The Leader's Ledger

Posted by Jessica Straus on

Good morning,

The most important number from this morning’s jobs report: 5.2 million Americans have been out of work for months and they still are. Unemployment went up, even as the number of Americans in the labor force went down. As Leader Cantor said this morning, “This month’s jobs numbers underscore the failure of the Obama Administration's policies. We won’t see any real change to unemployment until we change the policies that brought us here. The choice is clear: higher taxes or more growth. The President’s push for raising taxes on working families and small business owners is counter to the aim of creating jobs.”

Moment In History: Gabby Douglas, a Virginia Beach native, won the individual all-around Olympic gold medal, becoming the third consecutive American woman to win the coveted medal. “You just have to not be afraid and go out there and just dominate,” Douglas said afterward.

Birthdays: John Parkinson, Tom Brady, Martin Sheen, Martha Stewart, Tony Bennett, Evangeline Lilly, Isaiah Washington, Joan Higginbotham, and Ryan Lochte

Here Are The Top Stories We’re Watching:

1. Jobs Report: Jobs Slightly Up In July But Growth Continues To Slow. Nonfarm payrolls rose 163,000 last month, the Labor Department said on Friday, beating economists' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 100,000 gain. That snapped three straight months of job gains below 100,000 and offered hope for the struggling economy. However, the unemployment rate rose from 8.2 percent in June, even as more people gave up the search for work and a survey of households showed a drop in employment. The closely watched employment report comes two days after the Federal Reserve sent a stronger signal that a new round of major support could be on the way if the faltering recovery does not pick up. Most economists had expected the Fed would launch a third round of bond purchases, possibly at its next policy meeting on September 12-13…The unemployment rate has been stuck above 8 percent for more than three years, the longest run since the Great Depression. "The key question is now is will it be sustained? The backdrop remains challenged, seeing anything meaningfully better than this will in itself be a challenge," said Tom Porcelli, chief U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets in New York. "We're still in an environment where productivity is slowing, where profit growth is slowing, and we don't think that is a robust environment to see meaningful job gains." Reuters

2. The Obama Economy: Unemployment Is Grim On The National Level, And Worse State By State. While the national unemployment rate paints a grim picture, a look at individual states and their so-called real jobless rates becomes even more troubling. The government's most widely publicized unemployment rate measures only those who are out of a job and currently looking for work. It does not count discouraged potential employees who have quit looking, nor those who are underemployed — wanting to work full-time but forced to work part-time. For that count, the government releases a separate number called the "U-6," which provides a more complete tally of how many people really are out of work. The numbers in some cases are startling. Consider: Nevada's U-6 rate is 22.1 percent, up from just 7.6 percent in 2007. Economically troubled California has a 20.3 percent real rate, while Rhode Island is at 18.3 percent, more than double its 8.3 percent rate in 2007. Those numbers compare especially unfavorably to the national rate, high in itself at 14.9 percent though off its record peak of 17.2 percent in October 2009. CNBC

3. Small Biz: Leader Cantor To Greta: Raising Taxes Will Make It Harder For Small Businesses To Create Jobs. “If jobs is the priority here, if that's the focus, there are two very different approaches to try to go after that goal. One, on the part of the president and Harry Reid, would say that you raise taxes and therefore, somehow, it will benefit all of us and you will see economic growth happen. Instead if you look at the House Republican approach, which actually was supported by 19 Democrats in the House, they said and agreed with us that now is know the time to raise taxes on small businesses if you want to create jobs since they're the job engine of the country…The folks I represent in Richmond, Virginia, tell me, absolutely. You raise my taxes it is going to make my business harder. That will make the business of job creation harder. I don't think there is any question. In fact, there is an independent study that came out a couple of weeks ago when said if you raise the taxes the way the president and Harry Reid want to, it will cost 700,000 jobs. And you make a good point. I mean, for what? Is it all political now? Are we trying to do something which helps the economy grow and help the knowledge engine of jobs, which are small business people.” Fox News Channel

4. Tax Debate: Bipartisan Majority In The House Supported Plan To Ensure Taxes Don’t Go Up On Any American. You wouldn't know it from the lack of media coverage, but the House of Representatives voted to block a tax increase on Wednesday with a big bipartisan majority. No fewer than 19 Democrats broke with Nancy Pelosi and voted with Republicans to extend the current rates on all taxpayers for another year. The bill passed 256-171, despite heavy White House pressure on the Democratic back-benchers to toe the party line. Republicans lost only one Member, who as it happens is leaving Congress this year. Could it be that growth trumps envy on tax policy? Just asking. At least a dozen of what we'll call the Romney 19 come from competitive districts. That includes Larry Kissel and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, Tim Bishop of New York, Ben Chandler of Kentucky, Jim Matheson in Utah, and Collin Peterson and Tim Walz of Minnesota. This was a vote for political survival for most of them. Wall Street Journal

5. National Security: Strassel: The Obama Jobs Sequester. A year ago, the president demanded a $500 billion "sequester" of defense dollars as a penalty should Congress fail to cut a grand debt deal. Congress of course failed, and Mr. Obama's sequester is now imminent. The sequester slash comes on top of the $487 billion in defense cuts Mr. Obama had already ordered in January of this year, threatening the likes of Mansfield. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned of the damage the sequester will do to national security. Yet the far more immediate political problem for Mr. Obama is that the cuts are compounding his domestic jobs liability—in the final stretch of the campaign. More than one million lost private-sector jobs, to get down to it, as estimated by groups ranging from the National Association of Manufacturers to the Aerospace Industries Association. Military jobs are on the block, but the bulk of the pink slips will come from private businesses—from giant defense companies on down to smaller businesses that are the economic mainstays of their communities. They'll come from states crucial for President Obama's re-election: Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, and more. And they are starting now. Federal law requires employers to provide 60 days notice of big layoffs, and since sequester hits Jan. 2, pink slips must go out by Nov. 2. While companies may not know the exact cuts, they have a good sense and are already acting. Boeing has announced it is closing a Kansas facility, in light of "defense budget reductions." Lockheed is mapping out 10,000 layoffs. EADS North America, Pratt & Whitney, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon—all have the potential to make those dismal Obama job numbers look worse. Mr. Obama's strategy has been to bull ahead, refusing to end the sequester unless he gets his tax hikes, and looking to shuffle off any resulting blame on the GOP. The Republicans this week called his bluff and broke for recess. Wall Street Journal

6. Foreign Policy: Krauthammer: Romney’s Excellent Trip. At the outset of his recent foreign trip, Mitt Romney committed a gaffe. In answer to a question about the Olympics, he expressed skepticism about London’s preparations. The response confounded and exasperated Romney supporters because it was such an unforced error. The question invited a simple paean to Olympic spirit and British grit, not the critical analysis of a former Olympic organizer. Soon that initial stumble was transmuted into a metaphor for everything that followed. The mainstream media decided with near-unanimity that the rest of the trip amounted to a gaffe-prone disaster. Really? The Warsaw leg was a triumph. Romney’s speech warmly embraced Poland’s post-communist experiment as a stirring example of a nation committed to limited government at home and a close alliance with America abroad, even unto such godforsaken war zones as Afghanistan and Iraq, at great cost to itself and with little thanks… What about the alleged gaffe that dominated reporting from Israel? Romney averred that Israeli and Palestinian economic development might be related to culture. A Palestinian Authority spokesman obligingly jumped forth to accuse Romney of racism, among other thought crimes…Romney’s point about “culture” was to highlight the improbable emergence of Israel from resourceless semi-desert to First World “start-up nation,” a tribute to its freedom and openness, just as free-market Chile stands out from state-dominated Ecuador. Look at how Romney was received. In Israel, its popular prime minister lavished on him a welcome so warm as to be a near-endorsement. In Poland, Romney received an actual endorsement from Lech Walesa, former dissident, former president, Cold War giant, Polish hero. Two staunch U.S. allies salute a man they would like to see lead the free world. Yet the headlines were “shove it” and “culture.” Scorecard? Romney’s trip was a major substantive success: one gaffe (Britain), two triumphs (Israel and Poland) and a fine demonstration of foreign-policy fluency and command — wrapped, however, in a media narrative of surpassing triviality. Washington Post

7. Keeping Tabs: House Energy & Commerce Committee Investigates Solyndra. House GOP report capping a probe of the Obama administration's backing for Solyndra calls the solar firm's collapse a “cautionary tale” of political pressures and misguided policy leading to the loss of about a half-billion taxpayer dollars. House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans on Thursday released a report on their investigation of Solyndra, the solar panel-maker that struggled after receiving a $535 million Energy Department loan guarantee in 2009 and went belly-up last year. “Solyndra is a prime example of the perils that come when the Federal government plays investor, tries to keep a company and industry afloat with subsidies and attempts to pick the winners and losers in a particular marketplace. Policy and political pressures inevitably come into play to the detriment of taxpayers, as it did with Solyndra,” states the 154-page report available here. The 18-month investigation, which included subpoenas and reviews of internal administration documents, has unfolded alongside frequent political attacks against White House green energy initiatives from the Republican National Committee, Mitt Romney and GOP lawmakers. The report includes findings that a White House budget analyst warned in January 2011 that the federal government may have recovered more money by liquidating the struggling company than allowing the Energy Department (DOE) to proceed with a controversial early-2011 restructuring of the deal. The Hill


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