The Leader's Ledger

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Good morning,

Today, the House honored Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. As she leaves Washington to focus full time on her recovery, she can be assured that the House will never forget her service and dedication to Arizona and our nation. As Leader Cantor just said, “I know I speak for all of my colleagues when I say we are inspired, hopeful, and blessed for the incredible progress that Gabby has made in her recovery. Gabby’s courage, strength and her downright fortitude are an inspiration to all of us and all Americans.”

Today In History: In 1924, the first Winter Olympics take off in style at Chamonix in the French Alps. Spectators were thrilled by the ski jump and bobsled as well as 12 other events involving a total of six sports. The "International Winter Sports Week," as it was known, was a great success, and in 1928 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially designated the Winter Games, staged in St. Moritz, Switzerland, as the second Winter Olympics.

Birthdays: Dominik Hasek, Chris Chelios, Alicia Keys, Ernie Harwell, the late Etta James, Freddy Barnes and The Winter Olympics

Here is what’s in today’s Ledger …

State Of Play: President Obama’s Failed Economic Policies Were On Full Display During Last Night’s State Of The Union

Majority Leader Cantor: Small Businesses Are The Backbone Of America. “I don't think anyone wants to pay higher taxes. I think the reason why Warren Buffett's secretary and so many millions of other Americans are frustrated is they see policies that have been promoted for the last three years by this White House that, frankly, don't work. What do most people do when you reach a point and see that things aren't working? You try something new. That's what we're trying to advocate, we've got a bold vision for this country on how to focus on a growth oriented, small business perspective. Let's get out of the mind-set of saying that Washington’s got to start this program and initiate some other new project, because that's not what America is built on. The backbone of America has to do with the aspirational sense of small business in this country. That's where jobs come from. That's what people want to see. Hopefully, we can come together on that simple notion that small business is the backbone of America and we've got to provide the actual vision and the policies that can allow them to start up again and grow.” CBS This Morning

President Obama Failed To Focus On The Engine Of Job Creation – President Obama only mentioned the term “Small Business” a mere 3 times in his State of The Union Address.

Leader Cantor: President Obama’s Speech Lacked The Bold Vision Necessary For Economic Growth. “I thought the speech lacked the type of bold vision that we're looking for as a new majority in the House of Representatives. … I think the proof's in the pudding and the results are just not there. As far as that thinking and the policies that are supported by that thinking. That's what the President has been promoting all along, and again, what we see is these policies don't work. The recovery that we're all hoping will strengthen has not strengthened, because these policies haven't worked. So let's try something different. That's why what you're hearing out of our House Republican Majority is a bold vision for growth. We shouldn't be settling for this goal of 2% to 3% growth. We should be at 5% or more. The way we're going to do that is we're going to unleash the willingness for people to begin it take risks again, to jump back into the game and in terms of investing capital, not Washington doing it.” CNBC’s Squawk Box

President Obama Attempted To Divert Attention Away From His Failed Economic Agenda. Normally a President at the start of his fourth year would be running on his record, accentuating the legislation he's passed. Mr. Obama can't do that with any specificity because the economic recovery has been so weak and the legislation he has passed is so unpopular. … Meantime, as Mr. Obama begins his fourth year in power it's a good moment to recount the economic record that he'd rather not talk about. The President inherited a deep recession, but in political terms that should have been a blessing. History shows that the deeper the recession, the sharper the recovery, and Mr. Obama was poised to take credit for the economy's natural recuperative powers. Instead, we've had the weakest recovery since the Great Depression and stubbornly high joblessness. In the Obama recovery, growth has never exceeded 4% in any quarter and fell off markedly in mid-2010 through the third quarter of 2011. For the first nine months of 2011, growth averaged less than 1.2%. The economy finally picked up again in the fourth quarter, but still at a rate that is subpar for a recovery that long ago should have become robust and durable. The Wall Street Journal

The American People Understand President Obama’s Economic Policies Haven’t Delivered The Results Promised … 72% Of Americans Continue To Cite The Economy Getting Worse As Their Top Concern. Gallup

President Obama’s Poor Record On Jobs Caused Him To “Stretch” The Truth Even Further. Obama tries to inoculate himself from the inevitable charge by the eventual GOP presidential nominee that he has the worst job-creation record of any president since World War II. … As Obama noted, some 4 million jobs were lost at the start of his administration, putting him in a deep hole if he wants to show positive job growth in his presidency. But the nearly $1 trillion stimulus was passed into law in February, and so the carefully phrased claim of “we lost another four million before our policies were in full effect” is a stretch. That’s because it took a full nine months to run up 4 million in job losses, some eight months after the stimulus was passed into law—and some four months after the official end of the recession, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. (The 4 million in losses before Obama took office occurred in the previous nine months, not six months as the president stated.) The Washington Post


State Of Play (2): What President Obama Didn’t Talk About …

The Nation’s $15 Trillion Debt Got Nothing More Than A “Rhetorical Nod” From President Obama. Once again Mr. Obama slighted the threat that the federal deficit poses to the growth he said he wants. As with last year’s State of the Union speech, when he relegated the debt to a near-aside late in the speech, Mr. Obama did not go beyond a rhetorical nod to the issue. The Washington Post

President Obama Also Ignored His Pledge To “Cut The Deficit In Half” By The End Of His First Term. Obama February 24th, 2009: “Yesterday, I held a fiscal summit where I pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term in office.” Joint Address To Congress

The Cost Of Servicing The Debt Alone Is $4,200 Per Household. … the president gave shorter shrift to another obstacle to reviving the American dream, the nation's growing debt. The cost of servicing that debt alone is now $4,200 per household this year. Most of this borrowing is not being undertaken to defeat tyranny, build massive infrastructure programs or improve education. Rather, it is funding a yawning gap between historically low tax receipts and unaffordable spending on health care and retirement benefits. Taxing millionaires won't close the gap, and suggesting that it would is deceptive. USA Today

ObamaCare: President Obama’s Landmark Legislation “Got Barely A Passing Mention.” When it came to health, what was most surprising was how little President Obama had to say in his State of the Union address. His landmark 2010 health overhaul — whose fate is currently before the Supreme Court and whose repeal is the top priority for every GOP presidential candidate — got barely a passing mention. NPR

Chairman Upton: President Obama’s Silence On Keystone and The Jobs It Would Create Speaks Volumes. “President Obama talked of a future where we’re in control of our own energy, but time and again, he has blocked our ability to develop our vast energy resources and partner with North American allies to lessen our dependence on hostile regions of the world. The President said we need an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy, but his government’s policies are keeping supplies locked away and squeezing our power sector, making energy less reliable and less affordable for working families and businesses struggling to grow. He said a lot about energy at a time when the American people recognize the jobs and security that come with energy development, but he stayed silent on two of the most significant energy issues facing our nation today: the Keystone XL pipeline he rejected and the failed government gamble on Solyndra. The silence speaks volumes about contrasting policy visions. Press Release


State Of Play (3): There Is A Big Difference Between A Fair Shot and Trickle Down Government

Leader Cantor: Republicans Believe Everybody Should Have A Fair Shot To Achieve Success. “We believe that everybody should have a fair shot. No question that Republicans care about those who, frankly, are waking up this morning and don't know where their next meal is coming from. We have to make sure they're equipped with the necessary tools so they can gain a position on the ladder of success. We all believe in that fair shot. But to muddle the issue on taxes, about Warren Buffett and his secretary, is not very helpful in this debate. What we want to do is make sure that we really affect some change here and stop the policies that have been in place over the last three years that haven't worked. We know that our economy's not growing enough. We know we can do better. Republicans are putting together a bold vision for growth in the private sector, for small businesses of this country, so we can get the economy moving again and get people back to work.” CNN’s Starting Point

Leader Cantor: Elected Leaders In Washington Should Be Trying To Ensure That Everyone Has A Fair Shot and The Opportunity To Earn Success Up The Ladder Rather Than Meeting In The Middle. “To me, what makes our country so special is that no matter who you are, where you come from or what your background is, in America, if you work hard and play by the rules everyone has a fair shot at earning success. That very American notion is being threatened by President Obama’s desire for government controlled equality and sweeping changes that aim to put Washington in charge of determining your opportunity. Rather than pushing for equality of outcomes, we need to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to succeed. There is a ladder of success in America, not built by Washington, but by hard work, responsibility and the initiative of the people of our country. So, instead of talking about a fair share or spending time trying to push those at the top down, elected leaders in Washington should be trying to ensure that everyone has a fair shot and the opportunity to earn success up the ladder rather than meeting in the middle.” Press Release

President Obama Delivered A Campaign Speech In Support Of His Grand Experiment In Trickle-Down Government. Daniels, a popular economic conservative, blasted Obama’s economic policies as a “grand experiment in trickle-down government” and “pro-poverty” efforts that have hampered the economy rather than helped. The governor, who took a pass on a presidential bid last year, cast the coming election as a critical moment. “So 2012 is a year of true opportunity, maybe our last, to restore an America of hope and upward mobility, and greater equality,” Daniels said. The Los Angeles-Times





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