The Leader's Ledger

Posted by Megan Whittemore on

Good Morning,

We hope everyone enjoyed their Fourth of July holiday! In case you missed it, earlier this morning President Obama’s spokesman Ben LaBolt told CNN the President disagrees with the Supreme Court’s decision on ObamaCare. LaBolt said the President still believes ObamaCare is a penalty, not a tax, as the Supreme Court ruled. He claimed, “It never referred to it as a tax. It said that it was a penalty. And that's under the section of the law that is the tax code, but it said very specifically that it's a penalty.” But rather than talk about his signature health care legislation himself, President Obama launches a two-day bus tour today to try and push his failed economic policies. Tomorrow’s jobs report will be the latest snapshot of the struggling economy and we hope it will be better than what’s expected, but we need to move on policies to return confidence to small businesses so they can grow and create jobs. As we return to session next week, House Republicans will continue to work to stop the tax hike and remove red tape to help small businesses grow and get the economy back on track.

This Day In History: In 1996, the first cloned mammal, “Dolly the Sheep” was born. Named after singer and actress Dolly Parton, Dolly was born in Roslin Institute, Scotland. Cloned from a mammary cell and cultured in a lab using microscopic needles, Dolly caused a controversy with supporters viewing her birth as a step forward in medicine and detractors worried about the potential for unethical abuse. Suffering from a progressive lung disease, Dolly was put down on February 14, 2003, raising questions about genetic abnormalities that may have occurred in the cloning process. She is stuffed an on display at the National Museum of Scotland.

Birthdays: Sen. Roger Wicker, Rep. David Dreier, Rep. Todd Akin, Rep. John Fleming, Jill Biden, John Maynard Keynes, Mark Wahlberg, Robert Kraft, Paul Delvecchio, P.T. Barnum, and Cecil Rhodes

Here Are The Top Stories We're Watching:

1. State Of Play: Obama Spokesman Says President Disagrees With Supreme Court ObamaCare Decision. On CNN this morning, President Obama's campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said that the president disagrees with the Supreme Court's on Obamacare. LaBolt says the president believes Obamacare is a penalty, not a tax, as the Supreme Court called the health care law. CNN’S SOLEDAD O’BRIEN: “Does he believe this is a tax, or does he believe it’s a penalty? He actually hasn't said yet, as I'm sure you know. He has not specifically said. His spokesperson sitting here with me said it's a penalty. The Supreme Court has said it's a tax. What does he believe?” BEN LABOLT: “That it's a penalty. You saw our arguments before the Supreme Court. You’ve seen what the president has said over the past several years that it's a penalty for that 1% of the population who can afford health insurance but hasn't chosen to get it. Because the fact is that has led the rest of us to pay a hidden tax of $1,000 a year. Folks who already covered, it drives up our premiums.” O’BRIEN: “So then he disagrees with the Supreme Court decision that says it's now a tax.” LABOLT: “That's right. He's said that it’s a penalty. You saw our arguments before the Court. And—” O’BRIEN: “Your argument before the Court honestly also said that it could be-- one of the side arguments, kinda like the backup argument was that it was a tax. So I did see the arguments before the Supreme Court and read the transcripts.” LABOLT: “It never referred to it as a--it never referred to it as a tax. It said that it was a penalty. And that's under the section of the law that is the tax code, but it said very specifically that it's a penalty.” Weekly Standard

2. Jobs Report: Low Expectations For June Jobs Report, Not Much Summer Sunshine For Struggling Economy. The Labor Department's June jobs report--the most closely-watched economic number leading up to the presidential election--will be released on Friday and economists don't expect much summer sunshine in the nation's unemployment picture. Economists expect that employers added around 90,000 jobs in June, higher than the 69,000 jobs added in May, but lower than what is needed for a full economic recovery from the last recession that began with the mortgage meltdown in 2008. Private payroll tracker, ADP, reported on Thursday that the U.S. added 176,000 private jobs in June, more than expected, following a revised 136,000 jobs added in May. The Bureau of Labor Statistics will report on Friday both seasonally adjusted and non-seasonally adjusted unemployment figures, accounting for temporary summer jobs. "There's a lot of uncertainty in June number because of the end of the school year," Scott Brown, chief economist with Raymond James, said. "Seasonal adjustment is pretty significant." Prior to seasonal adjustment, the economy could see 450,000 jobs added, with the addition of students getting work and jobs related to the summer travel season. "Those may be a bit lower than expected, so I think the risks are tilted toward the downside this go around," Brown said. ABC News

3. Economic Indicators: Retailers Report Tepid Sales For June. Shoppers, worried about jobs and the overall economy, pulled back on spending in June, resulting in tepid sales results for many retailers. The reports raise concerns about Americans' ability to spend during the back-to-school shopping season, which starts later this month. As merchants reported their sales early Thursday, many of them disappointed. Costco Wholesale Corp. reported a gain below Wall Street expectations. Target Corp. and Macy's Inc. also missed estimates. One bright spot was Limited Brands, which reported a robust gain that surpassed Wall Street predictions. "These are disappointing results," said Ken Perkins, president of RetailMetrics, a research firm. "The consumer is slowing down and becoming increasingly more cautious as the economic backdrop is deteriorating. This doesn't set up particularly well for back-to-school." June is a period when stores clear out summer merchandise to make room for fall goods, but it took more discounts than a year ago to get shoppers to buy because of a weakening economy, according to UBS Investment Research analyst Roxanne Meyer. Only a handful of chains representing roughly 13 percent of the U.S. retail industry report monthly sales. Those figures are based on stores open at least a year and are a key measure of retailers' health because they exclude newly opened and closed stores. Economists watch the numbers because they offer a snapshot of economic activity. Other areas show a struggling global economy. U.S. manufacturing shrank in June for the first time in nearly three years, and employers have pulled back on hiring. Europe faces a recession and growth has slowed in big countries like China. Worries about jobs sent shoppers' confidence down in June for the fourth straight month in a row. Associated Press

4. Economic Confidence: Survey Shows Severe Drop In CEO Confidence In The Economy. The confidence of the nation’s business leaders in the future of the economy has dropped dramatically, according to a new survey by the Conference Board. More CEOs surveyed view the economy negatively that positively. Only 17 percent viewed the economy positively in the second quarter of 2012, compared to 67 percent in the first quarter. Only 20 percent expect an improvement in six months, down from 59 percent. The survey polls 800 CEOs whose companies are members for the Conference Board. Typically 80 to 100 CEOs respond, the groups says. The results from the new survey are from May and June. Business leader sentiment plays a crucial role in the economy, but the political parties differ on the sources of angst and the solutions. Congressional Republicans have been arguing that a “tsunami” of regulations from the Obama White House as well as the “fiscal cliff” of tax increases and across the board defense cuts slated for January are hampering economic growth. They want tax increases canceled now and a moratorium on regulations. The Hill

5. Obamanomics:Sen. Portman Pens Op-Ed: President Obama's Policies Are Stifling The Recovery. “President Barack Obama is back in Ohio this week on another campaign trip. I am sure it won't be his last: Both he and Mitt Romney are expected to be here a lot. I assume that, as he did the last time he was here, President Obama will be looking to blame others as he explains to working families in Ohio why we continue to be stuck in the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression…There is more troubling evidence this week of the weakness in the economy, including a new report that U.S. manufacturing shrank for the first time since the month we started to come out of the recession in 2009. That's not a good sign. And neither are many others. Under President Obama, we are living through a historically weak recovery, with unemployment 46 percent higher than the president and his team promised. More than 20 million Americans either cannot find work, have given up searching or have been forced to accept part-time jobs. That's almost double the entire population of Ohio…We must and can do better.” Cleveland Plain Dealer

6. Small Biz:Small Business Owners Still Fear Impact Of ObamaCare On Job Growth. Small businesses are responsible for more than half the new jobs created in this country each year. Many of them say the ruling will make an already tough situation even worse: Snider's Super Foods in Silver Spring has been family owned and operated for 66 years. But David Snider says health insurance for his 80 employees is already prohibitive. "They just went up another nine percent this year on us," Snider says. "Our health insurance is more than our rent." Many small businesses fear yesterday's Supreme Court ruling will mean higher premiums, more regulations and less chance of survival in a still-depressed economy: Under the Affordable Care Act, employers with at least 50 workers who do not provide health insurance will be fined $2,000 per employee per year, minus the first 30 workers. And implementing the ACA will amount to a $500 per employee tax regardless of company size. WJLA

7. Health Care Fallout: Henninger: Doctors & Medicine Hit Hardest By ObamaCare. Back at the at the dawn of ObamaCare in June 2009, speaking to the American Medical Association's annual meeting, President Obama said: "No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period." But will your doctor be able to keep you? Or will your doctor even want to keep you, rather than quit medicine? For the longest time now, since the day one of the Affordable Care Act, we have been having arguments over the mandate to purchase health-care insurance, requirements that insurance companies accept policyholders regardless of health, and price discrimination in insurance policies. And of course this past week, the Supreme Court—or something resembling the Supreme Court—outputted a decision on the tax status of the insurance-purchase mandate, the states' obligation to pay for Medicaid and as a bonus, the Commerce Clause. Have you noticed what got lost in this historic rumble? Doctors. Remember them? ObamaCare has been a war over the processing of insurance claims. It has been fought by institutional interests representing insurance, hospital and pharmaceutical firms. The doctor-patient relationship, or what used to be called "the practice of medicine," has sunk beneath these waves… A Wall Street Journal story the day after the Supreme Court ruling examined in detail its impact across the "health sector." The words "doctor," "physician" and "nurse" appeared nowhere in this report. The piece, however, did cite the view of one CEO who runs a chain of hospitals, explaining how they'd deal with the law's expected $155 billion in compensation cuts. "We will make it up in volume," he said. Volume? Would that be another word for human beings? It is now. At Obama Memorial, docs won't be treating patients. They'll be processing "volume." And then, with what time and energy remains in the day, they'll be inputting medical data to comply with the law's new Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), lodged in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Here's the Centers' own description of what PQRS does: "The program provides an incentive payment to practices with eligible professionals (identified on claims by their individual National Provider Identifier [NPI] and Tax Identification Number [TIN]) who satisfactorily report data on quality measures for covered Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) services furnished to Medicare Part B Fee-for-Service (FFS)...This isn't just a fight over insurance companies. It's about the people at the center of health care—doctors. The Affordable Care Act will damage that most crucial of all life relationships, that between an ill person and his physician. Barack Obama's assertion that we all can keep our doctors is false. Wall Street Journal

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