The Leader's Ledger

Posted by Megan Whittemore on

Good Morning,

While health care has dominated the news cycle for the past week, new economic indicators show a struggling economy is still the top concern for most Americans. For millions of people who are unemployed, there’s still little to celebrate on the jobs front. Manufacturing took a nose dive for the first time since July 2009 and weekly wages dropped for the 5th time in 33 years. Even leading House Democrat Henry Waxman admitted, “The economy has not recovered. Some people call it a recession, I think it’s a depression.” In the coming weeks, House Republicans will move on pro-growth policies to remove red tape and stop the tax hike to boost small business job growth and help get more people back to work.

This Day In History: In 1985, “Back to the Future” was released. Now considered a modern-day classic, movie-goers were introduced to Doc Brown and his time travelling DeLorean DMC-12. The movie became the most successful of the year, grossing $383 million, sparking two sequels, an animated series, a theme park ride, several video games and was quoted in Ronald Reagan’s 1986 State of the Union Address. Due to the movie’s massive success, the car as become a collector’s item with only 6,500 still in existence.

Birthdays: Sen. Lamar Alexander, Rafael Nadal, Anderson Cooper, Tom Cruise, Jefferson Davis, Franz Kafka, Allen Ginsberg, and Montel Williams

Here Are The Top Stories We're Watching:

1. The Economy: Manufacturing Takes A Dive, Global Economic Slowdown Hurts American Factories. The global economic slowdown has finally caught up with American manufacturers. The U.S. factory sector shrank in June for the first time since July 2009—the first month of the economic recovery—the Institute for Supply Management said Monday. Exports fell, and new orders, which gauge future factory activity, dropped at their fastest pace since the post-9/11 plunge in October 2001. The report is the strongest evidence yet that Europe's troubles and slowing growth in China are hurting American factories, one of the biggest drivers of the U.S. recovery. Separate reports have shown U.S. exports fell in April for the first time since November, and last week the government revised downward its estimate of export growth in the first quarter. The darkening outlook for U.S. factories comes amid new signs that the rest of the world is losing momentum, too. Manufacturing activity in the euro zone continued its months long decline in June, with even the region's biggest economy, Germany, contracting at its fastest pace in three years. Manufacturing also slowed in China, the world's second-biggest economy, and South Korea's and Taiwan's manufacturing industries fell into contraction. Wall Street Journal

2. Jobs Numbers: Weekly Wages Drop For 5th Time In 33 Years. Unemployment ebbs and flows, but one measure of the nation's economic health, average weekly wages, rarely dips. Until now. In the latest demonstration of the struggling economy that threatens President Obama's reelection, average weekly wages fell in 2011, one of only five declines since the category was created in 1978 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In a just-released review of employment in the nation's largest 322 counties, BLS found that weekly wages dropped over the year by 1.7 percent to $955 in the fourth quarter of 2011 from a high of $971 in the fourth quarter of 2010. That means the $50,000-a-year mark, busted in the fourth quarter of 2010, has dropped back to an average yearly salary of $49,660. And the wage depression was widespread: 282 major counties suffered wage declines; just 36 saw increases. The wage drop comes as employment has increased in a majority of the counties in the last quarter of 2011, said the agency. That irony makes it the only quarter in history where wages shrunk while employment grew, a grim reminder that more Americans are taking additional jobs to make ends meet. The Labor Department agency added that smaller bonus payments in the fourth quarter helped to push weekly wages down. Washington Examiner

3. Dem Divide: Leading House Dem Henry Waxman Admits The Economy Has Not Recovered, Says It’s A Depression. A top Democratic congressman, Rep. Henry Waxman, ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, says that we're living through a "depression": “The economy has not recovered," says Waxman on C-SPAN. "Some people call it a recession, I think it’s a depression.” Waxman's remarks follow-up on Vice President Joe Biden's from last week, in which he stated that millions are living in a depression. Weekly Standard

4. Obamanomics: With Americans Still Focused on Jobs, Obama Policies Failing To Promote Recovery. The unemployment rate has held above 8% for 40 straight months. It ticked up to 8.2% in May, and would actually be around 11% if labor force participation wasn't at record lows. A recent Gallup survey found that 31% of Americans say the economy is their top concern. Another 25% cite unemployment…Employment is still five million below the previous peak in January 2008. It's already America's longest jobs recession since the Great Depression. As for the private sector, which the president has blithely said is "doing fine," payrolls are still down by 4.6 million, or 4%. Government jobs are 1.8% below their peak, with federal jobs up 11.4%...Jobs rose by just 69,000 in May, the worst in a year, after climbing 77,000 in April. June's employment report is due out Friday morning. Economists expect a gain of just 90,000. (Update: Manufacturing activity shrank for the first time in three years, according to ISM's June U.S. factory index. The new orders index suffered its biggest one-month decline since October 2001)… It's still 18 weeks until Election Day. But that's not very long. Just ask the unemployed. They now spend 39.7 weeks out of work on average, a near-record duration. Investor’s Business Daily

5. Health Care: Reps. Goodlatte, Griffith, Hurt: GOP Exhibits Resolve To Repeal ObamaCare. In the days after the Supreme Court's disappointing ruling on President Obama's health care law, the resolve of the American people and Republicans in Congress only grows stronger. While the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare on the basis that it is a tax, this decision certainly does not make the law good policy. A law that raises taxes, destroys jobs, and hampers economic growth, while doing nothing to rein in soaring health care costs is simply the wrong prescription for Virginians. Virginians are now presented with a choice: a future of bigger government, fewer options, and increased health care costs under Obamacare, or a future of smaller government and affordable health care options where decisions are made by patients and their doctors, not Washington bureaucrats. We choose the latter…Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced that the House will vote on July 11 to fully repeal Obamacare. Let this be a sign that the fight for full repeal of this costly, job-killing law is far from over. The House will once again give the Senate an opportunity to repeal this bill. The choice is simple: Again ignore the will of the American people, or join the House in full repeal of this misguided law. Richmond Times-Dispatch

6. ObamaCare Fallout: Editorial: An American Mandate: The Founders Would Be Appalled. On the eve of Independence Day, many Americans are still digesting last Thursday’s ruling in which the U.S. Supreme Court declared that Congress has the authority to tax the free and independent people of the United States for the offense of not following orders Congress has given. Moreover, the content of those orders is limited only by the imaginations of the 535 members of Congress. What might the Founders of this nation, the men who risked death to secure for posterity the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, think of such a turn of events?... When Samuel Adams and other Sons of Liberty threw tea chests into Boston Harbor, they were not protesting the tax, which had been passed six years before. They were protesting the Tea Act, which compelled them to buy East India Company tea and forbade them from buying or selling any other. It was a mandate to buy a specific product. It helped spark a revolution. Now, 236 years after that revolution began, we are told that our own government can compel us to buy whatever product it wishes, to behave in virtually any way it wants, as long as it does so through its power to tax. When the Founders fought to secure the blessings of liberty for their descendants, seeing those descendants submit to the orders of a distant government was not what they had in mind. New Hampshire Union Leader

7. Keeping Tabs: Poll: Majority Of Americans View Individual Mandate As A Tax. A strong majority of Americans say the individual mandate is a tax, rather than a penalty or a fee, according to a CNN-ORC poll released on Monday. Sixty percent said they view the individual mandate as a tax, versus 39 that said it’s not a tax. Republicans jumped on the court’s ruling that the healthcare law's individual mandate, which the Obama administration originally pitched as a penalty or fee for those who don’t purchase insurance, is constitutional under Congress’s power to tax, calling it evidence that President Obama has raised taxes on the middle class. The Hill

Off The Beaten Path:

Homeless Man Lives Large At A Number Of Hotels

Pennsylvania High School For Sale…On eBay

Can You Really Unplug? Vacation Sabotage: Don't Let it Happen to You

GOP Health Care Reforms