The Leader's Ledger

Posted by Brian Patrick on

Good morning,

Recent indicators are signaling that the economic recovery is losing momentum. According to a new survey, small business hiring dropped in April with only 40,000 new jobs added compared with 75,000 in March. Last week’s GDP report indicated economic growth went from dismal to nearly dormant during the first quarter of the year. There’s no question why small businesses are having trouble growing and hiring: we have an Administration that thinks tax reform means raising taxes and believes Washington can spend money better than those that earn it. In contrast, House Republicans are working to drive economic growth by empowering those in the private sector – especially our small business men and women – to start investing, growing, and creating jobs.

Today In History: In 1789, George Washington, the great military leader of the American Revolution, is inaugurated as the first president of the United States. In February, all 69 presidential electors unanimously chose Washington to be the first U.S. president. In March, the new U.S. constitution officially took effect, and in April Congress formally sent word to Washington that he had won the presidency. The inaugural ceremony was performed on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street, and a large crowd cheered after he took the oath of office. President Washington then read Congress his inaugural address, a quiet speech in which he spoke of "the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people."

Birthdays: Willie Nelson, Dianna Agron, Akon, Adrian Pasdar, Kirsten Dunst, and Stephen Harper

Here is what’s in today’s Ledger …

State Of Play: President Obama Continues To Pursue Straw Men Instead Of Serious Pro-Growth Economic Policies

Speaker Boehner: It’s Clear President Obama’s Economic Policies Have Failed. House Speaker John A. Boehner scolded President Obama on Sunday for politicizing issues upon which Democrats and Republicans agree, including the need to prevent a hike in interest rates on federal student loans. “The president is getting some very bad advice from his campaign team, because he’s diminishing the presidency by picking fake fights, going after straw men every day,” Boehner said in an interview broadcast Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” … “It’s clear that the president’s economic policies have failed. And, as a result, he’s turned to the politics of envy and division,” Boehner said in the Sunday interview. The Washington Post

Small Business Hiring Slows – Another Indication That Job Growth Is Losing Momentum. Small business hiring slowed considerably in the April and employees saw a reduction in their hours, an independent survey showed on Monday, adding to signs of weakening in labor market conditions. … The pull back in hiring by small businesses is the latest indication that job growth is losing some momentum. Nonfarm employment increased 120,000 in March, the least amount in five months, with the jobless rate dropping to 8.2 percent -- largely as some unemployed people gave up the search for work. Reuters

On CNBC: "The evidence for slower US growth is accumulating." -- Goldman's Jan Hatzius, who sees jobs # at an anemic 125k. – Twitter

Weak Q1 Numbers Have Economists Leery Of Future Growth. The government reported Friday that the overall economy grew at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the January-March quarter. That’s down from 3 percent annual growth in the October-December period. … A healthy job market could reinvigorate consumers. But the economy created just 120,000 jobs — half the pace of the previous three months. Economists predict employers added 173,000 jobs this month, slightly better than March’s figures but below the pace from December through February. The Associated Press

“More Than 7 Million Americans Have Given Up Looking For Work” Since President Obama Took Office. According CBS News, 61 percent of Americans believe America has seriously gotten off on the wrong track. ABC News pegs that same metric at 64 percent. It is not a mystery why. When Obama was sworn into office, unemployment was 7.8 percent. Now it's 8.2 percent. More than 7 million Americans have given up looking for work since Obama became president. And over all this time, our national debt has risen almost 50 percent, from $10.6 trillion to $15.6 trillion. The Washington Examiner

Growth Will Slow Further If Action Is Not Taken To Prevent Tax Increases On America’s Engine For Growth – Small Business. But a better use of the nation's cash is reflected in the views of American small-business owners desperate for a tax system that is less confusing, allows greater certainty and returns capital to Main Street for growth and job creation. And just to warm up for the long overdue but essential task of overhauling tax regulations, Congress could immediately ease the burden for small firms and inject some much-needed cash back into the economy where jobs are desperately needed. How? By extending or restoring critical tax provisions that it failed to renew at years' end. The National Federation of Independent Business says there are many of these extenders languishing in limbo that could be revised retroactively if lawmakers act quickly. If not, small firms can expect a steep tax increase. One vital way to improve cash flow, bolster investment, and simplify taxes is on the verge of becoming irrelevant, depriving small firms of money they could feed back into operations for growth. Wisconsin Business

The Road Ahead

House Republicans To Keep The Heat On The Administration Over Solyndra. Republicans are hoping to keep Solyndra alive this summer with a series of hearings and legislation to reform the Energy Department loan guarantee program. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), an Energy and Commerce subcommittee chairman, said a bill is being drafted, and he expects it could be on the House floor in July. “We’ve got an outline,” Stearns told POLITICO. The intent is to “make sure the Department of Energy can’t give money out to companies where the marketing information is clear that it’s going to go bankrupt,” he said. This includes “better tools of management and accountability.” Politico

Keeping Tabs

The Rise Of Ryan: From Follower To GOP Trailblazer. He may be, as a friend described him, “a hunting-obsessed gym rat,” but Mr. Ryan, 42, of Wisconsin, has become perhaps the most influential policy maker in the Republican Party, its de facto head of economic policy, intent on a fundamental transformation of the federal government. His prescriptions in the Republican budget plan he devised have become his party’s marching orders: cut income tax rates and simplify the code … Having gained such influence, Mr. Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, now faces some big questions, about his ideas and his future. So far, he has offered major parts of his budget only in broad brush strokes, without specifying all the spending cuts he would make or which popular tax breaks he would eliminate. He has proposed collapsing today’s six personal income tax rates into two, 10 percent and 25 percent, and lowering the corporate rate to 25 percent from 35 percent, all while maintaining the same flow of revenue by closing loopholes. The New York Times

Result Of President Obama Failing To Address The Nation’s Entitlement Programs: Social Security’s Day Of Reckoning Moves Three Years Closer. The day of reckoning for Washington's refusal to touch Social Security moved closer last week, with a report from the program's trustees that it will become insolvent in 2033, three years earlier than last projected. In practical terms, that means recipients will see a 25 percent cut in benefits, and the federal Treasury will have to divert general fund revenue to Social Security to continue sending out checks. … Longer life spans are resulting in benefit outlay periods far greater than envisioned when Social Security was initiated. Raising the retirement age to 67 or 68, and the early retirement age to 64 or 65, would add decades to the program's solvency. Encouraging more private savings would provide a safety net if Social Security benefits do have to be cut. Allowing more generous tax-free contributions to 401(k) and IRA accounts is a good place to start. … Workers in their 20s and 30s can't possibly read the trustees' report and feel confident that they'll get a reasonable return on the 12 percent of their incomes that they and their employers contribute to Social Security. Radical reform of Social Security should be welcomed by them, rather than feared, and they should reward politicians with the courage to tackle the issue. Private accounts would give today's younger workers some certainty that they aren't being asked to fund a Ponzi scheme, and a greater sense of security about their retirements. The Detroit News

FLASHBACK: January 16, 2009 – Obama Pledges Reform of Social Security, Medicare Programs

GOP Health Care Reforms