) because not even 25 of the 240 House Republicans would join their Democratic colleagues in backing a debt ceiling increase (one that wouldn’t even raise “revenues”) that Democrats had passed through the Senate and which he, Obama, had been poised to sign? The Weekly Standard
Noonan: President Obama Isn’t Serious, Hasn’t Led, and Continues To Demagogue On The Debt Limit. And so his failures in the debt ceiling fight. He wasn't serious, he was only shrewd—and shrewdness wasn't enough. He demagogued the issue—no Social Security checks—until he was called out, and then went on the hustings spouting inanities. He left conservatives scratching their heads: They could have made a better, more moving case for the liberal ideal as translated into the modern moment, than he did. He never offered a plan. In a crisis he was merely sly. And no one likes sly, no one respects it. So he is losing a battle in which he had superior forces—the presidency, the U.S. senate. In the process he revealed that his foes have given him too much mystique. He is not a devil, an alien, a socialist. He is a loser. And this is America, where nobody loves a loser. The Wall Street Journal
The Obama Economy: President Obama’s Policies Have Failed To Create An Environment Conducive To Economic Growth
Dismal 2nd Quarter GDP Growth, 1st Quarter Growth Nearly Non-Existent. The U.S. economy grew at a weak rate of 1.3% from April through June, another sign that the recovery has faltered dramatically. The Commerce Department also scaled back its estimate of economic growth in the first quarter of the year to just 0.4%, the lowest figure since the severe recession technically ended in mid-2009. The Los Angeles Times
- Slow Economic Growth Opens The Door To Even Higher Unemployment Rates. The consensus forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg is that GDP rose at a 1.8 percent annual rate in the second quarter, about the same as the 1.9 percent rate of growth in the first quarter. Some leading forecasters—particularly those who update their estimates most frequently—have lowered their projections in the last few days as other data has trickled in. Macroeconomic Advisers, for example, projects growth was 1.3 percent last quarter. ... So, what happens to employment when the nation’s economic growth stays below that 2.5 percent rate, as it has in the first half of this year? The U.S. jobless rate has risen for three months straight. The Washington Post
Richmond Fed President: More Spending Isn’t The Key To Boosting Economic Growth. "The additional monetary stimulus initiated last November raised inflation and did little to improve real growth," Lacker told a gathering of business executives sponsored by the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce. "Given current inflation trends, additional monetary stimulus at this juncture seems likely to raise inflation to undesirably high levels and do little to spur real growth," he said. Reuters
Pro-Growth: A Way Forward – Unleash The Gazelles. Few outfits have devoted as much thought to growth economics, and among the insights of Messrs. Schramm and Litan is the centrality of startups and young businesses that create the most new jobs—those less than five years old. ... The Kauffman Foundation proposes a "startup act" to make it easier for new companies to survive and contribute to long-term growth. The Wall Street Journal
- Tax Reform: One key is making it easier to access the capital markets, at a lower cost, at early stages of business formation. Messrs. Schramm and Litan want to permanently waive any capital gains taxation for long-held investments in startups over their early years.
- Visa Reform: Another good idea is an unlimited annual supply of an "entrepreneurs visa" available to any immigrant who wanted to come to the U.S. to start a business, with a particular focus on newcomers with expertise in engineering, science and technology.
- End Ineffective and Burdensome Regulations: Still another proposal is regulatory reform. To "cleanse the books of inefficient and costly rules," any regulation that took more than $100 million from the private economy would lapse automatically after a decade.
Off The Beaten Path
Nintendo: Apple's Latest Prey – The Wall Street Journal
With $6 Million You Too Can Buy Your Own Prison – The Dallas Morning News
Classic: Facebook Leads Cops To Catch Criminal – The Associated Press