The Leader's Ledger

Posted by Brian Patrick on

Good morning,

As last Friday’s jobs report showed, unemployment has stalled around 8.3%. Slow economic growth and weak job creation cannot remain the status quo. The majority of Americans disapprove of the President’s handling of economy, according to a new WaPo/ABC poll. Nowhere is this more clear than the increasing cost of gas. For a President who claimed he favors an “all-of-the-above” national energy policy, his lack of leadership on developing our domestic resources has contributed to rising gas prices that are burdening people across the country. Energy analysts predict the worst is yet to come, with “a likely peak in gasoline prices still as much as two or more months away.” American families cannot afford higher gas prices and the toll of long term joblessness. That’s why we need the President and his party to work with us on areas of common ground where we can boost economic growth, and help working families and small businesses.

Today In History: In 1933, eight days after his inauguration, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gives his first national radio address or "fireside chat," broadcast directly from the White House.

Birthdays: James Taylor, Jaimie Alexander, Steve Levy, Jake Tapper and Matt Bravo Over The Weekend: Brad Dayspring, John Murray and Chuck Norris

Here is what’s in today’s Ledger

The Obama Premium: Americans Say President Obama Has Failed To Address Rising Gas Prices

89% Of Americans Are Concerned With Climbing Gas Prices Under President Obama’s Watch - A vast 89 percent are concerned about the recent run-up in gas prices; 66 percent are “very” concerned about it. ABC News

Nearly Two-Thirds Of Americans Give President A Thumbs Down On Dealing With Rising Gas Prices. Americans by a broad 65-26 percent disapprove of how the president is handling the price of gas, which has gained 49 cents a gallon this year to an average $3.79. Strong critics outnumber strong approvers by nearly 4-1. ABC News

Leader Cantor: Gas Prices Are Acting Like A Tax On Americans Every Time They Go To The Pump. “Gas prices are too high, its acting as a tax on Americans every time they go to the pump. When people struggle in a tough economy, worrying about making it through the end of the month it matters. This Administration has proven again and again that it's just hostile to fossil fuels and any reasonable individual is going to say that our economy's going to be fossil fuel based for the foreseeable future. We can do so in a positive, responsible manner, but this Administration has made it known that it doesn't see a future in fossil fuels, and that's what is at issue here. If the President were interested in trying to quell the concerns, he could join us in making sure we take advantage of all the indigenous resources we have here because frankly in America we can go about extracting those resources in the most responsible way of anyone in the world.” Fox Business

Gov. Jindal: President Obama Is Taking Credit For Energy Policies He Has Actively Worked Against. While the president is quick to tell anyone who will listen that domestic oil production is higher today than at any time since 2003, that's not the whole story. The truth is that today's production levels are not based on anything this president has done, but on the decisions made by private companies before he took office. And much of this production is taking place on private land. Because energy prices are driven by a sense of future risk, the president should create a more predictable environment for exploration and production. In an election year, the federal government is now suddenly attempting to reach pre-moratorium—that is, pre-2010 BP oil spill—levels for approving deep-water drilling permits. That's not enough. The average number of deep-water drilling permits approved monthly by the administration is down by nearly 30% from the historical norm prior to the spill. The reality is that the Obama administration slowed the permitting process long before the spill happened. Rather than playing catch up, we're falling further behind. The Wall Street Journal

State Of Play: Senate Democrats Falsely Claim They Are Focused On Jobs

Schumer’s Sunday Show Rhetoric – Senator Chuck Schumer: “Democrats are focused like a laser on jobs, the economy, and the middle class.” ABC’s This Week

• If Senate Democrats were focused on Jobs --- Senator Schumer and Senator Reid Would Not Have Refused To Act On 30 House-passed Bipartisan Jobs Bills

• If Senate Democrats were focused on Jobs --- Senator Reid and Senator Schumer would not delay a vote on the bipartisan JOBS Act that passed the House 390-23

• If Senate Democrats were focused on Jobs --- The would heed the calls from entrepreneurs such as Steve Case and the small business community and hold a vote on the JOBS Act

• If Senate Democrats were focused on Jobs --- Senator Reid would have at least mentioned efforts to boost small business, economic growth, or job creation on CNN. View Senator Reid’s “laser” focus on jobs HERE

State Of Play (2): Bipartisan Pressure Mounts On Senate Democrats To Pass The JOBS Act

Leader Cantor: The President Asked For A Bill That Help Startups, The JOBS Act Does Just That – It’s Time For Senator Reid To Act. “The president asked us in his State of the Union address to send him a bill that helps business startups. The Jobs Act does just that,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, said moments after the measure passed Thursday by a vote of 390-23. One of the bills would make it easier for small businesses to go public by increasing the offering threshold for companies exempted from SEC registration to $50 million from $5 million. The measure passed the House in November by a vote of 421-1, though it hasn’t come up for a vote in the Senate. Another measure would lift an SEC ban preventing small businesses from using advertisements to solicit investors, while still another would allow businesses to recruit more investors without having to file as a public company. The Washington Times

Small Business Report: House Overwhelmingly Passes Bipartisan JOBS Act, When Will The Senate Act? Fox Business

Senator Pat Toomey Op-Ed: It’s Time For The Senate To Pass The JOBS Act Now. These three capital-formation bills, together with other job-creating bills, were rolled into the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, crafted by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and backed by President Barack Obama. It got a stunning 390 votes in the House last week. This pro-growth approach on capital formation represents a truly bipartisan plan for encouraging job creation and restoring a healthy economy. … Last week, the House demonstrated what happens when we put partisan differences aside and work together to help the American people. It was a great first step. Now I hope we can take the next step in the Senate and pass the JOBS Act so that the president can sign it into law. American jobs depend on it. Politico

The JOBS Act Makes It Easier For Small Businesses To Access Capital, Grow and Create Jobs. The Jumpstart Our Business Start-ups bill, or JOBS Act, would help young companies by exempting smaller businesses from some regulations imposed after the tech stock bust of 2000, said Kate Mitchell, chairwoman of the IPO Task Force … "I see this as a confluence of smart regulatory reform and a jobs agenda," said Mitchell, a partner at Scale Venture Partners in Silicon Valley. She said the companies need access to IPOs and other capital to grow quickly and create jobs. The association has argued that IPOs have fallen 80% since the 1990s. It largely blames the cost of complying with the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley securities law, which it says can cost a company $1.5 million a year, and restrictions on when investment banks can publish research reports on IPO clients after a public offering. Loosening those restrictions would increase information available to investors, the association says. USA Today

On Twitter: #JOBSAct Becomes A Topic Of Discussion At #SXSW

• @SteveCase - Let's rally to help startups. Urge Senate to pass #JOBSAct this week @SenatorReid #crowdfunding #IPO #StartupAmerica RT

• @NeilBlumenthal - Energized by a discussion with @SteveCase about @startupamerica, let's get this #jobsact passed & support entrepreneurship #sxsw

• @SecondMarket - Passage of ALL parts of #JOBSACT is #Senate's biggest to-do...let's support startups & job creators & make it happen!!

Obamanomics: Americans Reject President Obama’s Economic Agenda Of Higher Taxes and Picking Winners and Losers

50% Of Americans Strongly Disagree With President Obama’s Handling Of The Economy. Disapproval of President Obama’s handling of the economy is heading higher — alongside gasoline prices — as a record number of Americans now give the president “strongly” negative reviews on the 2012 presidential campaign’s most important issue, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Increasingly pessimistic views of Obama’s performance on the economy — and on the federal budget deficit … the survey — conducted Wednesday through Saturday — finds 59 percent of Americans giving Obama negative ratings on the economy, up from early last month. Now, 50 percent give him intensely low marks, the most yet in a Post-ABC News poll, and a jump of nine percentage points. The Washington Post

Why President Obama Should Continue To Work With Republicans On Pro-Growth Solutions - Economists Again Reduce Economic Growth Outlooks. Yet the economy is barely growing. Many economists in the past few weeks have again reduced their estimates of growth. The economy by many estimates is on track to grow at an annual rate of less than 2% in the first three months of 2012. The economy expanded just 1.7% last year. And since the final months of 2009, when unemployment peaked, the economy has expanded at a pretty paltry 2.5% annual rate. The Wall Street Journal

Spin Cycle: Democrats Defend President Obama’s Failed Record On The Economy Despite Attacking Republicans In The Past For Policies That Led To Stronger Growth. “When you’re coming back from the worst recession since the Great Depression, it’s a long climb out,” Gene Sperling, director of the White House National Economic Council, said in response to the latest jobs report on Friday. “But what is clear is that we are making progress. This is absolute evidence we are moving in the right direction.” In 2004, however, Sperling was making many of the same arguments Republicans are making now. “The president hasn’t just been president for two months, he’s been president for three and a half years. And he’s also had a Congress who’s been pretty much willing to do his bidding,” Sperling said in May 2004. “If you look at what President Bush’s council of economic advisers was projecting and hoping for at this point, it was that the economy would be up 5.5 million jobs. Instead, even including government jobs, we’re down 1.5 million.” … Jason Furman, the deputy director of the NEC, is another prominent Democrat currently defending Obama’s record, despite repeatedly trashing Bush’s comparatively better record. “You know, normal recoveries are pretty bumpy, you know, it gets better, it gets worse, gets better, gets worse,” Furman said on a conference call several weeks ago. “We’ve been lucky enough to see the pattern that pretty much every quarter has been stronger than the last in terms of job growth, and most every quarter stronger than that last in terms of GDP growth.” Economic growth averaged 2.2 percent during Bush’s presidency. By comparison, economic growth during Obama’s first three years in office has averaged about 1.5 percent, which is comparable to growth levels in Europe. Washington Free Beacon

Keeping Tabs

ObamaCare Vote May Come Back To Haunt Senate Democrats. Democratic support for Obamacare cost House Democrats their majority in 2010 and could whack Senate Democratic backers of the president’s health care plan this year, according to a new analysis provided to Washington Secrets. … The paper revealed that a vote for Obamacare left a bad taste in the mouths of voters, even if their House member was generally liked. “Voting for health reform caused voters to perceive a member as being more liberal, even when controlling for a members’ overall voting record,” said Masket. With the Supreme Court and both parties gearing up for another bruising fight this year over Obamacare, the issue is likely to crash into the fall elections. Masket said that could undermine Democratic efforts to keep control of the Senate, since far more Democratic senators who voted for health care reform are up for reelection this year than in 2010. “That one yes vote had an enormous effect on voters, causing them to perceive their representative as being substantially further to the left,” he warned. “ The Washington Examiner

GOP Health Care Reforms