The Leader's Ledger

Posted by Jessica Straus on

Good morning,

With each passing month, the American people are seeing fewer jobs and a slowing economy under President Obama. So it’s no surprise that a new WSJ/NBC poll shows that a majority of Americans surveyed disapprove of the President’s handling of the economy and 60 percent believe our nation is headed in the wrong direction. This week, the House will move on the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act. This bill will help return optimism and jumpstart job creation to this country by cutting government red tape that is holding back small business growth and hiring. Meanwhile, Harry Reid continues to play politics pushing his bill to raise taxes on small businesses. POLITICO calls Harry Reid’s massive tax hike “practically meaningless,” especially given its lack of support from Senate Democrats. In contrast, House Republicans are acting to ensure small businessmen and woman have more certainty and opportunity to grow. It doesn’t take a poll to show that more taxes and regulations are the last things the American people need.

This Day In History: In 1943, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini fell from power, when he was voted out of power by his own Grand Council and arrested by Italian police.

Birthdays: Katy Ricalde, Matt LeBlanc, John Gibson, Louise Brown, and Billy Wagner

Here Are The Top Stories We’re Watching:

1. State Of Play: Leader Cantor To Cavuto: It’s Just Too Hard Right Now To Run A Business Given All The Onerous Regulations Coming Out Of Washington. “It is just too hard right now for businesses to continue to operate given all the onerous and burdensome regulations coming out of Washington. We want to make that stop so we can turn this country around and begin to be a start of the country again. That is the purpose here. We know that the Obama Administration of the course of its term has imposed 400 regulations that impose more than $100 million of costs annually on the small businesses. The Small Business Administration has said that there are so many regulatory burdens on small business it costs them $10,000 per employee. those of the kinds of things we want to stop right now so we can see more business start up and jobs created…I come from arguably the most important swing state this election season, Virginia. Although our economy is doing better than most, when I go home to Richmond, I hear from small business owners and working families who say it is just too tough. Everyone knows somebody that is struggling. Most people know somebody who lost a job. And when I talk to those small businessmen and women, they just want some relief. They want to know they have a President and Congress that will actually work alongside them.” Fox Business

2. Red Tape: Rep. Griffin: Job Creators Need A Break From Excessive Regulations. In a recent National Federation of Independent Business survey, small-business owners named “taxes” and “government regulation and red tape” among the most serious problems they face…In its first three years, the Obama administration created 120 new major regulations that cost Americans more than $46 billion every year. That’s more than four times the number and five times the cost of major regulations created by the Bush administration over its first three years. Imagine what this burden could look like after a second Obama term. The Small Business Administration estimates that current regulations already cost $1.75 trillion every year and add $10,585 in overhead per employee…The House is listening, and we get it: Job creators need a break from the president’s aggressive regulatory agenda. This week, we will vote on the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act (H.R. 4078), which puts a moratorium on new regulations that would cost the economy $100 million or more until the unemployment rate falls to 6 percent or less. An analysis by the American Action Forum found this could save at least 2,700 jobs, 2.6 million paperwork hours and $22.1 billion in compliance costs…The Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act rolls in other bills that would prevent outgoing presidents from issuing economically significant regulations at the last minute (H.R. 4607), increase transparency and judicial scrutiny of sue-and-settle litigation (H.R. 3862), require the Federal Communications Commission and the National Labor Relations Board to comply with the same regulatory review requirements as other agencies (H.R. 373), streamline the federal permitting process for major infrastructure projects (H.R. 4377), and require both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to conduct more thorough cost-benefit analyses of proposed regulations (H.R. 2308 and H.R. 1840). In his State of the Union address, the president admitted “there’s no question that some regulations are outdated, unnecessary or too costly.” If there’s no question about the problem, he should embrace the House’s solution. Roll Call

3. Small Biz: Chairman Graves: Regulatory Relief Will Help Jump-Start The Economy. Despite the economic downturn, the regulatory burden faced by small businesses continues to grow. Increased regulations mean small businesses have less money, resources and time to dedicate to growing their business and creating jobs…This week, the House will vote on the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act, a bill that would halt major regulations, and provide relief for small businesses, until the economy improves. Failure to act on these common-sense jobs bills seems indicative of this administration’s attitude toward small businesses and our struggling economy — apathetic and out of touch. Even this simple, common-sense step to help entrepreneurs is rejected in favor of a government-knows-best philosophy. Our economy will continue to sputter without any real momentum unless small businesses have the certainty they need to perform their role as our nation’s main job creators. Roll Call

4. Energy Focus: House To Replace President Obama’s Drilling Proposal With Responsible Plan To Harness Our Offshore Energy Resources. When the Interior Department released its five-year plan for our nation’s offshore energy resources late last month, it revealed that President Obama’s “all of the above” energy strategy excludes new areas for offshore natural gas and oil. The plan for the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) fails to open access to any new areas on the East and West coasts and unnecessarily delays sales in Alaska, putting the nation further behind other countries that are expanding their offshore energy industries… Inexplicably, the new plan even restricts access to offshore Virginia, which was included in the previous five-year plan. This step backward flies in the face of bipartisan support for offshore development from the Old Dominion’s U.S. senators, its governor, a majority of the congressional delegation and the state legislature…If this proposed final plan moves forward without modifications from Congress, our country’s energy future will be worsened. It will hamper efforts to reduce our reliance on imported oil, and much-needed jobs won’t be created. Producing what we have offshore would generate as much as $1.3 trillion over the life of the resource for government at all levels. Leaving much of this out of the picture simply makes no sense. It’s not too late to change course. The Natural Resources Committee quickly passed Mr. Hastings’ legislation last week, as should the full House and the Senate. There’s no time to waste. Washington Times

5. Tax Debate: Now Is Not The Time To Raise Tax Rates. Now is not the time to raise tax rates on investment income—even if limited to upper-income taxpayers. Raising taxes on dividends and capital gains will have a devastating, domino-like effect that would hurt the economic security of millions of Americans at every income level. Given the low rates on interest-bearing investments such as certificates of deposit, many older investors have turned to dividend-paying stocks to supplement their income. And for good reason. Total dividend distributions jumped to about $680 billion in 2011 from $340 billion in 2008, according to a recent study by J.P. Morgan. Another big jump is expected in 2012. Higher tax rates will encourage upper-income investors to shift to other investments—here and abroad—with lower tax penalties. This could put pressure on dividend-paying companies to reduce the size of their quarterly dividend checks and to find alternative ways to return value to investors. If this happens, all taxpayers who receive dividend income, but especially seniors, would be hit. For those living on fixed incomes and counting on dividends to help pay their bills, smaller dividend checks could be devastating…It is important to remember that if a company decides to pay dividends, the earnings already are taxed twice—first at the corporate level when the company pays taxes on its earnings (at a federal statutory rate of up to 35%), then later at the individual level when shareholders receive the dividends. According to a study prepared this year by Ernst & Young for the Alliance for Savings and Investment, the top U.S. integrated dividend tax rate is currently 50.8% (when both corporate and individual taxes are factored in). If the current rates expire, this rate will rise to 68.6%—the highest level among developed nations. Congress and the administration have stated their intent to address comprehensive tax reform in the near future—a necessary and overdue undertaking. America has the highest corporate income tax rate in the industrialized world, a dubious distinction that places a further drag on our ability to compete internationally. While elected officials determine the process and the particulars of reform, they cannot dangle taxpayers, investors and businesses over a precipice of uncertainty with respect to investment tax rates. With the economy still struggling, now is not the time to reduce dividend income through higher taxes. Wall Street Journal

6. Foreign Policy: Leader Cantor: Israel Doesn’t Need Lecturing, They Need American Leadership. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Wednesday the Israeli government doesn’t need “lecturing” from the White House and called President Barack Obama’s plans to visit Israel after his reelection are “3½ years too late.” “They don’t need lecturing,” Cantor said of the Israelis. “I think what an ally like that needs is American leadership.” Cantor, the only Jewish Republican in Congress, said the White House has cast a “cloud” over the relationship between the U.S. and Israel, “very much in contrast to bipartisan relationship that Capitol Hill holds.” He said it was “about time” for the president to visit Israel, a move that was “3½ years too late.”… The Virginia Republican’s comments came as Romney begins a three-country swing, visiting Poland, the United Kingdom and Israel. “What he’ll see over there, and hear, are governments that are very wary of the direction of American leadership,” Cantor said. “I’ve been there, in the region recently, and I heard from Arab governments as well as Israelis, questioning: ‘Where is America in terms of our leadership?’” Politico

7. Keeping Tabs: Rep. Paul Pushes For Audit Of The Fed. No government institution is more secretive than the Federal Reserve. Believe it or not, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is more transparent than the central bank of the United States. This is a huge cause for concern as the Fed dramatically affects the lives of every single American. The Fed has never been fully audited in its nearly 100-year history. The American people only got a small glimpse of what happens behind closed doors last July. A watered-down audit conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) revealed $16 trillion in Fed bailouts to banks and corporations around the world at the height of the recent financial crisis…The limited release of Fed bailout history emphasizes the need for a comprehensive audit where nothing is off-limits. Perhaps $16 trillion in secret bailouts is just scratching the surface of the central bank’s misdoings. The public won’t know for sure until a true audit the Fed bill like Ron Paul’s H.R. 459 is signed into law and enforced by the GAO. Town Hall

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