The GDP numbers out this morning show that the economy grew at a slower rate in 2011 than the year before. As National Journal plainly put it, “that’s not great news for President Obama” – or, more importantly, for the millions of Americans still unemployed and the small businesses that are trying to grow. The economic uncertainty created by the job-destroying policies of the Obama Administration are harming economic growth and job creation. Washington needs to send a bold signal to small business owners that America is open for business. House Republicans will continue to focus on policies that promote growth by eliminating the threat of costly red tape and higher taxes that are stifling small business job creation and growth. The President renewed his promise to get the economy moving again in the State of the Union, and now he needs to join us and take action to do so.
Today In History: In 1965, the Shelby GT 350, a version of a Ford Mustang sports car developed by the American auto racer and car designer Carroll Shelby was launched.
Birthdays: Rep. John Mica, Patton Oswalt, Lewis Carroll, Rosamund Pike, Jamal D. Ware and Jon Niznak
Here is what’s in today’s Ledger …
State Of Play: The Latest GDP Numbers Show It’s Time For President Obama To Focus On Small Business
GDP Growth For 2011 Nearly Half Of What Is Was In 2010 – It’s Time For President Obama To Adopt A Pro-Growth Agenda. "The economy ended 2011 on a fairly positive note, but the composition of growth in the last quarter is not favorable for growth early this year," said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody's Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Sweet made the comments before the report was released. For the whole of 2011, the economy grew 1.7 percent after expanding 3 percent the prior year. … About 23.7 million Americans are either out of work or underemployed. The shrinking labor force suggests the economy's long-term growth potential has slipped below 2.5 percent. A sustained growth pace of at least 3 percent would likely be needed to make noticeable headway in absorbing the unemployed and those who have given up the search for work. Reuters
Study Finds That Economic Policy Uncertainty Has Been “Extraordinarily High” During The Obama Administration. The U.S. economy has taken more than two years to claw its way back to producing the amount of goods and services it did just before the last recession. But what about all that "lost" growth? After slumps, growth usually sprints forward—allowing the economy to not only regain its previous peak but also add enough on top to make it seem as if no recession ever happened. After the early 1980s recession, for instance, the U.S. notched five straight quarters of over 7% growth, quickly putting the economy back on its previous expansion path. … A study by a trio of academic economists found that policy uncertainty has risen in recent years, and that periods of uncertainty have in the past corresponded with rising unemployment and slowing growth. "We do find that in the past two years, economic-policy uncertainty has been extraordinarily high," said Steven Davis, a University of Chicago professor who is one of the study's authors. The Wall Street Journal
85% Of Small Businesses Say The Economy Is On The Wrong Track, 82% Say Washington Needs To Get Out Of The Way. Around 85 percent of small business owners think the economy is on the wrong track. They’re not looking for more help from Washington, however. In fact, 82 percent said they want Washington to “get out of the way,” compared with 10 percent who’d appreciate a “helping hand.” They’re looking for more certainty from Washington — on regulations, debt reduction and tax policy — not new economic stimulus programs. ... Tampa Bay Business Journal
• Chairman Graves: House Republicans Are Focused On Stopping President Obama’s Regulatory Onslaught Against Small Business. Graves, who is also the chairman of Congress’ Small Business Committee, is critical of the president’s regulatory policy. He said committee is preparing to halt the Obama Administration from putting new regulation on businesses in place, at least until the economy turns around. “You actually have three hurdles – you have the litigation hurdle that’s out there,” said the Congressman. “You have the regulatory environment and obviously taxes. But what we hear most is that regulatory environment. It’s all the regulations being brought about through administrative action or regulatory authority.” His efforts to help small to medium size businesses continue next Wednesday when Graves’ Committee on Small Business will conduct a hearing in Washington, D.C. that will examine obstacles to small business job creation and economic growth. The Congressman said the hearing will tell committee members of the most pressing obstacles facing small businesses to narrow their focus, so they can work toward job creation and economic growth. Fox 4 Kansas City
With 1.7% growth in 2011, and growth expectations for 2012 not looking favorable. When will President Obama call on Senator Reid to act on the 27 House-passed bipartisan jobs bills that provide regulatory relief, economic certainty and boost job creation that are stalled in the Senate?
• View The List Of Bipartisan Bills Stalled In The Senate HERE
• View The House Republicans’ Plan To Provide Certainty For Small Business and Boost Job Creation HERE
State Of Play (2): The President’s “All Of The Above” Agenda Is Anything But …
Chairman Hastings: President Obama’s “Announcement” Doesn’t Open Any New Areas For Energy Production. Mr. Obama's energy policies, Mr. Hastings said, have destroyed jobs, caused a decline in U.S. oil and natural gas production and harmed local economies. "Announcing a scheduled lease sale that doesn't open any new areas for energy production and that should have happened a year ago shouldn't be a 'major announcement,'" Mr. Hastings said. "Unfortunately, President Obama seems to be in full campaign mode, taking credit for inherited energy success of his predecessors and attempting to create underserved fanfare for routine offshore energy lease sales that do not open any new areas of energy production." The Washington Times
• President Obama Continues To Delay and Prevent Lease Sales and Drilling Off The Coast Of Virginia. House Republicans are accusing President Obama of making a sham announcement to open nearly 38 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling, arguing that the same lease sale was already in the works before he took office. Ridiculing the president for touting the Gulf lease sales as a "major announcement," Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee said the Gulf of Mexico area in question was first set to be opened by the Bush administration, so Mr. Obama's decision to lift the embargo he put in place after the BP oil spill will do nothing to open new areas for exploration. Rep. Doc Hastings, a Washington Republican who chairs the panel, said the president has delayed or canceled multiple lease sales, including one off the Virginia Coast which was schedule for 2011 and is now delayed indefinitely. The Washington Times
President Obama Actions On Keystone Cede North American Oil To China. “We’re not going to cede the wind industry or the solar industry or the battery industry to China or Germany because we’re too timid to make that same commitment here in the United States,” Obama said during remarks at Buckley Air Force Base here. … House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) questioned how Obama could avoid making direct references to either Solyndra or the Keystone XL pipeline, which the president rejected earlier this month. “The silence speaks volumes about contrasting policy visions,” Upton said. Politico
Another Company Backed By The Obama Administration Files For Bankruptcy. Ener1, an electric car battery company that the Obama administration awarded a $118 million stimulus grant to expand its operations, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Thursday after being unable to repay pressing debts. The news comes one year after Vice President Biden visited the company’s new battery plant in Indiana to highlight its progress with federal funds. Ener1 is the third company to seek bankruptcy protection among those the Energy Department backed as part of the president’s signature program to invest in clean energy. Solyndra, a California solar-panel maker, and Beacon Power, a Massachusetts energy-storage firm, entered bankruptcy court proceedings in the fall, after having received taxpayer-guaranteed loans of $535 million and $43 million, respectively. The Washington Post
• Chairman Cliff Sterns: The Obama Administration’s Jobs Record Is Getting Worse By The Day and American Taxpayers Are Paying The Price. Jobs Record Is House Energy and Commerce subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), who has led the congressional investigation into Solyndra’s loan, called Ener1 part of the “growing list of failed companies that went belly up” with taxpayer money. “Sadly, the Department of Energy’s jobs record seems to grow worse by the day . . . and it is American taxpayers who are paying the price,” he said. The Washington Post
Another Political Charade? The Administration Won’t Release The Projected Revenue Number Associated With The Buffett Rule. President Barack Obama has left unanswered a major question about his Buffett Rule tax on millionaires: Just how much money would it raise? Administration officials are not releasing projected revenues from the much-hyped plan named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett. During the State of the Union address, Obama tied his proposal — which would tax those earning $1 million at a minimum of 30 percent — to cutting a deficit estimated to top $1.1 trillion for the fourth straight year. … “I’m not going to give you a schedule of how broad individual tax reform would break down and what impact it would have,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said at the Wednesday briefing. Republican lawmakers — noting the absence of real numbers — attacked the plan as a political charade, an attempt to score points in the November election instead of a serious policy to reduce federal debt. Politico