The Leader's Ledger

Posted by Megan Whittemore on

Good Morning,

Ahead of the President’s speech this morning, let’s not forget what he said about extending the current tax rates back in December of 2010 when he worked with Republicans: “I believe this bipartisan plan is the right thing to do. It’s the right thing to do for jobs. It’s the right thing to do for the middle class. It is the right thing to do for business. And it’s the right thing to do for our economy. It offers us an opportunity that we need to seize. It’s not perfect, but this compromise is an essential step on the road to recovery. It will stop middle-class taxes from going up. It will spur our private sector to create millions of new jobs, and add momentum that our economy badly needs.” Given that the President acknowledges we need to keep taxes low to help middle class families and small businessmen and women, we call on him to work with us when we vote during the last week of July to stop the tax hike. Even the President’s own party disagrees with him on hiking taxes in this tough economy. Many Senate Democrats, President Clinton and even former Obama economist Larry Summers have called for a full extension of the current rates to provide certainty for job creators and working families.

This Day In History: In 1877, the All England Croquet and Law Tennis Club had its first lawn tennis tournament at Wimbledon. A total of twenty-one male amateurs competed, with the winner, Harrovian racket player W. Spencer Gore, taking home the 25-guinea trophy. The rules incorporated by the Club for the tournament, including dimensions for the tennis court and scoring rules, remain the standard followed by tennis clubs around the world today.

Birthdays: Sen. Lindsey Graham, Rep. David Camp, Rep. Scott Garrett, Donald Rumsfeld, Tom Hanks, Chris Cooper, Jack White, O.J. Simpson and Courtney Love

Here Are The Top Stories We're Watching:

1. State Of Play: President Obama Set To Call For Tax Hike In Tough Economy. With a torpid job market and a fragile economy threatening his re-election chances, President Obama is changing the subject to tax fairness, calling for a one-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for people making less than $250,000. Mr. Obama plans to make his announcement at the White House on Monday, senior administration officials said. The ceremony comes as Congress returns from its Independence Day recess, and as both parties and their presidential candidates head into the rest of the summer trying to seize the upper hand in a campaign that has been closely matched and stubbornly static. House Republicans plan to vote this month to extend for a year all of the Bush tax cuts, for middle- and upper-income people. New York Times

2. Dem Divide: Growing List Of Senate Dems Support Extending Current Tax Rates For Everyone. Already, as many as six Democratic Senators are hedging their bets as the economy looks worse. That list includes Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Jon Tester of Montana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Bill Nelson of Florida, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Jim Webb of Virginia. The first four are running for re-election this year, while the last two are leaving the Senate. They haven't all declared outright support for postponing the tax hikes, but they have expressed a willingness to negotiate a deal with Republicans that would avoid raising taxes on anyone next year. Mr. Webb, for example, says he doesn't want to raise income tax brackets on "ordinary income" but he favors raising capital-gains taxes. Senator Nelson from Nebraska told the Hill newspaper that "my druthers is to extend the tax cuts for everyone," but he wouldn't mind raising the tax on millionaires "if it has to come to that." It doesn't have to come to that if Democrats don't want it to. A spokesman for Senator McCaskill confirmed that she's also willing "to compromise" on a temporary extension of the current tax rates. Florida's Senator Nelson didn't return our calls but has been reported in the press as open to an extension…The only jobs plan that has any chance of passing the House and Senate before the election is a bill to cancel all tax increases in 2013. With White House support, this would fly through the House and Senate and eliminate one major antigrowth headwind, as even some Keynesian economists and the Congressional Budget Office are telling the President. Wall Street Journal

3. Tax Debate: Senator McConnell Calls On President Obama To Extend Current Tax Rates To Get Through Comprehensive Tax Reform. The Senate's top Republican renewed an offer today to President Obama over the George W. Bush-era tax cuts, due to expire at the end of the year. "What we ought to be doing is extend the current tax rates for another year with a hard requirement to get through comprehensive tax reform one more time," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaking on CNN's State of the Union. President Obama and aides have shown little interest in a one-year extension, saying the Bush tax rates should be extended for middle class Americans, but ended this year for the wealthiest. Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, also on CNN, said the Bush tax cuts "disproportionately impact millionaires and billionaires," and should be preserved only for the middle class. The fate of the Bush tax cuts figures to be a major issue in the race between Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Obama and congressional Republicans agreed to a temporary two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts in 2010; that deal expires in December. The debate over a temporary extension mirrors that of a permanent extension that many Republicans support. McConnell and other GOP officials say any tax hike would slow job growth. USA Today

4. Obamanomics: Editorial: Summer of Stasis, Stuck In An Economic Rut. The White House called the summer of 2010 the “Summer of Recovery.” This year we have the Summer of Stasis. If this kind of economic growth is what the President means by “forward” (his new campaign slogan, cribbed from MSNBC), it is no wonder he didn’t make the varsity basketball team in high school. The official Summer of Recovery campaign was launched in June of 2010. The unemployment rate was 9.4 percent. By August it was 9.6 percent. By November it was 9.8 percent. It remained at 9 percent or above for nine of the next 10 months. By this January the painfully slow recovery had worked the unemployment rate down to 8.3 percent, and it has hovered between 8.1 and 8.3 percent since. For the past two months it has been stuck at 8.2 percent. (Hey, at least he’s consistent.) It is an odd time for the President to use “forward” as a slogan. The economy is stuck in neutral, and instead of offering new ideas to get things moving again, he is offering exactly the same policies that have kept us motionless. The last time the unemployment rate was below 8 percent was 42 months ago — the month Barack Obama moved into the Oval Office. As Mitt Romney said in Wolfeboro on Friday, a President cannot control everything, and so a few jobs reports provide insufficient information for judging a President’s policies. But 41 months’ worth unemployment higher than 8 percent — starting with a President’s first full month in office — indicate that the President’s policies are hindering rather than helping the economy. New Hampshire Union Leader

5. Small Biz: Small Businesses Are Barely Staying Afloat And Don’t See Prospects For Growth. Behind the weak job growth numbers and the uncertainty about the economic recovery, small-business owners see shrinking consumer confidence sapping demand for their products and services. Many small firms say they are barely staying afloat and won't hire until they see signs of more stability in the marketplace. That sentiment doesn't bode well for efforts to push the economy forward. Small business, the conventional engine of job growth, has been particularly active in the last two years in driving the recovery from the Great Recession. But it may not be able to sustain its efforts. "There is no reason for small businesses to do well in this environment," said Chris Christopher, senior principal economist at IHS Global Insight. "Most of the employment growth you see coming out of a recession is coming from small businesses, but employment growth is anemic and the reason is small businesses not hiring." LA Times

6. ObamaCare Fallout: 4 Million Americans Will Pay More Taxes Under ObamaCare. President Barack Obama's health care law will come home to roost for most taxpayers in about 2 1/2 years, when they'll have to start providing proof on their tax returns that they have health insurance...Those who don't get qualified health insurance will be required to pay the penalty - or tax - starting for the 2014 tax year, unless they are exempt because of low income, religious beliefs, or because they are members of American Indian tribes. The penalty will be fully phased in by 2016, when it will be $695 for each uninsured adult or 2.5 percent of family income, whichever is greater, up to $12,500. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that 4 million people will pay the penalty that year. Associated Press

7. Keeping Tabs: Poll: Majority Of Americans Say President Obama Has Changed The Country For Worse. Two-thirds of likely voters say President Obama has kept his 2008 campaign promise to change America — but it’s changed for the worse, according to a sizable majority. A new poll for The Hill found 56 percent of likely voters believe Obama’s first term has transformed the nation in a negative way, compared to 35 percent who believe the country has changed for the better under his leadership. The results signal broad voter unease with the direction the nation has taken under Obama’s leadership and present a major challenge for the incumbent Democrat as he seeks reelection this fall. Conducted for The Hill by Pulse Opinion Research, the poll comes in the wake of last month’s Supreme Court decision that upheld the primary elements of Obama’s signature healthcare legislation. It found 68 percent of likely voters — regardless of whether they approve or disapprove of Obama — believe the president has substantially transformed the country since his 2009 inauguration. The feeling that Obama has changed the country for the worse is strongest among Republicans, at 91 percent, compared to 71 percent of Democrats who support Obama’s brand of change. Strikingly, 1-in-5 Democrats say they feel Obama has changed the United States for the worse. The Hill

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