The Obama administration held another photo-op summit yesterday, this one focusing on jobs. Unemployment figures released this morning for November continue in double digits showing 10 percent of Americans unemployed. That figure does not include the underemployed or those who have simply quit looking for work. The economy has lost nearly four million jobs since Obama’s failed, trillion-dollar stimulus spending package was rammed through Congress.
Noticeably missing from Obama’s “jobs summit” participant list were the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Federation of Independent Businesses. According to Fox News’ business guru Neil Cavuto, these three entities combined represent businesses providing an estimated 140 million private-sector jobs in America.
Indicative of the administration’s idea of job creation, prominent on Obama’s “jobs summit” list of strategists were the unions responsible for collapsing America’s auto industry, then taking it over with Obama’s help. These same union bosses seek next to cannibalize the nation’s top job producers through elimination of the secret ballot guarantees that protect employees from thuggish union intimidation tactics when voting whether or not to unionize their workplace.
Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), top Republican on the House Committee on Labor and Education, yesterday raised concerns over a “job summit” strategy that might include the union’s top legislative priority; the Orwellian-named bill entitled the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), or card check.
Card check, among many other things, would allow the unionization of businesses through an open signature scheme replacing the secret ballot vote.
“Based on the list of attendees — and the NFIB and Chamber of Commerce weren’t invited — I’m not clear what the purpose of the job summit is,” Kline said. “The list of attendees is very similar to those who supported the stimulus bill.”
Democrats are already working on $300 billion in additional spending in the form of Stimulus II, a package that would include more unemployment payouts, more infrastructure spending (the first “shovel ready” stimulus is only 30% spent), small business loans (will ACORN be contracted?) and a possible hiring tax credit.
Boehner Holds Free Market Jobs Summit
As a counter to the left-wing White House “jobs summit,” House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) held a free market confab yesterday, hearing from economists about private sector solutions to the nation’s economic woes.
“The biggest problem that we heard from our economists with regard to why employers aren’t hiring is all the job-killing policies that are being offered by this administration and this Congress and creating an awful lot of uncertainty for American employers,” Boehner said.
Doug Holtz-Eakin, President of DHE Consulting and former Director of the Congressional Budget Office, spoke at the GOP summit about the impact of unsustainable debt.
“We know that the Congressional Budget Office looked at the administration’s plans and it says that over the next 10 years we will triple our national debt,” Holtz-Eakin said. “In the end, job creation in the United States is something that small businesses, entrepreneurs and the private sector will do. But they cannot do it if they are burdened by a legacy of debt and the prospect of higher taxes to pay off that debt. And that is the most troubling aspect of the policies this administration is pursuing.”
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, spoke about small businesses bracing for the brunt of crippling taxes from the Democrats’ top legislative priorities.
“The top tax rate is scheduled to go up to 39.6 percent on January 1, 2011,” Furchtgott-Roth said. “Under the House health care bill, it would go up to 45 percent, plus there would be an eight percent payroll tax on employers who don’t provide the right kind of health insurance.”
“There’s the cap-and-trade legislation that would raise taxes on all forms of energy,” Furchtgott-Roth continued. “Now, if you’re a small business, you wouldn’t think about hiring under these circumstances, if you don’t know what your tax rate’s going to be. In all these, there’s tax revenue taken from the private sector, taken from small businesses. That is also a transfer, where people can’t spend that money themselves. So that diminishes all the economic activity throughout the entire economy. And these kinds of things, of course, discourage job creation. And that needs to be fixed now. There needs to be certainty taxes will not rise so businesses have certainty and they know that they can proceed with confidence to hire more workers.”
Kevin Hassett, Senior Fellow and Director of Economic Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, spoke about the catastrophe that was the first trillion-dollar stimulus bill.
“The ‘stimulus’ package didn’t work because it was so incompetently designed,” Hassett said. “To put it in perspective, the administration claims that they’ve created about 640,000 [jobs] with the stimulus package. That amounts to $1.2 million per job. If instead of doing the administration’s stimulus package, we had just hired people, given them jobs and paid them the average wage in the United States, then we would have created 21 million jobs.”
Hoekstra Demands Update on Ft. Hood Investigation
Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, is once again insisting on an updated briefing on intelligence issues related to the Fort Hood attack. Hoekstra released a letter (pdf) sent to the Director of National Intelligence and the Undersecretary of Defense (Intelligence) pressing for the briefing. The intelligence review ordered by President Obama was completed this week and Hoekstra says the administration has refused to provide preliminary details.
“The Obama administration and its partisans in Congress have repeatedly blocked attempts by congressional Republicans to understand how intelligence flaws might have allowed Fort Hood to happen,” Hoekstra said. “Director Blair has repeatedly indicated his willingness to help in the process of congressional oversight, yet at every turn, the White House puts up roadblocks and hurdles to prevent us getting information or answers to even basic questions.”
Hoekstra also noted that the House Homeland Security Committee convened a hearing within a week to investigate the party gate-crashers at the White House. It has been over a month since the Ft. Hood massacre and there hasn’t been a single congressional oversight hearing.
“Brave Americans who thought they were safe at home died that day, and Congress has an obligation to them and their loved ones to ensure that we do all we can to prevent similar attacks from happening again,” Hoekstra said. “It is time for Congress to move forward on investigating what appears to be the first successful terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11.”
DeMint Pledges Hold on Bernacke Nom until Senate Votes on Fed Audit
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Steering Committee, announced yesterday after the confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee that he will oppose the nomination of Ben Bernanke to serve a second term as the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. DeMint also pledged to object to floor consideration of the nomination until the Senate votes on S. 604, the Federal Reserve Sunshine Act of 2009.
“Mr. Bernanke has been one of the chief proponents of the Fed’s easy money policy that created the current financial crisis,” DeMint said. “He ignored asset bubbles, dismissed concerns about the weakness of the dollar, and helped encourage the credit mania that led to the financial panic. Even worse, Mr. Bernanke has refused to accept any responsibility for his role in these actions prior to financial crisis.”
“I will also object to floor consideration of Mr. Bernanke’s nomination until the Senate votes up-or-down on the Federal Reserve Sunshine Act,” DeMint continued. “This bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, has over thirty cosponsors and would allow the Government Accountability Office to conduct a full audit of the Federal Reserve.”
“Under Mr. Bernanke’s leadership, the Fed has lent several trillion dollars to failing financial institutions that should have been held accountable by market forces,” DeMint said. “The total amount of these bailouts exceeds the entire annual budget of the United States. Yet the public has not been given adequate information about these bailouts. In fact, Mr. Bernanke has the led the fight against bipartisan legislation in the House and the Senate to require a full audit of the Fed so Americans know what has taken place and what mistakes have been made.”
Dems Vote for Half-Trillion Dollars in Medicare Cuts
Senate Democrats yesterday voted down Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) motion to recommit the Senate health care bill back to committee to remove the half-trillion dollars worth of Medicare cuts.
(NOTE: the vote at the link appears as motion to recommit on the Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009, the shell bill being used as a vehicle for the Harrycare bill)
“If anyone had any question about the Democrat plan to use Medicare as a piggy-bank to fund their new government programs, those doubts are now gone,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky) said of the vote. “58 Democrats just voted to reject a common-sense proposal to protect senior’s health care from a half-trillion dollars in cuts to Medicare. Only in Washington would anyone have the nerve to claim that such drastic cuts won’t harm the very program millions of seniors have paid into for years and now rely on."