The Leader's Ledger

Posted by Brian Patrick on

Good morning,

Our nation faces a very serious jobs crisis as people across the country struggle with long-term joblessness and businesses are hampered by increasing economic uncertainty. Tonight, President Obama will address the nation before a joint session of Congress to present his ideas for job creation and getting the economy back on track. In a divided government, our challenge is not to let our differences prevent us from making progress on what the people sent us here to do - and that is to grow this economy and make Washington work again. We must work together to do what is best for the country by focusing on areas of agreement including regulatory reform, improvements to our nation’s infrastructure, and programs to get Americans back to work. As Leader Cantor said yesterday, good people can disagree, and we must focus on areas of commonality and transcend differences to deliver results for the people of this country.

Today In History: In 1986, The Oprah Winfrey Show is broadcast nationally for the first time. A huge success, her daytime television talk show turns Winfrey into one of the most powerful, wealthy people in show business and, arguably, the most influential woman in America.

Birthdays: Rep. Mike Simpson, Patsy Cline, Pink, Brooke Burke and Richard Cullen

Here is what’s in today’s Ledger ...

State Of Play: Cantor, House Republicans Strike New Tone, Focus On Areas Of Common Ground

 House GOP Strikes A New Tone Towards President Obama. Coming out of one of the most brutal stretches of partisan warfare in recent memory, House GOP leaders are pushing a definitive — and surprising — shift in how they deal with a president they’ve so often publicly skewered during the previous 2½ years. The plan is to let Obama’s policies stand on their own, refrain from personal attacks and try to highlight areas where they might find common ground. ... Cantor already reflected a different tone in an interview with POLITICO on Wednesday. “This is [a] situation where I think it’s very needed right now,” Cantor said about bipartisan cooperation. “And the president needs to join us in that. Because, unfortunately, he’s the one that has been giving these speeches, as late as Monday, that we’re putting politics before country. Again, good people can disagree.” ... Cantor added: “[Obama] still disagrees with us on the way to create jobs, but there are some elements — perhaps incremental, perhaps not the type of comprehensive agreement that we would hope to have. But if we have disagreements, we need to find something to agree on.” Politico

Cantor Strikes Civil Note Before Obama Jobs Speech. Striking a conciliatory tone the day before President Barack Obama comes to Capitol Hill to reveal his jobs plan, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor left the door open to working with him on some of the proposals he's expected to present in his address to a joint session of Congress Thursday evening. ... The No. 2 House Republican noted the GOP continues to have a major difference of opinion with the president on the best way to create jobs, citing his party's opposition to the president's 2009 stimulus. But moving forward, Cantor stressed, "We've got to focus on areas of commonality, try and transcend differences here. I think we need to build consensus and that's going to require us all not to impugn motives or to question patriotism." ... Cantor reiterated that House Republicans will move forward with their own agenda to facilitate growth in the short term -- rolling back regulations they believe are anti-business and providing small businesses a tax cut to encourage them to hire more new workers. CNN

State Of Play (2): President Obama To Address Congress, Call For More Stimulus

President Obama To Put Forward Recycled Infrastructure Spending, Same Stimulus Style Spending That Failed To Create Jobs The First Time Around. Sources knowledgeable about the administration proposals say Obama might seek to fast-track up to $50 billion in infrastructure spending in the next year as part of a broader transportation package, an idea he first proposed a year ago but which failed to gain traction. ... A January 2010 Associated Press analysis of Recovery Act found spending on roads and bridges “had no effect on local unemployment and only barely helped the beleaguered construction industry,” regardless of how many dollars lawmakers threw at the various projects. ABC News

“A Gap Between Theory and Practice” - New Research Explains Why The Original Stimulus Failed. Even zero jobs growth in August doesn't seem to have disrupted President Obama's faith in the economic policies of his first three years, so one theme we'll be listening for in tonight's speech is how he explains the current moment. Why did his first jobs plan—the $825 billion stimulus—so quickly result in the need for another jobs plan? ... In the first paper, the authors survey 85 different businesses, nonprofits and local governments across the country and conclude that "As is often the case when economic models are transferred from the blackboard to actual public policy, there was a gap between theory and practice."

  • The Stimulus Did Not “Save or Create” As Many Jobs As The Administration Claims. The second paper suggests that the stimulus did not "create or save" nearly as many jobs as the models indicate. On the basis of 1,300 interviews, Messrs. Jones and Rothschild estimate that merely 42.1% of the firms that received grants hired people who were unemployed. Instead, they poached workers from their competitors. "This suggests just how hard it is for Keynesian job creation to work in a modern, expertise-based economy," they write. The stimulus "was implemented at a time when the Keynesian model had every chance of succeeding on its own terms. The high level of unemployment and the rapid deadline for spending created both the supply of workers and the demand for workers. If the job market results are so lackluster in this setting, economists should expect even weaker stimulative results during more modest recessions." The lesson of such on-the-ground knowledge is that the stimulus was a lost opportunity. In practice it became a shotgun marriage between an economic theory justified by computer models and 40 years of liberal social priorities (clean energy, Medicaid expansions and the rest). This produced the 9.1% unemployment we now have. The Wall Street Journal

Democrats Skeptical Of The President’s Speech. Even some Democrats are cynical about the prospect of another whip-cream speech — tasty but not filling. “The question isn’t, what will the speech say. The question is, what does he do after the speech is over,” a Democratic aide said. Politico

“Ardent Supporters” Of The President Question Whether The President’s Plan Will Work. Even ardent supporters of the president wonder whether the new jobs plan will be adequate to turn around perceptions of his presidency. Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) said Obama called him Tuesday and spoke in general terms about the forthcoming proposals. Given the history of the stimulus — a $787-billion package passed in early 2009 that may have kept the economy from getting drastically worse but didn't cure it — there's no guarantee the new plan will make much of a dent, Durbin said. The Los Angeles Times

The Economy: Tonight’s Speech Presents President Obama With A Unique Opportunity To Embrace Pro-Growth Plan

Jobless Claims Rise More Than Expected. Applications for unemployment benefits rose to 414,000 in the week ending September 3 from an upwardly revised 412,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Wall Street analysts had been looking for a dip to 405,000. ... U.S. employment growth ground to a halt in August, with zero net job creation raising fears of a new recession ... Reuters

U.S. Growth Outlook Slashed, Risk Of “Negative Growth” On The Rise. "Growth is turning out to be much slower than we thought three months ago, and given the high uncertainty, the risk of a period of negative growth ... has gone up," OECD chief economist Pier Carlo Padoan said. U.S. growth is set to be much weaker than previously forecast by the OECD at 1.1% in the third quarter and 0.4% in the fourth, compared with forecasts of 2.9% and 3% at the end of May. The Wall Street Journal

Lack Of Growth and Job Creation Have Forecasters Placing Odds Of A Double Dip Recession At 50-50. Double Sip Over the last 50 years, every time that job growth has been as meager as it has been over the last four months, the economy has been headed toward recession, in a recession or in the immediate aftermath of one. ... “The chances that we are in something that is going to feel like a recession are close to 100 percent,” said Joshua Shapiro of MFR Inc. in New York, who has diagnosed the economy more accurately than many other forecasters lately. “Whether we reach the technical definition” — which is determined by a committee of academic economists and based on gross domestic product, employment and other factors — “I think is probably close to 50-50.” ... Over the last four months, job creation has slowed to an average of just 40,000 jobs, or 0.1 percent, according to the Labor Department’s survey of employers. The last time such a meager increase did not coincide with a recession came in the 1950s. The New York Times

Committee Check

Video Alert: From Republicans On The House Armed Services Committee - Providing for the Common Defense: The U.S. Military 10 Years After 9/11 – Watch It HERE

Off The Beaten Path

Bear Carjacks Prius – The Contra Costa Times

Darth Vader Robs Gas Station, Flees On Bike ... But Can’t Escape The Force – STV Scotland

Visual: Some Awesome Art

GOP Health Care Reforms