The Leader's Ledger

Posted by Jessica Straus on

Good morning,

This week, the President will be campaigning up and down the East Coast, attempting to spin his Administration’s record into a list of achievements. In reality, the President’s record on the economy leaves a lot to be desired, especially for college graduates, women and the millions of Americans who are still struggling to find a good job. In fact, economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal predict the economy will grow at such a subdued pace this year that unemployment will barely budge and the rate of growth will remain too slow to bring down the unemployment rate quickly enough to get people back to work. House Republicans remain committed to pro-growth policies that will create an environment for small businesses to grow and hire again.

Today In History: In 1998, the legendary singer, actor and show-business icon Frank Sinatra died of a heart attack in Los Angeles, at the age of 82. Sinatra emerged from an Italian-American family in Hoboken, New Jersey, to become the first modern superstar of popular music, with an entertainment career that spanned more than five decades.

Birthdays: Rep. Paul Broun, Rep. Erik Paulsen, Seamus Kraft, Mark Zuckerberg, Cate Blanchett, George Lucas, Robert Zemeckis, David Byrne

Here are the Top 5 things you need to know today…

1. State of Play: Economists Forecast Subdued Growth, Remains Too Slow To Bring Down Unemployment Rate Quickly. Forecasters surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect the economy to grow at such a subdued pace this year that unemployment will barely budge…On average, the 50 respondents, not all of whom answer every question, expect slow but steady growth in 2012, with gross domestic product expanding faster than the first-quarter's 2.2% pace but remaining below 3%. The economy is expected to add about 185,000 jobs a month over the next year. That rate of growth hasn't been seen since 2006, but it remains too slow to bring down the unemployment rate quickly. The jobless rate—at 8.1% in April—isn't seen moving much, ending 2012 at 7.9%. Wall Street Journal

2. The Economy: Higher Taxes Would Cripple Job Creation, Make It Harder For Working Americans. With the expiration of the 2003 tax law at the end of this year, taxes—not only on capital earnings but also on ordinary incomes—will return to the much higher levels that previously existed. This would be devastating to the fragile economic recovery, and to every American still looking for work. Combined with the expiration of temporary payroll tax relief, the United States faces what has now been labeled "taxmageddon"—a fiscal headwind so strong that it threatens a swift return to recession…Policy makers should remember to "do no harm." A reversion to the kind of drastically higher marginal tax rates that existed in the past would be bad enough. It would only add insult to injury to use the economic crisis as an excuse to raise the tax burden on capital formation and thus reduce the lifeblood of America's job creators. Unfortunately, we face that real prospect, as prominent proposals by the administration would triple the top dividend tax rate to nearly 45%, while doubling the top rate on capital gains to 30%. If one intended to cripple job creation, depress stock prices, and lower the value of retirement savings for working Americans, these proposals would be just what we should choose. As taxmageddon looms, let's hope we choose wisely. Wall Street Journal

3. Focus On Women: Rep. Hayworth: President Obama’s Failed Policies Have Hurt Women. Women have suffered in the job market of the past four years. Fewer of them are employed today than when President Obama first took office. Of the 572,000 jobs lost since his inauguration, 567,000 were held by women. Millions of women struggle to find work, while others have given up looking altogether. And Americans who do have jobs are working harder and getting paid less for it. The human toll of the weak economy is alarming. Last year, the poverty rate among women was the highest in 17 years, and more women than men are living in poverty. Adding to the miseries of shrinking or disappearing paychecks, the cost of living and doing business in our Hudson Valley becomes ever harder to bear...Women in our United States work too hard and care too much to accept a future for their children, their families, their communities, and their nation that will lead only to debt, dependency, and despair. And they are too smart to be fooled by political rhetoric that seeks to deceive, distract, and divide. They need, above everything, a federal government that will respect them, spare their hard-earned dollars, and protect the individual liberty that is at the heart of the American dream. They need new leadership in Washington. Real Clear Policy

4. The Road Ahead: House GOP To Focus on Defense, Vote On National Defense Authorization Act This Week. After voting to turn off sequestration’s across-the-board cuts to the military last week, House Republicans will look to reinforce their defense bona fides this week on the floor and in the Appropriations Committee. The House will take up the fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act starting Wednesday, which would authorize about $643 billion for national security programs, topping President Barack Obama’s request by nearly $4 billion. At the same time, the Appropriations Committee will take up four subcommittee bills dealing with national security spending, including the defense bill, which also has more funding than the president requested. Roll Call

5. Keeping Tabs: NAM President: House Measure To Reform Ex-Im Bank, Strengthens Manufacturing, Boosts American Products, Creates Jobs. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Richmond has broken the gridlock. Elected leaders who are serious about job creation can stave off unilateral economic disarmament of the United States, just as they have united behind the bank many times before...Cantor has charted a path forward that will provide certainty to manufacturers that use the tools provided by the bank and will enhance its ability to support even more jobs and exports. The United States will continue reaping the benefits made possible by the bank...Majority Leader Cantor's effort to extend the bank's charter, which was passed by the House on Wednesday, will strengthen manufacturing, create jobs and help ensure the United States maintains its mantle of economic leadership in an increasingly competitive world. Richmond Times-Dispatch

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