A survey of recent economic data shows one thing: growth isn’t happening at the level necessary to get 12.7 million unemployed Americans back to work. The number of people applying for jobless benefits remains consistently high, small businesses have lost confidence, and they aren’t hiring and don’t expect to in the coming months. The threat of higher taxes, regulations and rising gas prices all add up to major uncertainty for the small businesses that drive job creation in this country. The President recently said, “The fact of the matter is that times are still tough for too many people, and the recovery is still not as robust as we'd like.” We agree, and we hope the President will join House Republicans on our pro-growth policies to spur small business growth and get the economy back on track.
Today In History: In 1977, crowds gathered outside 254 West 54th Street in NYC for the opening of what would soon become the global epicenter of the disco craze and the most famous nightclub in the world: Studio 54.
Birthdays: Jet Li, Channing Tatum, Ivana Milicevic, Carol Burnett, and Jessica Lynch
Here is what’s in today’s Ledger …
State Of Play: House Republicans Continue To Push Pro-Growth Policies … When Will Senate Democrats Make Growth A Priority?
Rep. Jack Kingston: The Small Business Tax Cut Will Give Job Creators The Shot In The Arm That So Many Of Them Need. As part of that effort, this week we passed the Small Business Tax Cut Act of 2012. If enacted, this bill would allow small businesses with less than 500 employees to deduct 20 percent of their income from taxes, up to half the wages they pay irrespective of how they are organized. At present, small businesses can be taxed at up to 35 percent. So a business making $100 would owe Uncle Sam $35 at the end of the year. Under our plan, that small business would be able to deduct 20 percent from its income taxes meaning they would pay taxes on $80, resulting in a $28 tax bill and leaving them with $7 to spend elsewhere. Whether a business is a corporation or one of the 75 percent of small businesses who operate as a pass-through, it will benefit from this new deduction. In Georgia 167,864 businesses who employ more than 1.5 million people would see their taxes reduced and many of another 655,248 sole proprietorships could benefit as well. … A study found it would expand the economy by $112 billion and create 194,000 jobs. Once fully implemented, the study found it would create more than an average of 100,000 jobs per year with workers receiving more than two-thirds of the private-sector benefit. … The Small Business Tax Cut Act is the shot in the arm so many need to make our economy work again. The Savannah Morning News
• 80% Of Small Businesses Say They Haven’t Hired – New Business Activity Down 30% In The First Quarter Of 2012. Although small-business owners had intended to hire new people at this time last year, 80 percent of those participating in a recent poll haven’t hired a single employee in the first three months of 2012. The Manta SMB Wellness Index also found that new-business activity fell 30 percent in the first quarter of 2012, compared with the same time last year. Sacramento Business Journal
Jobless Claims Remain Elevated – As Indicators Point To Stalled Growth. New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly last week but a trend reading rose to its highest since January, the latest sign of a weaker pace of healing in the still-struggling labor market. … The four-week moving average for new claims, a closely followed measure of labor market trends, rose 6,250 to 381,750, its highest since the week that ended Jan. 7. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new claims falling to 375,000 last week. …"Today’s reading also gives the uncomfortable drift upwards in initial claims the feel of a trend rather than aberration." Reuters
• Fed Lowers Long-Term Growth Outlook … Fed's own predictions have shifted. The central bank raised its forecast for economic growth in 2012, but slightly lowered its growth outlook for 2013 and 2014. The Wall Street Journal
NFIB Head Says Threat Of Higher Taxes Continues To Slow Expansion, Reduce Growth. Q. Do you hear from your members that they're holding back on expansion because they don't know what their taxes will be like? A. Absolutely. ... I think all of this uncertainty does have a significant impact on investment in your business. The harder it is to predict what the return on your investment is going to be, the less inclined you are to invest. It's very different for small business owners because it's their money -- it's not stockholders money. It's their money and therefore, the question might be, do I invest in my business, or do I buy the car? Do I invest in my business or put that money into Sally's college fund? These are real gut-wrenching decisions and the more uncertainty you toss in the middle of it, even the most rabid entrepreneurs take a step back and say, golly, I just don't know. BusinessWeek
State Of Play (2): House Republicans Announce Plan To Prevent Student Loan Rate Hike
VIDEO - Speaker Boehner: House Will Vote to Extend Student Loan Rates, Cut ObamaCare Slush Fund. “You know, back in 2007 a Democrat-controlled Congress put in place a law that would double student loan interest rates this year. And Republicans and Democrats on both sides of the aisle here on the Capitol have long agreed this was a problem that must be addressed. Right now, the president’s economic policies are leaving recent college graduates – 50 percent of whom are either unemployed or underemployed. Today I’m pleased to announce that on Friday the House will vote on a bill to extend the current interest rate on federal student loans for one year. We will pay for this by taking money from one of the slush funds in the president’s health care law.”
The Road Ahead: The House Prepares To Move On Cybersecurity
Chairman Thornberry – The Damage From Information Being Stolen, Manipulated and Destroyed Is Costing American Jobs. Threats in cyberspace pose a real and direct danger — to our economy and our security. Study after study and commission after commission have issued warnings and made recommendations. Not much has resulted — yet the threats continue to grow more numerous and more sophisticated. The House is now about to do something about it. … Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) last year recognized that Congress could not go another session without beginning to reduce the nation’s vulnerability in cyberspace. They created a Cybersecurity Task Force to make recommendations and coordinate among the nine House committees with significant jurisdiction on this issue. Since the task force issued recommendations last fall, the various committees have been devising legislation. These bills received bipartisan support and are the result of much listening and consultation with a wide variety of sources. They build on the work done in cybersecurity over the past few years by House Democrats, like Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), and others. … The security of their computers and the information stored on them is at risk — every minute of every day. The damage from the information that is being stolen, manipulated or destroyed is already costing us jobs, chipping away at our competitiveness and undermining our national security. Politico
All Of The Above? - Obama EPA Official Says The EPA's Policy Is To "Crucify" A Few Oil and Gas Companies. Al Armendariz, a regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, explained in 2010 that he understands the EPA policy to be to "crucify" a few oil and gas companies to get the rest of the industry to comply with the laws. "I was in a meeting once and I gave an analogy to my staff about my philosophy of enforcement," Armendariz said during a meeting in 2010. "It's kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean: they’d go into little Turkish towns somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they’d run into, and they’d crucify them and then, you know, that town was really easy to manage over the next few years." The Washington Examiner
Whip McCarthy, Rep. Pete Olson: House Republicans Continue To Push A Pro-Growth Energy Agenda That Would Increase Domestic Production and Help Lower Gas Prices. The president has put himself at the forefront of his war on domestic energy production by personally lobbying the Senate to reject the job-creating Keystone XL pipeline as well as placing an arbitrary drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico. Offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico supplies a third of our nation's energy needs. Since the moratorium enacted by President Obama began, 11 oil rigs have left the Gulf for foreign waters and three others are sitting idle. That has translated into a loss of 11,500 oil and gas industry jobs and thousands of indirect jobs that support the offshore drilling industry. … This path of a pro-growth energy agenda is central to House Republicans and its House Energy Action Team (HEAT) - a group of House members working to develop and promote policies to address rising energy prices, create thousands of good-paying jobs and enhance our national security by promoting energy independence for America. Unlike the policies of the current administration, HEAT is looking to domestic energy production as a driver of this economic recovery, not a burden. The Houston Chronicle
Democrats Drift Further Left As Liberal Interest Groups Purge Opportunities For Bipartisan Solutions. Democrats have become less tolerant of the moderates in their midst, and the growing influence of unions, especially government worker unions, is a big part of the reason. The Obama era has been murder on the Blue Dogs. There were 54 members in 2009 but only 26 in 2011. Obama’s health law is one of the main culprits. After the president made promises about fiscal constraints, most of the members signed on to his health law. Those votes proved fatal to the careers of several members from red-leaning districts who either retired in the face of impossible odds or were beaten. Altmire and Holden survived by voting against the health law and survived the Republican wave of 2010. But, they paid the price for disloyalty last night as Democrats picked backers of the Obama law over opponents. Labor groups started their campaign in 2010 with anti-incumbent efforts against Democrats in Arkansas, Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Fox News