The Leader's Ledger

Posted by Jessica Straus on

The numbers show what President Obama's failed policies have meant for millions of jobless Americans. Since the President took office in 2009, the number of Americans who have given up looking for a new job has risen, outnumbering those who have been hired 74 to 1. If the number of Americans who stopped looking for jobs were counted as unemployed, the national unemployment rate would be around 11 percent today instead of the “official” 8.2 percent rate. Over the past 18 months, House Republicans have acted to boost job creation and will continue to do so. We hope President Obama and Senate Democrats will stop playing politics long enough to join us.


Today In History: In 1978, Garfield made its debut. Known for his laziness and obsessive eating, Garfield the cat appears in a comic strip for the first time. Holding the world record for the most syndicated comic strip, being published 2,580 newspapers and journals, Garfield has spawned merchandise earning $750 million to $1 billion a year.

Birthdays: Rep. Trent Franks, Alex Isenstadt, Jennifer Hazelton, Laura Ingraham, Lou Gehrig, Lara Spencer, Paula Abdul, Blaise Pascal, Moe Howard and Dirk Nowitzki

Here Are The Top Stories We’re Watching:

1. State Of Play: House Republicans Committed To Repeal Health Care Law That Majority Of Americans Want Overturned. Eric Cantor pulls no punches about what Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives will do to "ObamaCare" if the Supreme Court leaves any of President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law intact."We're going to take a bill to the floor that calls for the total repeal of ObamaCare," the House majority leader said in a nationally televised press conference this month. Why? "So that we can start over and we can tell the American people: we're on your side," the Virginia Republican explained. "We care about your health care, we want quality care and affordable prices for as many Americans that are there looking for that to happen."…Republicans have dominated the political message on healthcare with calls to "repeal and replace" the law, condemned by conservatives as a government intrusion into the lives of private citizens that will only waste taxpayer money and drive healthcare costs higher. The repeal vow seems to be resonating among voters angered by a provision known as the individual mandate, which would require most Americans to obtain health coverage by 2014. After about a year when polls showed Americans pretty evenly divided on healthcare, surveys may have begun to sway the Republicans' way. A recent CBS News/New York Times poll showed nearly 68 percent want at least some of the law overturned. Reuters

2. Dem Divide: Additional Democrats Say Congress Should Prevent Tax Hikes. A growing number of Senate Democrats are signaling they are not prepared to raise taxes on anyone in the weak economy unless Congress approves a grand bargain to reduce the deficit. At least seven Democratic senators have declined to rule out supporting a temporary extension of the Bush-era income tax rates, breaking with party leaders who have called for letting the rates expire for people earning more than $1 million per year… Retiring Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) is holding fast to his position that tax rates should not be raised on any income brackets, and retiring Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) says that is his position as well, though he appears more flexible on the issue. “We shouldn’t raise [rates] on ordinary income,” said Webb. “If you listen to what Warren Buffett really says, people at the very, very top make most of their income off of capital gains and dividends and not ordinary earned income. If you really want to rebalance it, you should tax money that comes from profits on accumulated wealth.” The Hill

3. Obamanomics: Food Stamp Folly, Reform Is Needed To Fix Flawed Program. To hear critics such as Paul Krugman, the New York Times editorial board, Ezra Klein, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the president, etc., you’d think congressional Republicans want to slash food-stamp funding to finance handouts to defense contractors. But, in relation to the scope of the structural dysfunction of the food-stamp program, the reforms proposed by congressional Republicans are actually very modest. The Food Stamp Program was originally included in the Department of Agriculture under the high New Deal logic that the federal government could prop up one sector (agriculture) by subsidizing others (“under-nourished inner city folks with outstretched hands” according to Milo Perkins, the program’s first administrator) to buy its products. This original reasoning no longer applies and is largely forgotten. Nonetheless, under the Farm Bill currently being debated in the Senate, the food-stamp program would account for $80 billion of the Department of Agriculture’s $100 billion budget. As a staff member of the Senate Budget Committee tells NRO, this is a Food Stamp Bill, not a Farm Bill… Even the maligned House Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act, designed to reorient the Budget Control Act’s discretionary sequester to decrease the disproportionate impact on defense spending, would cut federal food-stamp funding by only 4 percent over the next decade. By comparison, SNAP fraud last year accounted for about 3.9 percent of the program’s funds. As the House Budget Committee points out, even with the sequester replacement adjustment, food-stamp spending in 2013 will be 2.6 times greater than it was in 2002…In short, SNAP is a supposedly countercyclical program that saw its enrollment increase by 25 percent as unemployment dropped. Per-capita spending on the program doubled between 2007 and 2010. The House’s small funding cut and reforms such as Senator Sessions’s (there are about 200 other amendments to the Farm Bill on the table) are just small steps toward reining in a fundamentally flawed program. National Review

4. Small Biz: Taxes, Regs, ObamaCare Are Raising Costs And Burdens For Small Business Owners. Small company owners told the House Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce last week that federal regulations are raising costs and creating more work for them and other owners. The subcommittee, meeting in Rock Hill, S.C. on Thursday, heard testimony from local business owners about the impact of federal regulations on their companies. Rock Hill is located in the district of Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., the subcommittee chairman. Regulations that are part of the health care overhaul will increase the cost of health benefits between 100 percent and 150 percent at Carolina Ingredients, said Doug Meyer-Cuno, president of the company, which manufactures seasonings and other food products.“That means our annual health care cost of $125,000 will eventually range between $200,000 and $300,000,” he said. Carolina has 51 employees. Another witness talked about the many regulations involved in getting contracts with the government. “The process for a company to go through to do business with the government is complicated and they simply do not know where to go to find out what is necessary,” said Charles O’Cain, owner of Owl Business Consulting. “There is no one place a small business can go to find out what they have to do,” he said. Associated Press

5. Health Care: Virginia Business Owner Says ObamaCare Hinders Hiring And Raises Uncertainty.Next week’s expected Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act will undoubtedly spark discussion about how the ruling affects patients, doctors, and politicians. But don’t forget to consider another important demographic. Business owners like me stand to be powerfully impacted by the Justices’ announcement and the ensuing implications for health care reform. When preparing to start and grow a company, entrepreneurs expect to take on the day-to-day challenges of running a business. We understand cash flow, return on investment, and are masters at Excel. But what many would-be business owners don’t anticipate is the time and cost necessary to manage local, state, and federal government compliance issues that compete with our ability to build client relationships, check in with employees, and find new market opportunities… If we want American businesses healthy and hiring, the solution is not generous subsidies or aid packages. To grow and provide opportunity for others, businesses need simple, clear rules and regulations that reduce uncertainty and make it easier, instead of more costly, to stay in business. If we achieve an environment that encourages more innovation and entrepreneurship, employers can get back to expanding their businesses and creating jobs. And as entrepreneurs, there’s nothing else we’d rather be doing. Forbes

6. Energy Focus: Energy And Commerce Report Shows Job Creation Not A Focus Of Obama’s Billion Dollar Energy Investment. American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (Recovery Act or “stimulus”) created a grant program administered by the Department of Treasury (Treasury) and the Department of Energy (DOE). This program offered cash payments to renewable energy projects, mainly solar and wind. Through March 15, 2012, $8.2 billion (74.7 percent) of the total amount in Section 1603 grants awarded was for wind and another $2.0 billion (17.4 percent) was for solar electricity. The remaining 8 percent went to technologies such as geothermal electricity, biomass, solar thermal, and small wind…Treasury stated that it does not consider job creation when awarding the Section 1603 payments: “…job creation is not one of the statutory requirements for eligibility and thus it is not a factor in the consideration process. Because the 1603 program’s primary focus is on domestic renewable energy production, Treasury also does not report on the number of jobs created by the program.” DOE echoed Treasury, but also referenced estimates contained in a National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) report. The operation and maintenance of photovoltaic and wind energy systems, in which around $8 billion of Section 1603 funds were invested, were estimated to support just over 5,000 direct and indirect jobs per year over the lifetime of the systems. Removing indirect jobs, the estimate falls to “910 annually for the lifetime of the systems,” alarmingly low figures consistent with those reported by the Wall Street Journal in February 2012. Energy and Commerce Committee

7. Keeping Tabs: Obama Administration Government Funded Clean Energy Program Is Wasted Money. Doubling down is also the semi-official metaphor of President Obama’s energy strategy, as we know from his speech in Cleveland last week: “My plan would end the government subsidies to oil companies that have rarely been more profitable — let’s double down on a clean-energy industry that has never been more promising.”…Whether that logic applies to the U.S. government’s energy bets, however, is a different story. What we’ve learned so far suggests that the president should fold his cards…U.S. energy subsidies — spending, tax breaks, loan guarantees — increased from $17.9 billion in fiscal 2007 to $37.2 billion in fiscal 2010, according to the Energy Department. Washington Post

8. New Video: House Armed Services Chairman McKeon Releases Video On Importance Of Resolving Sequestration. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon released the web video “RESOLVE” today calling on President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to work with Congressional Republicans in order to solve the disastrous sequestration of the defense budget. “Republicans have put multiple plans on the table to avert sequestration.”…“If Senator Reid doesn’t have a plan of his own, he must allow the senate to consider one of the other plans that have been introduced.” Armed Services Committee

Off The Beaten Path:

A Combined 213 Years Old, Guinness World Records Recognize World’s Oldest Siblings

One Minute Vacation Almost As Good As The Real Thing?

Before Disney’s Mickey Mouse There Was Oswald The Lucky Rabbit


GOP Health Care Reforms