The Leader's Ledger

Posted by Brian Patrick on

Good morning, 

President Obama needs to be focused on helping create an environment for growth, but his actions repeatedly contradict his claim that he “can’t wait” to create jobs. Last week, the President refused to green light the Keystone pipeline project, placing 20,000 jobs in red-tape limbo and hindering domestic energy production. As a new poll shows 62% disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the economy, and the President and his Administration cannot continue to punt on job creation when millions of people remain unemployed. In contrast, House Republicans remain focused on removing the roadblocks to economic growth so we can return jobs and prosperity to our country.

Today In History: In 1851, Moby-Dick, a novel by Herman Melville about the voyage of the whaling ship Pequod, is published by Harper & Brothers in New York.

Birthdays: Condoleezza Rice, Prince Charles, Rev. Run, Travis Barker, and Claude Monet

Here is what’s in today’s Ledger ...

State Of Play: Americans Continue To Give President Obama Two Thumbs Down On The Economy  

Record High: Disapproval Of President Obama’s Handling Of The Economy Hits A New High. President Obama's ratings on the most important issue for his re-election -- the economy -- have posted the weakest showing of his presidency, according to a poll released Friday by CBS News. About 60 percent of voters said they disapprove of Mr. Obama's handling of the economy, the highest on record. Just 34 percent approve of the job he is doing on the matter. ... About 86 percent of respondents think the economy is in bad shape now with just 13 percent who see it in good shape. And just 18 percent see it getting better while 32 percent see it getting worse. CBS

Americans Continue To Overwhelmingly Rate President Obama’s Performance On The Economy As Poor. Overwhelmingly, voters continue to say Obama is performing poorly on the issue they care about most. About three-fifths of those polled identified the economy, jobs or spending as the single most important issue. Nationally, only 35 percent approved of how Obama is doing on the economy — down 3 points since September — compared with 62 percent who disapproved; 40 percent approved of his approach to jobs and just 33 percent approved of his handling of the budget, including spending and deficits. Politico

Change Very Few Believe In: Only 12% Of Americans Are Satisfied With The Direction The President Is Taking The Nation – The Same Percentage As When President Obama Took Office In 2009. Economic issues overshadow all others as Americans' primary concerns. Thirty-six percent say unemployment or jobs and 30% say the economy in general is the most important problem facing the United States. Only one other issue, dissatisfaction with government, is above 10%. ... The ongoing concern about the economy helps explain the high level of dissatisfaction with current conditions in the United States. Now, 12% of Americans are satisfied and 86% dissatisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. Satisfaction has ranged between 11% and 13% since August ... The only other times Gallup has measured satisfaction below 15% were in 1979 during the energy crisis, during the economic slowdown of 1992, and in 2008 and early 2009 -- most of which were recorded after the Wall Street financial crisis. In a perhaps ominous sign for Barack Obama as he seeks re-election next year, today's 12% satisfaction rating is no better than when he took office in January 2009. Satisfaction did rise in the early stages of the Obama administration, to as high as 36% in August 2009, but has since drifted back down. Gallup

The State Of Play (2): President Obama Chooses His Campaign Over American Workers

Editorial: President Obama Puts His Campaign Ahead Of Helping Put Americans Back To Work. The Obama administration's decision to postpone a ruling on the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline till 2013 is a poorly disguised political punt. The ruling has 2012 presidential politics written all over it, despite the environmental reasons given. ... We are among those who have had environmental questions about the project, which would bring heavy oil from Canada for refining on the Texas Gulf Coast. But over the weeks and months, those have been well and exhaustively addressed and satisfied. In our view, the response to the pipeline by the environmental community has been a myopic overreaction; it was wrong to put the president in this political vise. ... As experts have pointed out, its potential impact on the environment is nil. If the heavy oil is not allowed to flow into this country, it will be shipped to the West Coast for transit to the energy-omnivorous Chinese. And it creates friction with another influential constituency, organized labor. Many of those 20,000 jobs on the construction of the pipeline would have been filled by skilled union members. Eventually, the completed pipeline was expected to result in as many as 130,000 jobs, many of them on the upper Texas Coast, where the heavy oil would be refined into 700,000 barrels of oil daily. Postponement of a decision on Keystone is an opportunity missed for this administration to create needed jobs and enhance energy security. It is a shortsighted call. The Houston Chronicle

ICYMI – President Obama’s Keystone Cop-Out. President Obama used to be fond of "shovel-ready projects." He's also demanding that Congress pass his jobs bill immediately because 9% unemployment is a crisis, and, by the way, he's for making the U.S. less reliant on energy from tyrants. So how about putting 20,000 Americans to work on a North American energy project that's as shovel-ready as they come? Sorry, Mr. Obama is voting present. The $7 billion project is TransCanada's Keystone XL, a 1,700-mile underground pipeline that would deliver 830,000 barrels of heavy crude oil a day from Alberta to refineries in Oklahoma and Texas. TransCanada filed an application to build the pipeline in September 2008 with the State Department, which must approve it because the pipeline would cross the 49th parallel. In April 2010 and again this August, State produced multivolume environmental impact statements that concluded the pipeline would have "no significant impacts" on the environment. That should have ended the matter. The Wall Street Journal

Editorial: Does President Obama Really Care About Creating Jobs Or Just Saving His Own? President Obama President Barack Obama has been on a seemingly non-stop, jobs-themed re-election tour for months. Yet he just postponed for at least an additional two years the creation of thousands of high-paying, private-sector jobs building a pipeline to bring $15-a-barrel Canadian oil to American refineries. The political cynicism here is stupefying. It's a private project. Unlike solar and wind farm boondoggles, no federal subsidy would have been sought. Much of the pipe is already sitting in warehouses. It would be hard to envision a more "shovel-ready" project -- nor one better suited to reduce America's dependence on far more expensive oil imported from hostile foreign lands. ... Oh, please. This isn't about the environment. Modern pipelines leak sparingly, and when they do they can be easily shut down until repairs are made. The Environmental Impact Statement gave this project a "Go." If it hadn't been an "important aquifer," those who are against all development, who would like to see Americans' energy use and standard of living rolled back to 19th-century levels, would have turned up some weed or bug to focus on. ... Terry O'Sullivan, general president of the Laborers' International Union of North America, noted: "The administration chose to support environmentalists over jobs -- job-killers win, American workers lose." The Las Vegas-Review Journal

President Obama’s Decision On The Keystone Pipeline Demonstrates He’s In Full Campaign Mode. More evidence that the president is now in campaign mode comes from his announcement last week that he won't make a decision on the pipeline that will carry crude oil from the Canadian oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries until after his re-election bid is over. Keystone XL is a major infrastructure project of the sort Obama said he wanted for America when he proposed the $450 billion Stimulus II. The only difference is that the jobs will be entirely funded by private investment, and not taxpayer dollars. ... The oil from Canada could ultimately supplant much of the oil the United States imports from the Middle East and other unstable regions. It could give the country a measure of energy security. It moves crude far more energy efficiently than tankers do. And it could also help put America back to work. Obama's waffling may appease the president's base. But it's not likely to help him with the hundreds of thousands of Americans who want jobs, and want them now. The Detroit News

The Road Ahead: Not Time For Supercommittee To Raise Taxes

RSC Chairman Jordan: Democrats Say "Balance" Spending Cuts With Tax Hikes, But Balance Isn't "Half Right, Half Wrong." After an unprecedented spending binge, apologists for big government once again want to raise taxes to reduce the deficit. We've seen this before. ... Politicians are so addicted to spending, they can't even avoid the temptation to spend savings from relatively minor budget cuts. President Obama's recent plan to cut $100 million of waste within his administration won't actually save money because he's going to spend it elsewhere. That's deficit relocation, not deficit reduction. ... Tax hikes transfer wealth from producers to politicians. They give the Beltway crowd more chances to spend other people's money — certainly not the way to create jobs and grow our economy. Taxes should be fair, reward risk taking, and give people equal opportunity to chase down their dreams. They should not punish success to satisfy some false definition of "balance." ... Even President Obama has said that raising taxes is "the last thing you want to do" in a recession. Balance doesn't mean "half-right, half-wrong." It means you don't fall over. Our economy will have an even tougher time catching its balance if Washington raises taxes. USA Today

Clyburn Admits Democrats Are Not Unified Around Their Own Plan. “That is a Democrats’ plan, that is not the Democratic plan,” Clyburn said. “There are six Democrats on this committee, and although I have a great deal of admiration and respect for all of them, the fact of the matter is Democrats have not coalesced around a plan.” Politico

Keeping Tabs

President Obama Says No To Jobs, Domestic Energy Exploration and Energy Security In Virginia. The Obama administration's exclusion of Virginia from offshore oil-drilling lease sales comes as a disappointment to the state's public officials. Gov. Bob McDonnell, who had hoped to use some of the proceeds for transportation projects, blasted the decision. Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner, who introduced legislation this summer to expand the exploration zone off the state's coast, want the Interior Department to reconsider. Rep. Eric Cantor is on record favoring offshore exploration. ... "proven reserves" refers to the amount of oil that is commercially recoverable under current government regulations. In other words, no matter how much oil there is underground or underwater, it doesn't count if the government says it is off-limits — as it has just done to the Old Dominion. Earlier this year The Washington Post reported that "limited seismic work off Virginia's coast indicates that there is far more oil and natural gas offshore" than suggested by earlier surveys. Maybe, maybe not. Thanks to the Obama administration, we might never know. Richmond Times-Dispatch

Is The EPA Covering-Up Its Own Opinion On Grid Integrity? In a "What are the energy impacts?" section, the EPA concedes that it "is aware that concerns have been expressed by some, even in advance of this proposed rule, that this regulation may detrimentally impact the reliability of the electric grid." The agency admits that what it calls "sources integral to reliable operation" may be forced to shut down—those would be the coal-fired plants the EPA is targeting—and that these retirements "could result in localized reliability problems." The EPA insists that it knows how to balance "both clean air and electric reliability," but all along in public it has denied that reliability is in any way at risk. The draft document also "strongly encourages" the people who run the grid, like regional transmission operators and state regulators, to start planning "as soon as possible" for "potential retired units." The EPA recommends "transmission upgrades, targeted demand side management strategies, and construction of new generation." This helps to explain why even the EPA admits the utility rule is the most expensive it has ever proposed. But here's the kicker: This reliability section was gone when the EPA released its utility rule proposal in May 2011. Why did it vanish? Where did it go? The Wall Street Journal

A Growing Number Of Democrats Distance Themselves From President Obama, Refuse To Say If They Will Support Him. Sen. Joe Lieberman was treated like an outcast back in 2008 when he broke from the Senate Democratic Caucus and openly opposed Barack Obama’s bid for the White House. Asked last week if he’d back Obama in 2012, the Connecticut independent said, “I don’t know what I’m going to do.” This time around, there may be more Liebermans. A number of moderate Democrats like Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar and liberals like Sen. Bernie Sanders are declining to give their unqualified support for the president, saying they’re either too focused on their own races or are calling on the White House to cater to their agendas before they will offer an endorsement. Politico


GOP Health Care Reforms