The Leader's Ledger

Posted by Brian Patrick on

Good morning,

Today, the President is expected to attack the House Republican budget, claiming again that his budget will create an economy “built to last.” Empty rhetoric doesn’t substitute for real solutions. Last week the President’s budget was unanimously rejected by 175 Democrats and 239 Republicans in the House. As Leader Cantor said when the President proposed his budget, “President Obama says he wants an economy that is 'built to last' but the budget he released today outlines a plan that is built to come in last. Instead of taking the opportunity to provide real leadership and address the serious fiscal challenges facing our country, the President offered a partisan, election-year budget that ratchets up spending while ignoring the biggest drivers of our debt and calls for massive tax increases on hardworking families and small businesses. The President’s budget will make our economy worse today, and result in debt, doubt and decline in the coming years.”

Today In History: In 1860, the first Pony Express mail, traveling by horse and rider relay teams, simultaneously leaves St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. Ten days later, on April 13, the westbound rider and mail packet completed the approximately 1,800-mile journey and arrived in Sacramento, beating the eastbound packet's arrival in St. Joseph by two days and setting a new standard for speedy mail delivery.

Birthdays: Eddie Murphy, Amanda Byrnes, Jennie Garth, Cobie Smulders Wayne Newton and Alec Baldwin

Here is what’s in today’s Ledger …

State Of Play: Leader Cantor, House Republicans Fight For Small Business – 20% Small Biz Tax Cut Headed To The Floor

Leader Cantor: Small Business Tax Cut Will Help The Backbone Of Our Economy – America’s Small Businesses. “Small businesses are the key to economic growth and job creation in this country. That’s why the House is moving forward with real solutions to free up capital and drive small business job creation. … I hope when the House votes on the Small Business Tax Cut Act in April, we can come together again to pass immediate tax relief for our nation’s small businessmen and women.” Luray Free Press

What Does A 20% Tax Cut Mean To Small Businessmen and Women?

• "Any kind of incentive helps us help the community that we serve. With this tax cut, we would be able to offer more products and services, hire additional staff and participate in more events that inspire more customers to visit our area. We have always encouraged local shopping and the use of local products. This will help us keep more money back in the business and ultimately back into the community." – John Yarnall, Owner, It's About Thyme, Culpeper, VA

• "Having run one of the fastest growing small businesses on the East Coast, it is clear that the best way to boost economic growth and get people back to work is through small business growth. Health Diagnostic Laboratory is growing at an average rate of 5% per week due to the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit that runs throughout the company culture. While our business plan is thriving, our current tax rate siphons away more than one-third of our income that could otherwise be used to continue to grow and hire more employees and carry this success story forward. Congressman Cantor's 20% Small Business Tax Cut will effectively allow HDL to immediately free up funds that will be used to retain and hire new employees." – Tonya Mallory, President & CEO, Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Inc., Richmond, VA

• "It's no secret that the economic downturn has hurt businesses such as Puritan Cleaners over the last several years. We've had to make tough decisions on how we spend our money and the direction that we take our business. Congressman Cantor's 20% Small Business Tax Cut will help us immediately as we look to expand our business by possibly adding a new location or even rehiring employees that we were previously forced to lay-off. Frankly, it puts us back into a position where we can better take care of our employees and serve our customers and our community." – Gary Glover, President, Puritan Cleaners, Richmond, VA

Small Business Owner: Higher Energy Costs, Fuel Costs, and Taxes Bring My Effective Tax Rate Closer To 50%. Small businesses are not only faced with a higher effective rate. They are faced with not even 39 percent if you factor in municipal taxes, toll hikes, fuel cost hikes, energy tax hikes. These are all going down to the small business. I think our effective rate is closer to 50 percent. Fox News

President Obama’s Push For Higher Taxes On Small Business and Increased Regulations Have Soured Job Creator’s Opinion Of Him. As one top business executive who deals with Obama’s economic team put it recently: “When I ask my business community friends who are Democrats, ‘How can you vote for someone you would never hire?’ they just shrug their shoulders. As far as the people who work for the president, dealing with his economic team is like dealing with college students. Their level of naivete is off the charts.” The Obama paradox is that he gave just the opposite impression to so many business leaders who supported him back in 2008. They may have ignored everything from his very liberal voting record as US senator to his associations with various players of the far left. But that’s only because, at least in private meetings, candidate Obama seemed so level-headed when it came to the economy as the 2008 financial collapse loomed. … That’s because, on the 2008 campaign trail, Obama didn’t preach to them the class warfare that, three years later, has made many of his business supporters into critics. There was little mention of a vast expansion of government through the health-care mandate or the taxes to be levied against small businesses and wealth creators. What Obama preached, instead, was moderation, saying there’d be no broader agenda before Americans got back to work. We know how that turned out. New York Post

President Obama’s Regulatory Onslaught, Attempts To Raise Taxes, and Out Of Control Spending Continue To Have A Negative Impact On Economic Growth and Job Creation. It would be difficult to argue that government polices over the past three years have enhanced confidence in the U.S. business environment. Threats of higher taxes, the constantly increasing regulatory burden, the failure to pursue an aggressive trade policy that will open markets to U.S. exports, and the enormous increase in government spending all are growth impediments. Policies have focused on short-run changes and gimmicks … There are some positive developments. The labor market is improving, albeit slowly. Profits remain high and the stock market has enjoyed some recent success. We can hope that these indicate better times and higher growth ahead. But unless we move to a set of economic policies that are aimed at growing the economy rather than at promoting social agendas, this may be the first "recovery" in history that fails to see us return to long-term average growth. The Wall Street Journal

State Of Play (2): President Obama Ignores The Central Tenant Of Marbury v. Madison – Judicial Review

President Obama’s Comments Illustrate He Needs A Basic Course In Constitutional Law. President Obama is a former president of the Harvard Law Review and famously taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago. But did he somehow not teach the historic case of Marbury v. Madison? That's a fair question after Mr. Obama's astonishing remarks on Monday at the White House when he ruminated for the first time in public on the Supreme Court's recent ObamaCare deliberations. "I'm confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress," he declared. Presidents are paid to be confident about their own laws, but what's up with that "unprecedented"? In Marbury in 1803, Chief Justice John Marshall laid down the doctrine of judicial review. In the 209 years since, the Supreme Court has invalidated part or all of countless laws on grounds that they violated the Constitution. The Wall Street Journal

Between 1789 and 2002 The Supreme Court Declared 158 Acts Of Congress Unconstitutional – Which Breaks Down To About 1 Every 16 Months. After all, the Supreme Court has been overturning laws — which necessarily have been passed by a majority of a democratically elected Congress — since 1803’s Marbury v. Madison decision. By this count citing the Government Printing Office, the court declared 158 acts of Congress unconstitutional between 1789 and 2002, which works out to one about every 16 months. Which strikes me as “precedented.” Or perhaps the operative word in Obama’s was “strong,” and only laws passed by “weak” majorities are worthy of being overturned? I would not grant that the size of the congressional majority necessarily speaks to a law’s constitutionality. But even if that were so, Obamacare hardly passes “unprecedented” muster. It passed in the House by a vote of 219-212 — that’s 50.8 percent of votes cast in favor to 49.2 percent against … In case you’ve forgotten: This man once taught constitutional law at an elite university. The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Ruth Marcus (Who Supports The Individual Mandate): The President Went Too Far and Has Done A Disservice To The Supreme Court and Our System Of Checks and Balances. The president went too far in asserting that it “would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step” for the court to overturn “a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.” That’s what courts have done since Marbury v. Madison. The size of the congressional majority is of no constitutional significance. We give the ultimate authority to decide constitutional questions to “a group of unelected people” precisely to insulate them from public opinion. … I would lament a ruling striking down the individual mandate, but I would not denounce it as conservative justices run amok. Listening to the arguments and reading the transcript, the justices struck me as a group wrestling with a legitimate, even difficult, constitutional question. For the president to imply that the only explanation for a constitutional conclusion contrary to his own would be out-of-control conservative justices does the court a disservice. Worse, the president’s critique, and in particular the reference to “unelected” judges, buys into an unfortunate and largely unwarranted conservative critique of judicial power. We want our judges unelected. We want them to have the final constitutional say. The president should be arguing for a second term to prevent the court from tipping in an even more conservative direction, not channeling tired critiques from the right about activist judges legislating from the bench. The Washington Post

The Road Ahead: Senate Democrats Continue To Focus On Anything But Job Creation and Helping To Lower Gas Prices

Senate Democrats Continue To Focus On Raising Taxes, Not Job Creation or Lowering Gas Prices. A senior GOP aide questioned Democrats’ decision to move the Buffett Rule while the chamber has done nothing to address rising gas prices. “Who thinks the Senate has finished its work on gas prices or jobs?,” the aide asked. “It’s like they don’t even care about either topic. If one job was created every time Democrats tried to change the subject, America would be well on our way to full employment.” Roll Call

• If Senate Democrats Wanted To Actually Focus On Jobs or Work To Lower Gas Prices – Senator Reid Could Hold A Vote On The More Than Two Dozen Bipartisan Jobs Bills He Is Blocking

Economist: President Obama, Senate Democrats Are Preventing 2.5 Million Jobs From Being Created By Increasing Domestic Energy Production. The president has continued bans on drilling in the eastern half of the Gulf of Mexico; offshore on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts; and within the richest fields in Alaska. On top of that, he has thrown up onerous regulatory barriers to drilling where it is still legal. … Contrary to what is often reported, U.S. oil prices do not move in lockstep with international prices because refineries are built to handle the special characteristics of the oil produced by their primary sources of supply. Hence, oil sells for less in the United States than, for example, in Europe (even accounting for Europe's higher gas taxes), and increasing U.S. production would lower refineries' acquisition costs — and gas prices. … Whatever Americans pay for gasoline, increasing domestic production to 10 million barrels a day would cut combined crude oil and gasoline imports in half — saving at least $150 billion a year. That money would be spent in the United States on cement, steel, engineering services and the like, and by my estimates, it would boost gross domestic product by $250 billion, create about 2.5 million jobs and lower unemployment to less than 7 percent. Instead, the president says he needs to raise taxes on oil companies so that he can increase investments in solar and wind power — the basic supposition being that the private sector, which already benefits from numerous tax breaks to develop and sell alternative technologies, has not exploited all commercially sound opportunities. The Baltimore Sun

Keeping Tabs

$835,000, A Mindreader, and A Clown Later … The Head Of The GSA Steps Down. The head of the General Services Administration submitted her resignation Monday over reported misuse use of government funds – spending that included a clown, a mindreader and a comedian that was improperly expensed to taxpayers. A GSA inspector general report found “excessive and wasteful” spending occurred by GSA employees planning a 2010 conference in Las Vegas, Nev. The expenses included a “dry run” of the event by 31 GSA employees, and six trips to Las Vegas by as many as 21 GSA employees simultaneously. The report, obtained by POLITICO, also reveals that government employees colluded with conference vendors to hide some of the costs and conform with government contract rules. … The total cost of the event to taxpayers was $835,000 – in the midst of a federal government effort to reduce expenditures and eliminate unnecessary travel and conferences. Politico

GOP Health Care Reforms