Late last month, President Obama held his 100th day press conference, during which he spent most of his time defending the health care law, saying:
“Even if we do everything perfectly, there will still be glitches and bumps...That’s pretty much true of every government program that’s ever been set up.”
We won’t argue with that. However, I’d say implementation is facing more than a few “glitches and bumps.” Let’s take a look at the recent news stories about Obamacare:
- A new Kaiser poll shows that just 35 percent of Americans support the law. That’s the lowest in two years. But perhaps even more problematic is that 42 percent don’t even know about the law.
- Yesterday, Sen. Harry Reid came out echoing Sen. Baucus’ comments that Obamacare could become a train wreck. Interesting that two of the bill’s biggest advocates are suddenly distancing themselves from the massive overhaul. What do they know that we don't?
- Even Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admits that the law will raise premiums for many Americans.
- The Congressional Budget Office continues to revise its cost estimates for the law upward. From an initial 2010 estimate of costing just under $900 billion over ten years, CBO now says the law will cost $1.8 trillion between 2013 and 2023 – a mere trillion-dollar difference.
- Yesterday’s ADP report showed slowing growth in the private sector, especially with small businesses who continue to point to the health care law as a hurdle to hiring.
We’re going to need your help to avoid this train wreck.
Sign on in support of real reform now.
Earlier this week, we told you about efforts to derail immigration reform, namely a report from the Heritage Foundation that claims reform will cost U.S. taxpayers $6.3 trillion.
No sooner had the report hit the circuit that the study’s serious flaws were pointed out.
Even a former staffer from Heritage criticized the new report for using flawed assumptions and disregarding dynamic analysis of the positive impacts...
The report fails to take into consideration a true costs-benefit study. The research focuses solely on fiscal effects, and ignores the powerful long-term economic benefits – in what researchers call “a lack of dynamic analysis.” As a recent blog post on our Free Enterprise site points out “A glaring flaw in [the] headline-grabbing analysis is its static nature. They argue that reform would generate a $6.3 trillion fiscal deficit all things being equal. That’s the kicker. All things would not be equal.”
Here are some additional headlines:
This issue is too important to let factional fights derail the underlying issue. The system is broken and this study has the potential to lead to an even costlier alternative – doing nothing at all– which perpetuates the status quo.
We’re better than that – send a letter today.
Last week, while testifying before the Senate Budget Committee, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew defended the medical device tax hidden in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, calling it “a critical component of the health care law that can’t easily be replaced.”
Earth to Lew. A punitive tax intended to pay for the massive bill of the health care law at the expense of innovation should have never been included in the first place.
Imposed on medical device manufacturers whether or not they make a profit, this new 2.3 percent tax on the sale of virtually all medical devices will lead to increased health care costs, undercutting one of the primary goals of health care reform.
Not only is it a punitive tax that singles out a particular industry, it simply isn’t a health care issue. The tax was imposed solely to generate revenue to help pay for the massive health care overhaul.
Clearly no one thought too far ahead on this one.
Additionally, a study from AdvaMed estimates that 43,000 jobs could be lost because of the medical device tax. That’s because it raises taxes on the medical device industry by almost 30%.
The impact is already being felt through layoffs at device manufacturers around the country. In the long term, cuts in research and development will limit access to life-improving and life-saving innovations.
Combined with the high corporate tax rate already imposed on the research and development and manufacturing industries, the medical device tax is a huge disincentive for companies to stay and grow in the United States.
As the AdvaMed President and CEO said in a letter to Secretary Lew,
“That is directly contrary to the Administration and our industry’s shared goal of keeping and growing good jobs in the U.S.”
More taxes, fewer jobs, less innovation, and higher costs; that doesn’t make sense to us at all.
Fortunately, there is a growing group of bipartisan legislators who agree. Make sure your member of Congress is one of them by sending a letter urging them to support repeal today.
In breaking news last week, the most recent jobs report showed that the economy generated just 88,000 new jobs in March, the smallest gain we’ve seen in 10 months.
While much of the attention in the media will be paid to the unemployment number dipping just slightly, from 7.7% to 7.6%, that doesn’t tell the whole story. In reality, the unemployment number dipped because more Americans are leaving the workforce -- 500,000 people have dropped out since February. The labor participation rate is now at 63.3%, a new 30-year low, the lowest since 1979.
All told, 90 million Americans have stopped looking for work and are out of the labor force.
However striking these numbers are, the sentiment of America’s small businesses could have proved as a harbinger of today’s news. In our Q1 Small Business Outlook Survey released yesterday, 79% of small business respondents said they still believe that the American economy is off on the wrong track.
There’s a reason for that. As the Chamber’s Chief Economist Dr. Martin Regalia said:
“Though the general trends of the economy seem to be improving, a closer look shows full time employment dropping, and Washington needs to enact policies that will breed confidence and encourage small businesses to expand, instead of cutting back staff and employees’ hours.”
He’s right, and America’s small businesses know what they need to succeed. Our survey showed broad small business support for policies that will promote economic growth through removing government barriers, controlling government spending, lowering taxes, tackling immigration reform, and increasing domestic energy production.
You can read the full survey results here.
Disappointing jobs reports have, unfortunately, become a regular part of our life for the last few years, but they don’t have to be our future. Washington must start listening to our small businesses to get American working again.
This week, the House and Senate introduced dueling budget proposals on Capitol Hill. In order to cut through the clutter, we thought we would outline everything you need to know right now about the competing plans. Bottom line: it’s the difference between night and day.
Rep. Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee proposed to balance the federal budget in 10 years. Other highlights include:
Finally, Mr. Ryan's proposal will balance the budget without raising taxes at all.
In stark contrast, Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray’s plan was also introduced this week. The Senator’s budget blueprint includes $1 trillion in new taxes and reduces, but does not balance, the budget by $800 billion over ten years. Other highlights include:
- Economic stimulus: The Murray budget proposes $100 billion in economic stimulus programs focusing on infrastructure and job training.
- Spending cuts: The Murray plan also proposes $475 billion in unspecified spending cuts, including $275 billion in health care savings, but includes no net new cuts.
At first glance, which plan do you support? Vote in our quick poll.
Both Ryan and Murray promise more details of their plan in the coming days and weeks, so stay tuned. The budget battle has just begun.
This week, the House and Senate introduced dueling budget proposals on Capitol Hill. The difference between the two is striking. Upon first glance, which plan do you prefer?
Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan proposes achieving a balanced federal budget over the next 10 years while addressing tax, Medicare, and Medicaid reforms. The plan also puts special emphasis on reducing government-run health care spending and encouraging energy independence.
Senator Patty Murray’s budget blueprint includes $1 trillion in new taxes, and reduces, the budget by $800 billion over ten years, but does not balance the budget. The plan also includes $100 billion in economic stimulus programs focusing on infrastructure and job training.
We asked and you answered.
We recently opened a survey to our grassroots Friends to get your input on how we're doing and what we can do to serve your interestes better. Thanks to everyone who already participated. This survey is a great chance to make your voice heard, and will play a big role during the key debates over the national debt, balancing the budget, and taxes that will impact our country for years to come.
If you haven't participated, please click here to let your voice be heard. We would love to have your input before the survey closes.
Here are a few things we've learned so far:
- 96% believe that the Free Enterprise system has the best solutions to lead the economic recovery
- 85% oppose Obamacare
- 71% belive spending and economic uncertainty are the biggest challenges to overcome
- 92% of you said that Washington has a spending problem.
Do you support immigration reform that strengthens our competitiveness? Leave a comment below and tell us your thoughts on this issue.
This weekend, Nancy Pelosi told Fox News Sunday that “it is almost a false argument to say we have a spending problem.”
In reality, America is $16.5 trillion in debt and $122.6 trillion in unfunded liabilities. That works out to over $146,000 of debt and over $1 million in liabilities per taxpayer.
So, what do you think? Does America have a spending problem? Watch the full interview, and leave your comments below.
We’ve heard political promises and lofty rhetoric from the talking heads telling us that the only way to grow the economy and create jobs is to increase government spending. They tell us that in order to cut the deficit and salvage our entitlement programs, we need to increase revenue through more of your tax dollars.
But as you can see in the chart, we are already at historic levels of government spending and tax revenue. And yet… it’s still not high enough for some.
These tax increases barely make a dent in our spending problem and are already slowing growth. CBO projects the economy will grow by just 1.4 percent this year? Likely, it won’t be long before Washington starts digging into middle-class pockets. Even the staunchest proponents of tax increases admit raising rates to the levels needed to cut the deficit would ruin job creation.
This can’t continue; the math simply doesn’t work. Do you agree?
Thank you for your support in 2012 on a number of key economic issues and for helping making 2012 a year to remember as we celebrated our 100 year anniversary.
As we look ahead to 2013, we looking forward to partnering with you on key legislative priorities that will strengthen our economy, create jobs, and ensure growth for generations to come.
What are your top issues in the coming year? Leave a comment and let us know which of these are a priority for you and why.
- Tax and Spending Reform
- Health Care
The 113th Congress will not be without challenges, but with you as an active member of our grassroots team we can be sure that American enterprise has a voice in advocating for a bright economic future.
Wishing you a very happy New Year.
A new 2.3% tax on medical devices is set to hit one of America’s most innovative industries in January. According to an Ernst & Young study, companies that make devices like MRIs, pacemakers, joint replacements, etc. will fork over $2.5 billion in new taxes in 2013. This will reduce research and development of new products and stop them from hiring more workers. This tax should be repealed.
This infographic from AdvaMed illustrates how this tax harm American medical technology companies and their workers.
This weekend on Sunday's Meet The Press, Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner had some unexpectedly positive comments on the state of our economy.
“The economy now is actually looking quite resilient… In manufacturing, one of the strongest periods of manufacturing revival that we've seen in almost a generation.”
News reports that followed Geithner's comments contested his claims, noting that, "A survey shows U.S. manufacturing shrank in November to its weakest level since July 2009."
"Resilient" may not be the first word that comes to mind when we think about and almost 8% unemployment rate and the mere 27 days until our economy is in jeopardy of flying off a fiscal cliff.
What do you think?
Did you "Shop Small" as part of the Small Business Saturday this past weekend?
If you did, you were one of over 100 million Americans who participated in this worthwhile promotion during the past few years.
This year, as in past years, the U.S. Chamber was honored to be a sponsor of this event to help support the small business owners who represent our local communities.
As this news story reported, Small Business Saturday helped draw crowds to local businesses — a needed boost in the midst of an uncertain economy.
In fact, according to our most recent Small Business Outlook Survey, 49% of small businesses are not sure if their business’s best days are ahead or behind them.
It’s going to take more than a one-day promotion to create certainty for these job creators.
And the looming “fiscal cliff” certainly isn’t helping.
As this Wall Street Journal survey shows, small businesses fear the “fiscal cliff” — and aren’t confident that our elected officials will prevent it before December 31.
Now that the elections are over and Thanksgiving has passed — it’s time for Congress and the White House to get back to work and pass a “fiscal cliff” solution before the end of the year.
Please visit the Fiscal Cliff Countdown to learn more about why immediate action is necessary — and how you can contact your members of Congress to urge action today.
Tell us the story of your Small Business Saturday experience in the comments section below.
The Election's Over, No More Excuses
Not much changed in Washington following the elections.
We awoke on Wednesday morning to find a lame duck Congress that will continue to grapple with the same power struggles that existed before Election Day.
However, we’re encouraged by recent statements from Congressional leaders which show a willingness to work together and an understanding of the severity of the issue.
As the U.S. Chamber’s Executive Vice President, Bruce Josten said in the Lane Report:
“No piece of legislation before the U.S. Congress requires action more urgently than extending the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003… Failure to act will deal a ‘devastating blow to our fragile economy by slowing growth and killing jobs — at the worst possible time…If the U.S. jumps off the fiscal cliff, the country will witness the largest single tax hike in U.S. history,' Josten said, hitting American taxpayers with $400 billion in new taxes in the first year and $4.5 trillion over the next decade."
We need House and Senate leaders sit down to work out a big deal. And we need them to do it soon.
The Lane Report also mentions the U.S. Chamber’s Fiscal Cliff Countdown as a tool to take action on the impending. If you haven’t sent a letter yet, please do so today.
Congress isn’t going to act unless you make your voice heard.
You can make a difference. Don’t wait -- act today.
Constituents are furious about Congress’ inaction on the upcoming fiscal cliff and what will be the biggest tax increase in American history. But it’s not the political leaders who stand to lose if we don’t solve this problem before January 1st, 2013.
Experts have predicted failure to act on this impending crisis will result in a deep recession, which would certainly take a devastating toll on the job creators and innovators that make up America’s small businesses community.
In this week’s Tax Fact of the Week, we’re going straight to the source — we’re going straight to the job creators who are running successful small businesses, to hear what they have to say about the fiscal cliff.
There’s little denying that this 112th Congress has been one of the most unproductive in recent memory—which may help explain their 10% approval rating in Gallup’s most recent poll.
With 112 days remaining until we hit the Fiscal Cliff, Congress’ track record doesn’t bode well for decisive action coming before the November elections. In fact, in a recent Reuter’s article, one senatorial staffer conceded as much in admitting the “norm” for Congress in an election year:
"Everyone wants to get out of town -- fast," said a top Senate aide, voicing the sentiment on both sides of the political aisle.
That may be the “norm,” but with America starting at a certain recession if Congress fails to act, this is hardly a normal year:
The most urgent item -- making sure Congress does not trigger a recession early next year -- is by all accounts on hold until after the election, when lawmakers will attempt to head off trouble of their own making: tax increases and automatic spending cuts that threaten to send the United States over what's been called "a fiscal cliff."
On hold until after the election?
We recently asked you in a blog poll what the top priority should be for Congress when they return from their August recess.
More than three-quarters (76%) of you said that solving the Fiscal Cliff crisis was priority #1. We couldn’t agree more.
Our economy can’t wait until after the election. Jobs can’t wait until after the election. Growth and prosperity can’t wait until after the election.
Solving the Fiscal Cliff crisis can’t wait until after the election. We need Congress to show some leadership and act now.
This morning, it was reported that the economy added only about 96,000 jobs in August bringing the unemployment figure down from 8.3% to 8.1%
Great news, right? Unfortunately not. Today’s unemployment numbers are lower because so many Americans have become discouraged with their efforts to find a job that they’ve simply stopped looking.
U.S. Chamber Chief Economist Dr. Martin Regalia explains:
“For yet another month the economy created a paltry number of jobs. The unemployment rate dropped because 368,000 people left the workforce. The participation rate in the jobs market is at a 30-year low. Clearly the economic policies that have been implemented in Washington are failing. These numbers virtually assure that the Fed will try to bail out the economy with yet another round of monetary easing.”
We can turn this around.
But only when we stop looking to government for all of the solutions and again embrace American free enterprise and the power of small businesses to lead our recovery and put Americans back to work.
Between the daily headlines and our weekly Tax Facts of the Week, you undoubtedly know by now that the Fiscal Cliff must be stopped to prevent a near-guaranteed recession.
But what are others saying?
In this week’s Tax Fact of the Week, Caroline Harris, the U.S. Chamber’s Chief Tax Counsel, shares a study from the American Action Forum to illustrate what will happen to the economy around us if Congress fails to act before January 1st, 2013:
Visit The Fiscal Cliff Countdown web site today to learn more and tell Congress that there’s no time to waste.
The Long and Short of the Fiscal Cliff
As Congress continues to play “chicken” with the Fiscal Cliff, the business community is experiencing a tremendous amount of uncertainty caused by the unknown impact of the impending tax hikes and sequestration cuts.
So, even if Congress acts to avoid the Fiscal Cliff before the January 1 deadline, is it too late to avoid another recession?
In this week’s Tax Fact of the Week, the Chamber’s Chief Economist, Dr. Martin Regalia, tells us the immediate and long-term implications of our country’s fiscal dilemma.
We’re staring down the largest tax increase in American history if Congress doesn’t act.
Click here to visit The Fiscal Cliff Countdown and tell Congress to act now to head off this problem before it’s too late.
Trouble is Brewing for Hardworking Americans Saving for their Futures.
If there’s one thing that the Tax Facts of the Week have outlined, it's that allowing our economy to go off the fiscal cliff this January will be dire for all Americans.
But it's also worth noting how this economic boiling point will affect various groups differently. A few weeks back we examined how the rising tax rates and sequestration cuts would impact small businesses.
This week we ask: how will the fiscal cliff's increase of capital gains and dividend rates impact retiring Americans and those saving for their futures?
We need Congress to act now to prevent the largest tax increase in American history.
Visit the Fiscal Cliff Countdown and tell Congress not to delay and act now.
151 Days – the countdown continues.
You can’t argue with the facts – and with your help, we’re getting the facts straight as it relates to the impending Fiscal Cliff.
Politicians in Washington have focused on the fact that only 2 to 3 percent of taxpayers will be impacted by the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax rates for higher income earners.
But that’s not the point. The point is that thousands of businesses, and the jobs they create, will be threatened. 53% of small business income would be hit by higher taxes if rates on sucessful small businesses are allowed to rise.
Watch our Chief Tax Policy Counsel, Caroline Harris, outline why the percentage of taxpayers doesn’t matter as much as the disruption to business does.
Job creators need to know what their tax rates will be in order to have certainty and make the investments necessary to keep our economy growing.
Congress has 153 days.
Unless Congress acts in time, on January 1st, 2013 American families and businesses will be facing a tsunami of tax increases – a phenomenon many are calling our nation’s Fiscal Cliff.
Last week, in newspapers across the country, the U.S. Chamber’s Executive VP of Government Affairs, Bruce Josten explained just how damaging it will be if Congress fails to extend the current tax rates, one aspect of this economic predicament:
If the 2001 and 2003 tax rates are allowed to expire at midnight on Dec. 31, we'll witness the largest single tax hike in U.S. history — hitting American taxpayers with $400 billion in new taxes in the first year and $4.5 trillion over the next decade.
Bruce goes on to explain:
•Marginal tax rates will rise, as well as dividends and capital gains taxes. This will squarely hit taxpayers — ranging from the investors who pour capital into job creation to retirees and workers planning for retirement.
•The estate tax will come roaring back to 55 percent, and the exemption threshold will dip from $5 million estates to $1 million -- threatening the livelihood of many small businesses and family farms.
•In addition to the 2001 and 2003 tax rates, relief from the alternative minimum tax will lapse, along with many vital business tax provisions.
And, despite the political rhetoric from those opposing extension of the tax rates, it’s not just the “wealthy” that will be hit. Almost a million successful small and family-owned businesses that file their taxes as pass-through entities will get swept up in the tax hike.
That will mean an increase in the top tax rate from 35 percent to 45 percent for many of these job creators, and that’s not all. On the same day, $1.2 trillion in automatic and untargeted budget cuts are scheduled to take effect.
The ill-designed, across-the-board discretionary spending cuts -- a result of the failed Deficit Supercommittee -- were never intended to take effect. If they do, they will disproportionately cut $500 billion in military spending. What's worse, they will fail to address the real drivers of runaway spending -- massive and growing entitlement programs.
Many economists warn that this dangerous combination of tax hikes and spending cuts, dubbed "the fiscal cliff" in Washington, could drag our economy back into a recession.
The consequences will be severe, but it’s not unstoppable.
Last week we learned that failure to prevent the ‘fiscal cliff’ could cost millions of America jobs. So why are some politicians advocating for just that?
Here they are in their own words:
"Let's just go over the fiscal cliff. Everybody's going to bite the bullet. The Republicans are going to hate the taxes and the Democrats are going to hate some of the cuts, but it's going to have to happen." – Howard Dean, DNC Chairman, MSNBC’s Squawk Box, 7/23/12
“If we can’t get a good deal, a balanced deal that calls on the wealthy to pay their fair share, then I will absolutely continue this debate into 2013. And I think my party, and the American people, will support that.” – Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Speech to the Brookings Institute, 7/16/12
Yesterday, the Senate voted on how to proceed on extending the current tax 2001 and 2003 rates, also known as the Bush-era tax rates.
The Senate approved the Democratic plan to allow taxes to raise on those making $250,000 or more. The Senate did not approve the Republican plan of allowing an extention of all the Bush-era tax cuts.
Jeopardizing millions of jobs and economic ruin for political gain isn’t just bad politics, it’s reckless. Send a message to your members of Congress and urge them to do what’s necessary to keep our economy from flying off of the fiscal cliff.
It’s time to put the financial security of our country and generations to come ahead of career politicians.
With each day that Congress doesn’t act, we inch closer and closer the brink of our economic fiscal cliff.
As of today, we’re 165 days away if Congress fails to act.
Last week, we explained why we’re in this economic predicament, outlined how many different taxes are set to increase, and by how much.
Reports have warned that further stress on our already fragile economy could be devastating. According to a recent study:
U.S. economy could lose from 2.8 million jobs to as much as 10 million jobs...[R]eaching the fiscal cliff will decrease the likelihood that small businesses will hire by 18 percent, and push the effective marginal tax rate for many workers and small businesses above 50 percent of their income.
Even Congress can’t argue with the facts.
RELEASE - July 6, 2012
U.S. Chamber Comments on June’s Disappointing Jobs Data
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Following today’s report that only 80,000 new jobs were created in June, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Chief Economist, Dr. Martin Regalia, issued the following statement:
“Today’s employment report should serve as a clear reminder that the pace of economic growth must accelerate if we are to see sustained improvements in the labor market.
“The global economy is in a precarious position and our current policies are not meeting our fiscal challenges. In order to alleviate some of the uncertainty businesses are feeling, we must put aside differences and act in the nation’s best interest to address these issues. We must address the fiscal cliff while agreeing on a plan to substantially reduce our long-term budget deficits, ease the burden of regulations on our nation’s entrepreneurs, and expand our trading agreements around the globe.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.
www.uschamber.com @USChamber www.freeenterprise.com
An Update from the U.S. Chamber's Transportation Team:
The U.S. Chamber congratulates House and Senate conference committee members for their commitment to negotiations and for their resolve in finding an equitable agreement to a long-term transportation reauthorization bill. This legislation will save thousands of jobs in construction and related industries in the near term through the combination of the levels of investment and through reforms that will stretch federal dollars further in highway, transit, and safety projects. Long-term, these investments will strengthen the nation's economy and spur economic growth. (Read the Chamber's statement on FreeEnterprise.com)
Following months of negotiations, Congress has before it legislation that includes landmark reforms that will greatly improve the business of transportation investment in this country. Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) will:
- Establish historic reforms to the project delivery process;
- Consolidate and simplify the federal program structure;
- Strengthen accountability and performance measures;
- Reduce duplicative and costly federal approval process for new Transit systems;
- Improve freight movement with targeted investment;
- Leverage federal resources through the TIFIA program to expand public private partnerships and private participation; and,
- Enhance the research, development and application of intelligent transportation technologies.
In terms of funding, while this legislation does not return programs to the funding high water mark of FY 2011, it provides funding certainty through 2014 for much-needed investment.
Tell your members of Congress to vote YES for landmark reforms and much-needed funding certainty: Take Action and Write your Members of Congress Today!
It is time for Congress to take the final step and finish this transportation bill.
Here's yet another reason:
Yesterday, FreeEnterprise.com welcomed a guest column by Stu Levenick, Group President of Caterpillar, Inc. highlighting how states, local governments and private interests have struggled to maintain existing highways, bridges and transit systems and to keep new projects afloat through the sputtering stops and starts of short-term extensions. With this conference agreement, Congress can drive highway, transit and safety program reauthorization over the finish line. Reauthorization of these programs will help provide needed stability for states, contractors, and others so they are able to make critical long term capital investments. In turn, these investments will help boost the economy in the near-term and in the long-term help ensure our transportation networks can efficiently deliver increasing U.S. exports which are critical to future economic growth.
Click here to send a letter to your members of Congress urging their support of the final conference committee measure that will reform our outdated highway and transit programs and restore certainty for our nation's job creators.
In particular, the Chamber is very encouraged with the significant reforms this bill would provide for project delivery and environmental streamlining by reducing bureaucracy and red tape, eliminating duplicative and time-consuming environmental reviews for capacity expansion projects on existing roads and bridges, allowing for early right-of-way acquisitions, expanding the use of innovative contracting methods, firmly encouraging early coordination between relevant agencies to avoid delays later in the review process with deadlines and stiff penalties for non-compliance, "defederalizing " projects with minimal federal funding, consolidating environmental documentation, and strengthening dispute resolution procedures.
The impending “Fiscal Cliff” our country faces will impose about $600 billion in automatic spending cuts and tax increases on the economy in 2013 unless Congress acts to avert a completely self-made crisis.
•The 2001 and 2003 tax rates will expire, which means tax hikes on all Americans
•The end of alternative minimum tax (AMT) patches
•The expiration of the payroll tax cut and jobless benefits
•The end of doc fixes
•The expiration of various tax extenders
•The activation of the “sequestration,” which will cut billions of dollars capriciously from the budget
•Hitting the debt ceiling
There’s no telling the cumulative toll these negative economic hits will take on the economy. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates, if Congress fails to act, growth could plummet to 0.5% in 2013. That, coupled with a change in output, would see us back into a recession.
That’s why Congress needs to act. To remind them of their duty to all American taxpayers, we’ve launched a new advocacy website — The Fiscal Cliff Countdown.
Curious what your taxes will look like if Congress doesn’t act by December 31st? We have calculator where you can see what kind of a hit you’ll take if tax rates spike on January 1st.
Need more resources on what will happen if Congress doesn’t avert the nation flying over and off the fiscal cliff? The website will provide daily updated news clips and resources for you to share with your friends and family and on social media
Most importantly, the site provides a quick way to contact Congress and tell them to act now.
Click here to check out the site today.
With your help, we can remind Congress of their duty and make sure America avoids the fiscal cliff altogether.
Some are calling it the “Fiscal Cliff.” Others refer to it as “Taxmageddon.”
Whatever you call it, the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax rates coupled with sequestration cuts in 2013 could very well drive our fragile economy back into a recession.
Congress must act now to prevent the largest tax increases in American history from taking effect next year, as well as enact fundamental tax and spending reform that will drive American competitiveness and growth in the long term.
In addition to extending the 2001 and 2003 tax rates (including current marginal rates, dividend and capital gains rates, and estate tax relief), Congress must extend vital expired and expiring business tax provisions, and provide alternative minimum tax (AMT) relief.
What are the consequences if they don’t?
As the Financial Times says:
If Congress fails to pass new legislation by December 31, it would trigger a fiscal tightening of $600bn in 2013 in the world’s largest economy, probably tipping it into recession in the first half of the year.
The drag would come mainly from the expiration of more than $300bn Bush-era tax rates, as well as the impact of $100bn in automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending. Other tax breaks would also expire, including a payroll tax cut worth $120bn. Soon after, in early 2013, the US is expected to hit its borrowing limit again, which could worsen the picture by adding the spectre of default and a financial crisis.
To really take a stand, click here to give your testimony on how the current tax uncertainty is affecting your business' ability to grow and hire. These stories will be shared with members of Congress to underscore the importance of their action.
With your help, we can save stop our economy from going off the fiscal cliff next year.
Ma and Pa shops are more than just a cliché. The family-run small business is still the backbone of the economy in communities across America.
This year, in the time between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, the U.S. Chamber is honoring the mothers, fathers, and families that play a vital role in the fabric of American life and in the success of the American economy.
In advance of Father’s Day, log on to share your family small business story or read about family-run businesses in your community.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of the American economy, and the family-run small business is a true piece of Americana.
Don’t miss the chance to recognize a family-run small business before we begin to highlight the owners and leaders of this celebrated industry over the next couple of months.
We wish you and your family a safe and happy Father’s Day this weekend.
Rock Band KISS Hires Veteran for 2012 Tour as Part of U.S. Chamber’s Hiring Our Heroes Program
Gene Simmons Makes Exclusive Announcement Live on NBC’s ‘TODAY’
PRESS RELEASE: May 23, 2012
NEW YORK, NY—As part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Chamber Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program, world-renowned rock band KISS hired a veteran to serve as a roadie on its 2012 concert tour. Gene Simmons made the announcement this morning live on NBC’s TODAY.
“We should all step up and give our heroes, our vets, a job,” said Simmons on TODAY. “It’s the least we can do. They volunteered for us. Our heroes go and represent us on the field of battle, voluntarily. Then they come back and we throw them back out here, good luck, get a job. They should have guaranteed jobs, and you out there, get off your behinds and give our heroes a job. This is in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce.”
Army veteran and longtime KISS fan Paul Jordan was selected after a review of 1,900 applications received by Hiring Our Heroes. Jordan, who is from Buford, Georgia, served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. He will start in July as a tour carpenter on the 44-city KISS tour. “It’s a dream come true,” said Jordan on TODAY. “I’ve always wanted to be involved with KISS somehow. I mean, I’ve been a fan since I was four years old. And wow, this is incredible.”
KISS made the commitment to hire a veteran for its upcoming tour on March 28, the day Hiring Our Heroes, the National Chamber Foundation, and Capital One announced the “Hiring 500,000 Heroes” campaign. The goal of the initiative is to engage the business community in committing to hire half a million veterans and military spouses by the end of 2014. In less than two months, the campaign has received more than 181,000 commitments.
“We are thrilled to see KISS follow through on its commitment to hire a veteran for its upcoming tour,” said retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel, Kevin Schmiegel, executive director of the U.S. Chamber’s Hiring Our Heroes program. “This is a tremendous opportunity for Paul, and we are glad Hiring Our Heroes could play a part in making his dream come true. We hope business owners across America will follow Gene Simmons’ call to action and realize the value of hiring our nation’s talented veterans and military spouses.”
In March 2011, the Chamber, in conjunction with the National Chamber Foundation, launched its Hiring Our Heroes program, a nationwide effort to help veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment. The Chamber started the program to improve public-private sector coordination in local communities, where veterans and their families are returning every day. To date, Hiring Our Heroes has hosted 176 hiring fairs in 48 states and the District of Columbia, helping close to 10,000 veterans and military spouses find employment.
Click here make your committment to the "Hiring 500,000 Heroes" Program.
A roller coaster ride.
That’s likely what we can expect out of the economy in 2012, according to this Politico piece predicting that this will be the “year of the wild economy.”
The rise and fall of the stock market. Good jobs numbers one month — and not-so-good numbers the next. We can likely expect more of that from our fragile economy over the next 12 months. Just take a look at this week’s headlines, which herald both the quickening of manufacturing sector growth — and slowed overall job growth in the month of April.
One step forward. One step back. Unfortunately, the current political climate in D.C. doesn’t help the situation. The job-creating Keystone XL pipeline remains stalled; the NLRB remains unchecked; meaningful tax reform has taken a backseat to partisan “tax fairness” rhetoric; and, the U.S. Senate hasn’t even passed a budget in more than three years.
We’ll keep fighting for change through legislation — but it’s clear that real change is going to have to come at the ballot box. We need leaders who won’t just stand idly by while the American economy gets nauseous over this roller coaster ride. We need leaders who will fight for agenda that brings certainty to the system and allows our employers to start hiring and investing again.
That’s exactly the aim of our unprecedented 2012 Voter Education campaign — and we need your help to make it a success.
As our National Political Director, Rob Engstrom, recently told the New York Times: “We’re going to shape the environment now instead of waiting for the environment that comes later.”
Thanks for joining our efforts. It’s time to end the roller coaster ride and get the American economy back on track.
6.1 billion hours ensuring that they’re in compliance with the 3.4 million words that make up the our tax code; that’s the time and effort that Americans spent this tax season sumbitting their tax returns.
Complexity isn’t the only thing that Americans should be concerned about. By the end of the year, the 2001-2003 tax cuts are set to expire, sending tax rates for some individuals and small businesses up to almost 40%. All the while, few in Congress are concentrating on the true solutions to resolve these issues.
It is clear to us that America need comprehensive tax reform that not only improves efficiency by providing simplicity, but will help our country achieve national priorities; like creating jobs and growing our economy. Do you agree?
Following this year’s tax day, we want to know:
They’re the heartbeat of our economy, represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms around the country, and employ almost half of America’s private sector workforce – and they’re telling us how today’s economic environment impacts their growth.
Earlier this week, we released the results of our Quarterly Small Business Outlook Survey for the first quarter of 2012, where over 1,300 small businesses from around the country outlined their outlook on the state of the economy as it relates to policies from Washington, hiring trends, and attitudes leading up to the elections.
So, what do American small businesses identify as the biggest growing threats to their success?
According to our Q1 Small Business Outlook Survey, the recent spike in energy prices is growing as a small business obstacle.
The number of small business concerned about rising energy prices has doubled since our last survey, up from 10% to 24%. Seventy-eight percent (78%) of small businesses have the perception that the Obama administration isn’t doing enough to address the surge in energy costs, support American jobs or energy production.
Concerns about over-regulation are also in the rise.
Fifty-two percent (52%) of the businesses we surveyed cited regulatory burdens form the government as the top threat they face in 2012.
No matter the challenges, small businesses’ confidence about their own future continues to rise.
Our Q1 survey shows that small business confidence is up 7 percentage points from our last quarterly survey, even though new hiring has remained stagnant. Businesses know what would help them start hiring again — a reduction in the taxes, regulation, and legislation that flows from Washington. Eighty percent (80%) cited these as the biggest roadblocks to increased hiring.
Small businesses are looking to the upcoming elections to provide relief from the overreach of government.
An overwhelming majority, 97% of those we surveyed, said a candidate’s support for free enterprise is important to them, with 84% citing free enterprise as very important. Not to mention, the vast majority really just wants Washington to get out of their way, with 81% favoring more certainty over more government help.
Click here to view the entire results of our 1st Quarter Small Business Outlook Survey.
The message from American small businesses is clear: We need to support the free enterprise system and empower American businesses to lead our nation to recovery.
Leave a comment below and tell us how small businesses in your community are dealing.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been highlighting some of the ads that make up the U.S. Chamber’s landmark, multi-state voter education program.
Elections have consequences. And November’s elections will have enormous consequences for job creation and our economy. We need to be sure that we’re electing representatives who will support common-sense pro-jobs and pro-business policies that will get our struggling economy growing again.
Before voters go to the polls, we think it’s important for them to know how elected officials voted on policies that support free enterprise, and those that choose big government instead.
Today, we profile three fighters for jobs and free enterprise — Sen. Dick Luger, Rep. Frank Guinta, and Linda Lingle.
Indiana: Sen. Dick Lugar
The Keystone XL Pipeline wouldn’t just be a huge step towards securing America’s energy future and reducing our dependence on unfriendly foreign sources of oil, allowing the Keystone XL project would also create 20,000 immediate new American jobs, and tens of thousands of more indirect jobs created from the pipeline’s construction. That’s why Sen. Dick Lugar stood up to President Obama when the president blocked its construction.
Hoosiers have a pro-job, pro-growth advocate in the Senate, fighting for new energy jobs for Indiana.
New Hampshire: Rep. Frank Guinta
Few pieces of legislation will have as disastrous effects on our economy and on job creation as the sweeping mandates, penalties and taxes inclided ObamaCare. That’s why Rep. Frank Guinta is fighting against the landmark 2010 health care overhaul and to repeal the most burdensome provisions on New Hampshire businesses.
Frank Guinta knows that it’s American free enterprise
—not the heavy hand of government—that will get our economy roaring again.
Hawaii: Linda Lingle
America’s tourism industry employs 7.4 million people and generates more than $700 billion in revenue each year. In Hawaii, Linda Lingle has been a bi-partisan leader for expanding tourism and putting out the welcome mat for people to visit and enjoy all that the United States has to offer.
Linda Lingle knows that promoting greater tourism will create new jobs and help grow Hawaii’s and America’s economy.
You can click here to view all of the ads in our voter education program, and be sure to leave us a comment here and let us know what you think of these candidates!
This week marks the 2nd anniversary of the passage of Obamacare, and more than half of all Americans oppose it.
Obamacare serves as a stark reminder that elections have very serious consequences. We need to send more people to Washington that won’t only oppose job-killing and tax-raising pieces of legislation like Obamacare, but who are also pro-business, pro-jobs, and support policies that will unleash the productive power of the free enterprise system to get our economy roaring again.
As we’ve mentioned, the U.S. Chamber is engaged in an historic and unprecedented voter education campaign in 2012. Because elections have consequences, voters need to know who supports common-sense policies that will create jobs and who supports policies that will harm our economy.
Today, we’re profiling three more voter education ads that highlight the records of three members of Congress:
Wisconsin: Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin
Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin is one of those Washington politicians who’s making it harder for small businesses. She fought hard for the health care overhaul, which will heap crushing costs onto businesses, strangling them with government red tape, and making it harder for them to grown and put more Americans to work.
Higher taxes. More regulations. New burdens on businesses. That’s Tammy Baldwin’s record. And we want to make sure Wisconsinites know the truth before they vote:
Michigan: Congressman Fred Upton
As chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee in the House, Congressman Fred Upton has stood strong against new taxes that would have sent energy costs through the roof. Upton opposed Obamacare and its job-killing mandates and taxes, and he’s heading the fight to repeal it.
Michigan needs more jobs, and Michigan voters should know that they have a pro-jobs friend in Representative in Fred Upton:
Pennsylvania: Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick
Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is fighting to protect Pennsylvanians from the big government onslaught coming from Washington. He opposed Obamacare, and is working with Fred Upton and others to see that it is repealed. Fitzpatrick knows that it’s not Washington or Congress that will jumpstart our economy — it’s small businesses and American free enterprise that will get America back on track and put Americans back to work.
Pennsylvanians need to know that Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is on their side, working to protect Pennsylvania jobs and get our economy growing again.
Click here to see all of the ads that are part of our landmark 2012 voter education campaign. As it turns 2 years old, Americans need to know who is fighting for them and fighting to end Obamacare.
Last week, we highlighted three of our new ads that are part of our multi-state voter education campaign. The U.S. Chamber has set out to make sure that American voters know where their candidates stand on the issue of jobs before they head to the polls to choose their next members of Congress.
We need to get our economy growing again, so voters need to know who is supporting sensible pro-growth policies and who is placing political interests ahead of smart pro-jobs solutions.
Today, we’re highlighting three more of our new ads that will let you know where Congressman Joe Heck, Senator Claire McCaskill, and Virginia’s George Allen stand on the issues.
Congressman Joe Heck
Over-regulation is keeping businesses wrapped up in government red tape. High taxes make it harder for businesses to expand and create new jobs. Because Congressman Joe Heck understands this, he’s been fighting to lower taxes and rein in regulatory overreach.
The recession has hit Nevada particularly hard, and Nevada voters are fortunate to have Joe Heck fighting for sensible pro-jobs policies:
Sen. Claire McCaskill
Obamacare will place a new load of new mandates and burdens on businesses -- and it wouldn’t have passed without the vote of Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill. When Missouri voters had a chance to weigh in on Obamacare in 2012, 71% voted to reject ObamaCare’s mandates.
So, why is Claire McCaskill still supporting ObamaCare? See what Missouri voters need to know before November:
George Allen has a record of working to help businesses grow and create new jobs. As a U.S. Senator, he supported tax cuts that put more money in the hands of businesses. As Governor of Virginia, he was a bi-partisan leader for cutting spending and government waste.
Virginians should know that George Allen is fighting for jobs:
To view and share all of our ads click here. Help us ensure that when Americans go to the polls this year, they vote for jobs.
Leave a comment below to tell us what you think of these candidates.
This week, both the House and Senate have been considering legislation to reauthorize the federal highway and transit programs. While there are differences between the two packages, both bills include critical programmatic reforms and represent important investments in infrastructure around the country.
The time is now to make sure Congress gets the job done – and we’ve outlined different steps you can take to encourage them to do so. With the expiration of current law looming on March 31st, both the House (H.R. 7) and the Senate (S. 1813) need to pass bills and quickly move to conference so that a bill can be finished by March 31st.
Here are some tools to help:
- Understand the basics; here is a quick guide to the issues.
- Contact your members of Congress and ask them to pass bills out of the House and Senate via email or phone (202-224-3121).
Spread the word to employees, colleagues, friends and family:
- Share this e-mail to your friends, family and colleagues
- Pass along the Chamber-led ATM coalition ads now airing on TV and radio
Next Week—February 20-24—Get some face time by meeting with your members!
Next week is Congress’ President’s Day Recess Work Period. Your Senators and Representatives will be at home connecting with you—their constituents—so ask for time on their calendars during office hours, attend public meetings that they’ve arranged, or offer to give them a tour of your business and talk to your employees who are affected by transportation investment. Click here for more details on how to set up a meeting with your members, and here are some talking points to help guide your discussion.
Haven't we seen this before?
We're talking, about the president's 2013 budget proposal, released earlier this week -- as well as the U.S. Treasury's Greenbook, which highlights the president's tax proposals.
The President is calling for increases in the top marginal tax rates, reduction or elimination of itemized deductions, and higher taxes on growth-stimulating investment.
No meaningful tax reform. Higher taxes.
Add to that the spending increases in the proposed budget and you get a serious case of déjà vu.
In the fragile economy, the last thing our job creators need is to be saddled with higher taxes.
The general rule is what you tax, you get less of. And so, in increasing taxes on work, productivity, saving, and investment even more, the sad result will be less work, less productivity, less saving, and less investment.
Further, rather than seeking to make the tax code more conducive to economic growth, President Obama puts an even greater reliance on using the tax code to raise revenue. He calls for the double taxation of profits American worldwide companies earn abroad, and $41 billion in tax hikes on job-creating traditional energy producers.
American employers, families and workers are suffering under a complex tax code that costs billions each year in compliance costs. There’s never been a better time than now for serious proposals that lessen and simplify the tax burdens on millions of Americans.
But from the White House, it’s just déjà vu all over again.
Read more in this article, where Caroline Harris, the U.S. Chamber’s Chief Tax Counsel, tells the McClatchy that, “there is something there to dislike for everyone."
You might remember Phil Connors as Bill Murray’s TV weatherman character in the classic comedy film, Groundhog Day. In the movie, the cynical and jaded Connors wakes up, over and over and over again, to relive the same day — Groundhog Day.
It’s only when Connors sheds his cynicism and begins to reexamine his life and his priorities that he finally ceases repeating Groundhog Day and moves on with a better life.
Connors’ frustrations seem unfortunately familiar lately as we’ve been living our own Groundhog Day lately, waking up to the same frustrating economic news, day in and day out.
But, taking hint from Connors’ redemption, we hope that soon the politicians in Washington will begin to reexamine their policies and their priorities. We hope they’ll begin to remove the excessive burdens on businesses. We hope they’ll come to their senses on the Keystone XL pipeline so we can create new American jobs and help secure America’s energy future. We hope they’ll begin to embrace a real jobs agenda that promotes economic growth and prosperity for all.
What do you think Congress should to so that we can stop waking up each morning the relive our own bad economic Groundhog Day?
We hear a lot of talk coming out of Washington about getting serious about fixing the stalled American economy. But every day that passes without measures to cut spending or create growth makes it harder to take the Congress seriously.
The day the president delivered the State of the Union speech marked exactly 1,000 days since the United States Senate had last passed a budget. We often hear pundits chide a "do-nothing Congress" and, in this instance, they're correct. The failure of the Senate to pass a budget — any budget — for more than 1,000 days is a grievous display of irresponsibility on their part, especially with the budget deficit continuing to balloon to record numbers.
But the "do-nothing Congress" charge is only partly correct. There are no less than 22 job-creation bills that have passed in the House aimed at addressing our economy’s sluggish growth and stalled job creation. All 22 of those bills have languished in the Senate, without so much as an up or down vote.
If Congress is really serious about fixing our economy, and if they're serious about creating jobs and growing American prosperity, the first step is to take action.
That means producing a budget that begins to deal with American's exploding debt problem. That means considering the 22 pieces of House-passed job creation legislation.
It means Congress doing the job the American people sent them there to do.
We want to hear from you. What are your thoughts on yesterday’s CBO report?
If you watched the president’s State of the Union address last night, you witnessed a speech that focused on many issues central to our economy. Unfortunately, he missed the mark. As U.S. Chamber President Tom Donohue said after the speech:
"Too many of the solutions he proposed rest on higher taxes, more spending, and an avalanche of new regulations. The way to create the jobs Americans need is to grow our free enterprise economy, not to further expand the federal government."
We’re ready to work with anyone in Congress or the White House on solutions that will put Americans back to work without raising taxes or adding to the deficit. Read the Chamber’s jobs plan here.
It’s possible. And it’s time to demand real solutions.
Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts on the president’s speech. You can also join us on Twitter for a national conversation taking place now.
Today, the U.S. Chamber has released our Fourth Quarter Small Business Outlook survey.
The quarterly surveys are designed to track the small business community’s outlook on their business, the local economy, and the national economy over time. Small business owners are polled nation-wide, and respondents include U.S. Chamber members and non-members.
Though another quarter has come and gone, this quarter's results show the vast majority of small businesses continue to view the country as headed in the wrong direction, and economic uncertainty continues to be their biggest challenge, along with regulations and the health care law.
As mentioned in this morning's press release:
The poll of 1,322 small business executives - conducted between December 30, 2011 and January 6, 2012 - found that more than eight out of ten (85%) now believe the U.S. economy is on the wrong track. Eight out of ten say they would rather have Washington stay out of the way than provide a helping hand. Similarly, nearly nine out of ten (86%) say they would rather have more certainty from Washington than more assistance (6%) to deal with the economy. The survey defined a small business as a company with fewer than 500 employees and annual revenues of less than $25 million.
While outlook on our nation's economic environment remains grim, we're encouraged to see the outlook for local economies and attitudes about respondents own businesses have improved. Additionally, 93% of small business members support the Chamber's role in issue advocacy and voter education.
Want to be an expert on federal spending and the deficit? This week the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an infographic to help make sense of the intricacies of the federal spending process, and provide a lesson on America's current budgetary challenges.
As the graphic says:
The United States is facing significant and fundamental budgetary challenges. The federal government’s budget deficit for fiscal year 2011 was $1.3 trillion; at 8.7% of GDP, that deficit was the third largest shortfall in the past 40 years.
In 2011, federal spending (outlays) exceeded 24% of GDP, the third-highest in the past 40 years, while federal revenues were just over 15% of GDP, the third-lowest during that period. If economic conditions improve, spending will decline relative to GDP and revenues will rise. But even so, under current policies, a large gap between spending and revenues will persist.
Annual budget deficits occur when spending exceeds revenues; the government must borrow to cover such a shortfall. Federal debt held by the public is the total value of outstanding Treasury bills, notes, bonds, and other debt instruments (including Treasury securities held by the Federal Reserve) that have accumulated over time to finance the government’s activities.
At the end of fiscal year 2011, debt held by the public amounted to $10.1 trillion or 67% of GDP. Another $4.6 trillion in Treasury securities were held by other federal government accounts, representing amounts that one part of the government (mostly the Social Security Administration) had lent to another (the Treasury).
Perhaps one of the most important gifts this Black Friday-Cyber Monday season was that of a sharp boost to the American economy.
With too many Americans still out of work, and our economic recovery remaining in a fragile state, this boost couldn’t have come at a better time.
How big was the boost?
As Sean Hackbarth writes over at Chamberpost, “Gallup found that shoppers spent an average of $98/day through the weekend, six dollars higher than last year.”
And, according to this Fox News report, last Monday was the most successful Cyber Monday in history:
Online sales on Cyber Monday, which was started in 2005 by a retail trade group to encourage Americans to shop online on the Monday after Thanksgiving, were up 18 percent from a year ago, according to data from IBM Benchmark.
Perhaps the best visual representation of last week’s success was this incredible Infographic, courtesy of Mint, that shows a city-by-city breakdown of how shoppers spent their money:
Could the increased consumer spending be a sign that the economic recovery is about to gain steam?
Only time will tell. Let’s hope that’s the case.
Happy Halloween from Friends of the U.S. Chamber. An article out last week shows that as of today, the average American's share of government debt is more than the average American makes in a year.
Talk about scary.
As the Daily Caller says:
As children across America costume themselves as ghouls, ghosts, goblins and former North African dictators Monday night, they may have missed the most spine-chilling scare of the day. According to calculations based on the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook, on All Hallows’ Eve the United States’ total debt will surpass its Gross Domestic Product for the first time since World
That means the average American’s share of government debt is more than an average American makes in a year. Spooky!
As Bloomberg put it, “America’s bills are about to exceed its paycheck.
The Bloomberg calculations, based on IMF data from the September World Economic Outlook, showed that by 2016, debt will exceed per capita production by $8,000.
With stagnant job growth over the last two years, an uncontrollable deficit and entitlement programs that will bankrupt our country if unaddressed – the future of our country hangs in the balance.
With Congress unable to overcome its partisan stalemate, these 12 members have been tasked with the near impossible – find a common ground and cut trillions in spending to improve our fiscal health moving forward.
This is no easy task and one that will require the participation of all American citizens to ensure the committee uses this opportunity to cut spending and establish a path for entitlements and the tax code moving forward.
As you’ll see, we make it easy for you to contact the committee members — and all members of Congress, as well as follow news about the committee’s progress.
The site also provides tools for you to urge elected officials to set the country on a sustainable path to deficit reduction without undermining its long term competitiveness.
This path includes meaningful entitlement reform and comprehensive tax reform that promotes, rather than hinders, American economic growth and competitiveness.
Few times in history have such a small group of lawmakers held the fate of our economy in the balance -- it’s up to you to hold them accountable.
We hope you’ll visit our new site today, and spread the word about this important initiative.
Fox News provides this entertaining "man on the street" segment with interviews of the Wall Street protestors. Please leave your reactions to this video in the comments section.
Yesterday, Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Kyle Wingfield uncovered some interesting data in, ‘The debt charts Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want you to see.’
For some reason, some people decided to resuscitate a chart created by Nancy Pelosi’s office about presidential responsibility for increases in the national debt. I say “for some reason,” because fact-checkers at PolitiFact had already given Pelosi a “pants on fire” rating for the chart because it massaged the underlying data and assigned it incorrectly.
It didn’t take long for the chart to be slapped down again when it resurfaced last week. But its brief revival did make me wonder how such a chart would look if it were drawn to assign responsibility for the debt to speakers of the House. There’s good reason to look at it from a congressional perspective, since Congress must pass budget legislation before the president can sign it. And it’s simpler to look at it from the House perspective, because the balance between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate changed mid-session a few times during the early 2000s.
Using the same data sources and parameters PolitiFact used to debunk Pelosi’s presidential-debt chart and declare President Obama “the undisputed debt king of the last five presidents,” here’s what I found:
No wonder Pelosi is so eager to look at things from a presidential perspective...
Wingfield goes on to break the data down to an annual and annualized basis -- only to reveal the same unforgiving results for Pelosi.
Read the full article here, and leave a comment below – we’d love to hear what you think.
The spirit of American entrepreneurship is still alive and well in America's youth.
That's the central finding of a fascinating new survey of U.S. high school juniors, released yesterday by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's National Chamber Foundation and Junior Achievement USA. The Free Enterprise National Survey found that 64% of high school juniors said they were interested in starting or owning their own businesses, and that 15% had already taken the entrepreneurial leap by starting their own business.
Clearly, the spirit that has made America an exceptional and exceptionally prosperous nation still burns bright in America's young men and women.
The survey also helped to highlight the problems we currently face. While teens are clearly expressing an interest in starting and owning their own businesses, they also expressed reservations and uncertainty about the state of the American economy. Seven in 10 high school juniors believe that the economy will either stay the same or get worse in the coming year, and nine in 10 are concerned about future job prospects after they finish high school.
The danger here is that many young, budding entrepreneurs might be dissuaded by the state of the economy and by these fears from taking the kinds of risks necessary to start a new business, and create jobs and economic prosperity. The teens surveyed expressed their strong belief in the vital importance of education on entrepreneurship, free enterprise and capitalism in school to help encourage those with entrepreneurial desires to act on them.
Through organizations like the National Chamber Foundation and Junior Achievement, we will continue to work to encourage the future entrepreneurs of America and invest them with confidence that free enterprise and capitalism can help us overcome our current economic doldrums.
Do you know of budding entrepreneurs ready to lead? If so, leave a comment and share their stories.
Is the White House listening to your thoughts on jobs? Tonight and tomorrow the White House will be holding Office Hours on Twitter, and we’ll be keeping an eye on the following events to ask the @WhiteHouse about their plans to put America back to work.
Tuesday, September 13 at 5:30 p.m. EDT: David Plouffe, senior advisor to the president answering your questions on Twitter during White House Office Hours using the hashtag #WHChat.
Wednesday, September 14th at 4:00 p.m. EDT: White House Office Hours with Brian Deese, Deputy Director of the National Economic council.
We hope you’ll join us in supporting the Chamber's six-point plan to spur economic growth in the private sector without adding to the deficit. Join in on the action by following and retweeting @USChamber and @USCCMiller during these times.
Americans are facing a high unemployment rate, increased uncertainty and are looking to their elected officials to come up with a plan. The Administration’s idea to getting jobs growth moving is…more bureaucracy?
Sounds ridiculous to us, too.
But, believe it or not, that’s exactly what the Obama Administration is proposing.
The New York Times reports:
“The administration may also merge the Department of Commerce, the Office of the United States Trade Representative and some economic divisions at the State Department into a new agency, administration officials said. Possible names include the Department of Jobs or the Department of Competitiveness.”
That’s not a real jobs plan. It’s a political maneuver that continues this administration’s failed “action equals progress” approach to economic policy.
More government bureaucracy is not the solution to our jobs problem.
After all, our recent survey of small business owners found a commanding majority felt the best way government could help them would be to simply get out of the way.
Instead of a new government agency, perhaps the Administration and Congress should work to peel away the layers of already established regulation that are crippling our job creators; enact the free trade agreements that will allow small businesses to sell more goods; and reform the tax system so job creators have more money to invest and create new employment opportunity.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama talked about America’s “Sputnik Moment” — the time for us to attack the challenges before us to change the course of history.
We think that such a moment is possible through the work of the new Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (a.k.a., the “Supercommittee”) created as part of the debt ceiling legislation enacted earlier this month.
While we supported the debt ceiling compromise in order to avoid default — we are under no illusions that this was a meaningful solution to our long-term debt challenges.
Far from it.
Our national debt is now greater than $14 trillion, and even if all the proposed cuts from the debt ceiling legislation are realized, our debt is still on pace to rise to $16 trillion in the next 10 years.
That’s not even including the massive debt bomb that’s ticking away as a result of our out-of-control entitlement spending. With 10,000 baby boomers set to retire each day in the next 19 years, we must act now to bring about fundamental and structural reforms to these entitlement programs to save them for future generations and to insure a future of fiscal stability.
The other crucial piece of reducing the deficit is comprehensive reform of the tax code. The American tax code is over-complicated, hinders job creation and throws roadblocks in front of our job creators.
The “Supercommittee” can tinker around the edges — or they can swing for the fences.
We support the latter; anything less would merely be a band-aid to the bigger problems facing America’s economy.
Now is not the time for half-measures. Click here to email your members of Congress to tell them that real reform of our entitlement programs and comprehensive tax reform must be part of our fiscal path forward.
Anything less is an incomplete solution that leaves future generations of Americans at risk.
Let's not waste this opportunity. America cannot afford for us not to get this right.
Enough talk about jobs – we need action.
When Congress returns to Washington they can’t afford a return to business as usual. We need leadership, we need real change, and we need it now so we can reassure the markets and grow jobs.
The debt deal was a first step – but at this point we need more than good intentions. We need to overhaul our tax code, cut spending, repeal burdensome regulations that get in the way and enact a long-term solution to deal with the deficit.
With Congress out of the office, contact your members on their Facebook pages. Post on their pages: five real actions Congress can take to create jobs now.
1. Unlock our domestic energy resources
2. speed-up permitting and remove regulatory roadblocks for small businesses
3. Green-light transportation and energy infrastructure projects
4. Ratify pending free trade agreements
5. Boost American tourism, revenue and jobs by revising visa and travel policies
Facebook is used for a lot of things. Let’s use it to generate some good ideas about how to get our country back to work and solve our fiscal crisis.
Before the President even signed the debt ceiling increase into law earlier this week, many members of Congress had already left town for the August recess, moving eagerly to a more popular topic: JOBS.
This August Recess, we’ve launched America’s Town Hall –an online resource to track your member’s meetings on the Twitter #TownHallTrack feed, discuss town hall sentiment on our comment map and reach out to members of Congress about your top priorities.
Creating American jobs needs to be more than a talking point – it needs to be comprehensive approach to empower small businesses and the private sector to resume hiring and growth.
So long as Congress uses job growth as a back-pocket priority – our economy will continue to stall.
As you know, we’ve been calling for Congress to make pro-jobs policies a priority since day 1 – and unfortunately many of their policies are the problem, not the solution.
Visit America’s Town Hall today.
P.S. Recent reports show that long awaited progress is being made on the pending Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea; the passage of which would result in up to 250,000 new American jobs. Visit America’s Town Hall and urge your members to stay on top of this issue, even when they’re outside the beltway.
With rising unemployment and unsustainable debt, America’s small businesses certainly aren’t celebrating lately.
According to columnist Mona Charen, who writes in National Review , policies enacted during the past few years have served to punish — rather than reward — success by American businesses:
Employers do not know how much each new hire will cost under the new health-care regime. Nor can they estimate how the 129 new boards, commissions, and agencies will affect the business world. Meanwhile, the EPA is regulating carbon dioxide as an air pollutant. The National Labor Relations Board is attempting to prevent the Boeing Corporation from opening a new plant in South Carolina ... the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (created by the Dodd-Frank law) is practically freezing small-business lending."
We sincerely hope that the adiministration shifts gears to start embracing pro-growth policies that will put Americans back to work and back on the track to fiscal solvency.
Vote now, and leave a comment on what policies should take priority in order to reignite our economy, and encourage the growth of American small businesses.
In case you haven’t seen, the U.S. Chamber has taken a stand behind Speaker Boehner’s proposal to avoid default by raising the debt ceiling.
However, the Speakers plan would goes beyond just that. It would pump the brakes on the rampant Washington spending that has brought us to this crisis situation.
Passing this plan would be the major first step toward reversing what we have come to expect from Washington recently; excessive borrowing and over-spending that has threatened the full faith-and-credit of the United States and put us on the path to financial insolvency.
We realize some members of Congress, pundits, and voters don’t like the Boehner plan because it doesn’t go far enough.
We agree that it isn’t perfect, but we also agree with the Manchester Union Leader editorial board that the “Boehner plan works.” As the editorial states, the plan isn’t perfect...
“…But it does restrain federal spending, and it does not raise taxes.
If the Boehner plan (preferably with improvements sought on Wednesday) is the one sent to the President’s desk, he will have two choices: sign a plan that curbs spending in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, or veto it and be solely responsible for the consequences. He will sign it, and there will be no huge tax hikes. That would be a real win for conservatives and the nation, and a real loss for the President.”
Let’s avoid default, avoid raising taxes and curb Washington spending.
Let’s enact the Boehner plan so we can start the real work of getting our economy back on track.
Boehner’s proposal will be voted on as soon as 4 PM today. It is time to request leadership from our members of Congress. The hard decisions are being made, now we need Congress to stand up for them.
Revenue. Revenue raiser. Revenue enhancement.
If you’ve been paying even scant attention to the debt ceiling debate, you will have heard at least one of those phrases (probably numerous times) over the past week.
In his press briefing on the debt ceiling last week, President Obama referred to “revenue” as the sticking point in reaching a deal. Media outlets have followed suit, discussing the need for “revenue raisers” as part of a deficit reduction package.
Let us be clear: when politicians and the media use the term “revenue” (or some variation thereof), they’re actually referring to tax hikes.
It’s misleading. Why? For one thing, we think the best revenue enhancer is economic growth. When the economy grows, more Americans are hired, which means they’re paying more in taxes.
More taxpayers equal more revenue. It’s that simple.
Further, one could argue that tax increases — especially those on employers — actually decrease revenue. How? Raising taxes on employers places a higher burden on their bottom line. They’re forced to choose between paying the government, and hiring more workers, investing in new capital, or expanding their operations.
On the flip side, data shows that providing tax relief can lead to economic growth which, in turn, leads to increased tax revenue. Take a look at the numbers contained in this Washington Examiner article from last week:
According to historical tables published by the Office of Management and Budget, government revenue shot higher after the Bush tax cuts were enacted. Total federal government receipts rose from $1.782 trillion in 2003 to $2.567 trillion in 2007 -- an increase of $785 billion, or 44 percent. In 2007, the federal deficit shrank to $160 billion.
Tax cuts leading to economic growth and ... more revenues?
Yep. The numbers don’t lie. It’s time to start calling a tax hike a tax hike. If you want to raise taxes, just tell us by taking this quick poll.
Sure, we may disagree with you, but at least’ we’ll be having an honest debate.
There’s no denying that we must make hard decisions in effort to reduce our country’s deficit, but there seems to be a lack in consensus on how the American people think this should be done. While President Obama cited last week that "80 percent of the American people" support a balanced approach to deficit reduction "that includes revenues and includes cuts," recent Rasmussen Report numbers show that only 34% of American voters think a tax hike should be included in the deficit reduction package. What do you think?
Over the past week, you may have caught one of the several interviews I’ve done on a variety of cable TV networks.
I wish these interviews could be about a more positive topic — but, instead, they’re about the serious and dismal jobs climate highlighted by last week’s paltry jobs report.
I’ve also been sharing the less-than-stellar news from the results of our latest quarterly “Small Business Outlook” survey. As we’ve posted about on What We’re Watching before, American small businesses are facing a crisis of uncertainty, fueled in large part by the flawed actions (and, in some case, inaction) of our federal government.
As I say in the below Squawk Box interview, America’s small business owners are people who are wired in their DNA to be optimists. They’re the ones putting it on the line to create the American Dream. And, right now, they see Washington as an impediment to their ability to make that dream a reality.
If Friday’s jobs report didn’t solidify it for you, America has a growth problem. Jobs aren’t created in a vacuum. We need economic growth to precede job growth, an idea that was strongly echoed in our second quarterly Small Business Outlook Survey.
Uncertainty is killing small businesses. When 1,409 small business owners were asked to rank their most important challenges, economic uncertainty was at the top concern (49%). The next four responses—the growing debt and deficit, Obamacare, over-regulation, and high taxes—all feed into that uncertainty.
Without knowing what the future holds, small companies are reluctant to invest in new employees and perform their traditional role as job creators. Seventy-nine percent of respondents said that taxation, regulation, and legislation make it harder for their business to hire more employees. Seventy-five percent said that the health care law specifically made it harder to hire.
What will help? Washington getting out of their way. Nearly four out of five small business owners believe that federal government regulations are at least somewhat unreasonable.
There is a silver lining. While more respondents believed that America’s best days were behind it (39%) than ahead (20%), they were more optimistic about their own businesses, with 39% feeling their best days were ahead of them and just 23% saying they were behind them. What does this mean for future growth? The inherent optimism of small businesses is alive and well. It’s now up to leaders in Washington to make sure the economic environment allows them to thrive.
To learn more, download the survey.
Last week, Google made headlines with its latest product in the social media sphere: Google Plus.
Now, Google has had its share of successes — which have made it one of the biggest stories of success and innovation in American history. But, the Internet behemoth also has had its share of failures, especially in the area of social media.
Remember Google Wave? Or how about Google Buzz? Both spectacular failures.
In the true American spirit, however, Google didn’t give up, and Google Plus is the company’s third try at breaking into the social media space.
Will Google Plus succeed? Only time will tell (although early reviews are very positive).
The point is that they used their failures not as excuses to fold up shop and abandon social media — but as learning experiences to fuel future attempts at success.
As the late Sir Winston Churchill said: “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
He may have been a Brit, but Churchill summed up perfectly the entrepreneurial spirit that, as John Stossel writes this week, is what “helps make America great”:
We know that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, but Edison failed much more often than he succeeded. He had hundreds of failures. He was fired by the telegraph office, and lost money on a cement company and an iron business. Henry Ford's first company failed completely. Dr. Seuss' first book was rejected by 27 publishers. Oprah was fired from her first job as a reporter. A TV station called her unfit for television.
We all know how these so-called “failures” ended up.
Wayne Rogers, former television star of the hit 70’s show M*A*S*H turned current investment advisor, makes the same point in a Wall Street Journal interview (in conjuction with the U.S. Chamber's America’s Small Business Summit) published this week. According to Rogers, American small business owners have a passion for success that makes them especially resilient:
“If [the entrepreneur] has a passion for his business, he’ll get there ... He can get knocked down two, three, four, five times – and he will learn with each one, assuming he’s got a modicum of intelligence.”
Bottom line: here in America, we don’t punish failure. We encourage second (and third and fourth) chances because we root for the entrepreneur to succeed.
It’s these entrepreneurs, who most often get their start as small business owners, who need the most help in these challenging times. If American history can serve as a guide, they will use these tough times not as an excuse for failure — but as a building block for future greatness and prosperity.
Have your own story and success and the American Dream? Enter our American Dream Photo Contest with a picture that embodies it for a chance to win a trip for two to D.C.
This week, the U.S. Chamber’s Bruce Josten spoke with Fox Business about uncertainty, what it means for businesses, and the “literal torrent of regulation coming down the pike.”
Click here to urge your members of Congress to support the REINS act in order to get a handle on the overregulation bludgeoning business and our economy.
The legendary rock band U2 is causing quite a stir these days -- and not just among fans angling for a photo or an autograph.
No, it appears they’re involved in a controversy over… tax policy?
Long story short, as Ireland faces a major recession and deficit crisis (sound familiar?), the rock band is facing criticism over its decision in 2006 to move its corporate base from Ireland to the Netherlands -- where “royalties on music incur virtually no tax."
Despite the band’s long history of charitable efforts to help curb poverty and AIDS in Africa, they are now being attacked as tax dodgers in their own country, with protesters claiming the band should instead be “be helping to keep open the hospitals, schools and libraries that are closing all over Ireland.”
There are a few lessons to be learned here; the most important of which is that this situation clearly demonstrates the economic theory (championed by the late Nobel Laureate economist Milton Friedman) that “incentives matter.”
In this case, Ireland has provided an incentive -- taxes on music royalties -- for bands, such as U2 to move their corporate base out of the country. The Netherlands has provided an incentive -- no taxes on music royalties -- for bands to locate in their country.
A rational actor (i.e. business), in this case U2, will follow these incentives to ensure the growth and prosperity of their operation.
The point of this post isn’t to provide a lesson in “Economics 101”. Rather, it is to apply this relatively high-profile news item to the American experience. For example, as we asserted in this post, the state of Texas’ exploding job growth can be traced to its positive incentives (fair lawsuit climate, no state income tax) … while Illinois’ jobs stagnation can be traced to negative incentives (high corporate and income tax rates, abusive lawsuit climate.)
Our recent study, Enterprising States , also clearly demonstrates that those states which are providing the best positive incentives to job creators are thriving and outpacing those states whose policies provide roadblocks in the way of negative incentives.
On the national level, we can only hope our policymakers in Washington take note of this lesson. Will they continue to provide negative incentives in the way of delayed free trade agreements, proposed tax hikes on small businesses, harmful regulatory overreach, and punitive action by the National Labor Relations Board (to name a few)?
Or, will they begin to reverse course, and start pursuing a policy of positive incentives that make America a more welcoming place to start or expand a business, growing wealth and prosperity for all?
Let’s hope they choose the latter to ensure that tomorrow is a “Beautiful Day” (yes, I had to throw in the obligatory song quote) for America’s job creators.
Our policymakers in Washington may be doing their best to delay on meaningful efforts to jump-start our economy — but governors across the country are wasting no time in demonstrating what real leadership is all about.
Earlier this spring, of course, Governor Scott Walker raised the ire of the public sector unions proposing common sense spending cuts and reforms to his state’s public sector pension system (which were eventually passed by the state legislature and signed into law).
He acted to stem the bleeding from Wisconsin’s budget crisis — and newly-elected Ohio Governor John Kasich followed suit by ushering in similar reforms in his state.
Just yesterday, the New Jersey legislature passed a package of pension reforms that Governor Chris Christie has been promoting for the better part of two years.
The Massachusetts state legislature has even made strides toward passing similar collective bargaining reforms similar to those passed in Wisconsin.
And now, surprisingly, we’re hearing that the governor of Illinois — a state in which public sector unions carry considerable clout and political influence — is now making a “push to limit the unionizing of state workers”.
We hope Washington is getting the message. Real leadership requires action, and it requires compromise.
We were fortunate to hear directly from many of the states’ top job-promoting governors during our Jobs Summit earlier this week (read our earlier blog post here). These governors understand that real leadership requires action — and it requires compromise.
They also understand that jobs flow freely to states with better business climates. That’s why we used the Jobs Summit to release our 2011 Enterprising States report — which clearly shows which states are making the grade, and which are coming up short.
As we’re seeing in states like New Jersey, Massachusetts and, perhaps even Illinois, politicians are willing to buck old political alliances if it means making their states jobs climate more competitive.
We certainly hope that the “leadership bug” continues to spread through all 50 states.
And we sure hope that Washington is taking note. We could use some leadership in our nation’s capital, as well.
As those of you who follow me on Twitter know, I’m a rabid member of Red Sox Nation.
And, as a baseball enthusiast, I know that, when one of my favorite hitters — like David “Big Papi” Ortiz — is in a slump, the best thing you can do is ride it out, let him find his swing, and get back on track naturally.
No matter how bad things get, sometimes the worst thing you can do is tinker with a hitter’s swing and try to force the issue.
Unfortunately for the American economy, it seems some of our politicians are trying to do the same thing — ride it out, do nothing, and hope it gets better on its own.
The laws of baseball do not apply to economics. America is in a slump and we need action today to pull ourselves out of it.
We’ve written here before about the measures our elected official could take right now to boost our economy: passage of our pending free trade deals; expansion of domestic energy production; streamlining federal regulations; enacting a federal budget that doesn’t raise taxes on job creators — the list goes on and on.
Yet the Senate and the White House haven’t taken meaningful action on any of these items. It appears they want to just ride it out and hope it gets better.
Well, the American people are taking notice. According to our own recent national grassroots survey 81% of respondents think our country “is off on the wrong track.”
Those numbers are dismal, but it appears there is enough blame to go around. 81% of respondents give President Obama an “F” grade for his handling of the economy — but the majority (58%) also give Congress the same grade.
Our survey results track with those of a new Rasmussen Reports poll out today that shows only 8% of likely U.S. voters think Congress is “doing a good or excellent job.”
It’s obvious that lack of action is fueling this disapproval, with 63% of voters in the Rasmussen poll believing that Congress has not “passed any legislation that will significantly improve the quality of life.”
Riding it out isn’t working. Doing nothing isn’t working. Voters want our leaders in Washington to start swinging for the fences.
If they don’t take action — the voters will, and it could result in another big change in the face of Congress following Election Day 2012.
Much of our focus here on this blog is on federal issues, and moving our elected officials in the direction of an agenda that promotes economic recovery and job growth. However, it is important that we don’t overlook the fact that the future of the American economy is impacted in a big way by those efforts undertaken in state capitals across the country.
Yesterday, the U.S. Chamber brought together the leaders of several those state capitals for the 2011 Governors Summit. Here, a round table discussion was formed between governors and state business leaders to trade tactics and insights on how to best implement enterprise –friendly policies to create jobs, enhance economic development, and head towards prosperity.
In the past , we’ve highlighted the efforts of some state leaders, such as Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker, to show real leadership by proposing common-sense spending cuts and reforms to help create jobs. Yesterday, we heard from Gov. Walker and others on how they continue to make progress in their states.
We think Washington could learn a lot from Wisconsin and several of the other states represented yesterday.
That being said, the situation in an overwhelming majority of states is dire. In total, 44 states and the District of Columbia are projecting budget shortfalls amounting to $112 billion for the 2012 fiscal year. That’s to say nothing of the growing unemployment rates in many of these states that are directly impacted by the policies enacted (or not enacted) by their elected officials.
For these reasons, the National Chamber Foundation today released its second annual Enterprising States report:
This report connects the success of free enterprise to our nation’s economy by correlating key policy inputs and best practices in state-driven economic development with job creation and other substantive economic outputs.
Specifically, the report looks at state policies and best practices in the following important policy areas:
• Entrepreneurship and Innovation
• Workforce Development and Training
• Taxes and Regulation
It was the late Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis who said that individual states could act as “laboratories of democracy.” As this report shows, there are a number of states in which these policy experiments are working and showing measurable results that can and should be applied by other states — and perhaps even our policymakers in Washington, D.C.
After the Summit came to an end, Margeret Spellings, president of the U.S. Chamber Forum on Policy Innovation, sat down with Fox Business to discuss the Summit, what discussions like this can reveal about the economic health of our states, and how the governors can use this insight to implement pro-business, pro-jobs policies that get our economy back on track. As the former Secretary of Education, Spellings also didn't hesitate to weigh in on how quality education should be leveraged to restore such an economic climate.
Where does your state rank in its efforts to enact such policies? Click here to view the interactive state map and find out.
We understand the nature of early stage Primary Presidential politics, and the need for cable networks to do whatever they can to grab higher ratings.
That does not, however, dampen our disappointment at the dearth of discussion during last night’s GOP Presidential Debate about the most important issue facing America right now: jobs.
Yes, some air time was given to economic issues, including health care, the debt ceiling, entitlement reform, labor reform and energy policy. Yet, it seemed that equal time was given to an attempt to “spice up” the proceedings with a “this or that” game that provided American voters insight into the candidates’ “vital positions” on such issues as soft drink choices, television viewing, pizza crust preference and late night television viewing habits.
We applaud those candidates who tried their best to direct the debate back to the issue of jobs, and hope that future debates will reveal a more prominent focus on plans to get America back to work.
Primary voters each have their own personal issues preferences, which may be social or economic in nature, but with our nation’s economic recovery in danger of grinding to a halt, it’s hard to imagine how Congressman Ron Paul’s smartphone preference gets more air time than the candidates’ positions on, say, our long-delayed pending free trade agreements.
How about you? Do you think the issue of jobs was discussed enough in last night’s debate? Please sign in and leave your comments here to join the discussion.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal editorial board published two separate editorials that highlighted the vastly different economic trajectories of two states: Texas and Illinois.
On the one hand, we have Texas, a state in which “some 37% of all net new American jobs since the recovery began were created.”
Then we have Illinois, a state that “has ranked 47th of the 50 states in job creation in the last decade, and has lost more private jobs (360,000) than the entire private work force of Delaware.”
As we said, two vastly different trajectories. Perhaps the key to America’s economic recovery lies in looking what Texas has done right — and what Illinois has done wrong.
The Texas model? According to the editorial:
Texas has no state income tax. Its regulatory conditions are contained and flexible. It is fiscally responsible and government is small. Its right-to-work law doesn't impose unions on businesses or employees. It is open to global trade and competition: Houston, San Antonio and El Paso are entrepôts for commerce, especially in the wake of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The Illinois model? Well, for starters:
Illinois gained nationwide notoriety in January when Governor Pat Quinn signed into law a 67% hike in the personal income tax rate while lifting the corporate tax rate to 9.5%, the fourth highest in the nation.
We’d also like to add that, according to a recent Harris Interactive survey released by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, Illinois’ abusive lawsuit climate ranked 45th out of 50 states. Meanwhile, Texas Governor Rick Perry last month signed into law the third major piece of lawsuit reform legislation enacted in the state during the past ten years.
Further, a recent report from the U.S. Chamber’s Workforce Freedom Initiative ranked Texas in the top tier of all states in terms of its labor and employment regulations — while Illinois ranked in the ... you guessed it ... bottom tier.
In short, Texas is showing the success of an economy in which the government gets out of the way and lets the businesses do what they do best — create jobs.
Illinois, on the other hand, is showing what happens when you put big government first, increase the tax burden on job creators, and create a lawsuit climate that favors trial lawyers over jobs.
We choose the Texas model. Which model will our elected officials in Washington, D.C. choose?
In her 1983 book, Sudden Death, the author Rita Mae Brown wrote what is now a oft-used quotation: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results."
Now, by that definition, we are hardly able to affix the label of "fiscal sanity" to the prescriptions currently being prescribed for America's economic ills.
What they have tried hasn't worked. Yet, in the wake of last week's dismal jobs reports, some politicians are calling for more of the same.
More obstacles to domestic energy production.
It hasn't worked. The jobs report proves it. So why would they want to keep doing it "over and over again" but expect different results?
What we need to do is trying something different. Something new.
Last Sunday on This Week with Christian Amanpour, U.S. Chamber Chief Economist Marty Regalia said it best when he asserted that policymakers in D.C. are "trying to boost the economy in fits and starts" when they have to realize that "the economy is broad and diverse and what the government has to do is get out of the way."
Imagine that. Big government getting out of the let America's job creators flourish.
Now, that would be certainly be a change in the direction of fiscal sanity.
Crossposted from Chamberpost
The excitement over April’s jobs report was tempered a bit this morning when the Labor Department reported only 54,000 new jobs were created in May. We don’t want to make too much out of one data point, but this is a clear indication that the economy has hit a slow patch.
It’s clear that the economy lost some steam in the first quarter of this year and this slowdown is now being felt in the labor market. In addition to the weak job gains, the unemployment rate rose for the second consecutive month.
Despite the recent weakness, I expect the pace of economic growth to improve modestly in the second quarter before gaining a bit more momentum towards the end of the year. Stronger economic growth should pull us out of our current doldrums and get us back to creating around 200,000 net new jobs per month.”
Here’s the problem: By failing to alleviate the uncertainty businesses are feeling, Washington continues to stifle hiring. It’s time to address the mountain of new regulations and mandates coming from this town and act on the pending trade agreements so we can turn this economic recovery into a jobs recovery.
I had more to say on jobs and the economy on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street this morning. Click the screen grab to see the interview. The chart below that illustrates the jobs challenge.
Following Tuesday night's House defeat of a "clean" debt-ceiling increase (one without spending cuts), it appears the stage is set for what Republicans have been demanding: debt-limit extension paired with spending cuts.
However, Speaker Boehner did emerge from talks Wednesday between Congressional Republicans and the President calling for a debt deal before the August recess – one that includes major spending cuts.
With neither side showing much room for negotiation, it seems it could be a long battle until August. However, one thing is sure –everyone recognizes the need to raise the debt ceiling to avoid defaulting.
The failure of Congress to raise the debt ceiling can only result in further economic uncertainty and fear, not to mention the irrecoverable damage it would cause to our country’s credit rating. With headlines shouting that recovery is slowing, adding additional variables of economic insecurity doesn’t seem like a logical fix.
While we support spending cuts and budgetary enactments to get our deficit under control, we recognize playing chicken with our market stability is the wrong way to go. Some have expressed a need for America to control its spending in conjunction with a raise in the ceiling, while others support a clean vote to avoid rattling the markets. What are your thoughts?
As over 500 representatives of small business gathered together last week in D.C. for America’s Small Business Summit, their presence quickly confirmed what we have always believed; there certainly is no shortage of challenges facing our country’s small business owners. However, some issues pose greater threats than others to these job creators.
One of the highlights of the last week’s three-day summit was a panel where small business owners heard directly from U.S. Chamber executives on three such key issues impacting the future of their businesses, and the communities in which they operate: gas prices, taxes and lawsuit abuse.
The attendees heard firsthand what is going on now, and what to expect next. Here is where we stand on these issues — and how you can get involved to make a difference:
Gas Prices — The U.S. Chamber is fighting hard to ensure passage of three complimentary energy bills that would expand domestic energy production to create American jobs, ensure stable energy supply, and bring skyrocketing energy prices under control. These bills have passed the House, but face a tough audience in the Senate. America’s small businesses can’t afford further delay while jobs are being lost, and our ability to access affordable, reliable energy is blocked.
Taxes — The U.S. Chamber is at the forefront of the debate for common sense budget solutions that deal with our Nation’s long-term debt crisis, while empowering our job creators to grow and hire new workers. Unfortunately, the President’s most recent budget — and his deficit reduction proposal — would rely heavily on tax increases on small business owners.
We oppose the President’s approach, and will support only serious proposals that will reduce our deficit without raising taxes on small businesses.
Lawsuit Reform — Lawsuit abuse is a drain on American employers, large and small. That’s why the U.S. Chamber is fighting for realistic lawsuit reforms that balance the legal system to ensure a fair playing field for American small businesses— instead of a stacked deck in favor of opportunistic trial lawyers.
Right now, we are focused on passing H.R. 5 — the “HEALTH” Act — that would enact vital medical liability reforms that protect our health care providers from abusive lawsuits, and take a bite out of skyrocketing health care costs. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, these reforms could also save American taxpayers more than $40 billion over the next decade. Please click here to email Congress to urge them to pass H.R. 5.
Of Course, these are only three of the wide array of issues we are working on each and every day.
We urge you to visit our Friends of the U.S. Chamber Action Page to learn more about the issues important to you — and how you can take action today.
America is struggling with unemployment – that’s no secret. However, what is arguably more disheartening to see is the number of our former servicemen and woman, and their families, facing the strains of joblessness.
“The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans was well above the national average last year, at 11.5%, and more than a quarter of the veterans between the ages of 18 to 24 are without work,” reported the USA Today.
The article, written the U.S. Chamber’s, Lt. Col Kevin Schmiegel (retired), and former National Security Adviser and 32nd Marine Corps Commandant, General James Jones, highlights the Chamber’s Hiring our Heroes Program, a series of job fairs across the country, bringing the business community and veterans together to facilitate meaningful employment.
“While everyone in the business community believes deeply that this is the right thing to do, it's not charity or just "good PR." Even with a 9% unemployment rate, a lack of skilled workers is hurting businesses, hindering our economic recovery, and undermining our global competitiveness.”
As the men and women who keep our country safe and free, there is no community more qualified to keep our economy strong and thriving.
This holiday weekend, as we honor the service members who devoted their lives to making the USA great, let’s also set a path forward for the men and woman who have recently returned. This weekend is for them too.
There is a troubling wind that has blown into Washington, carrying with it the notion that the best way to fix our economy is by punishing those who turn a profit and create new jobs.
Self-defeating? Yes. The path to prosperity? No.
Take, for example, the Senate vote earlier this week to increase taxes on producers of domestic energy. Do they really think that making it tougher for these American companies to survive is going to lead to lower gas prices? Thankfully, that measure was rejected.
Or how about the National Labor Relations Board punishing Boeing (and, more importantly, the people of South Carolina) by demanding that the company halt all construction on a nearly complete manufacturing plant in Charleston that has already created more than one thousand jobs through construction alone.
Then there’s the notion being promoted by some politicians that we should fix the deficit by slapping punitive tax hikes on those Americans who are most likely to run and own their own small businesses. These hard-working Americans are the ones who have created more than 60% of the new jobs in this country over the past decade. They need our help, not our punishment.
Now, of course, is the pending proposal by the White House to force all American companies who compete for federal government contracts to disclose all political contributions in excess of $5,000. This raises red flags of “pay to play” politics, and many employers are fearful that they will be punished merely for exercising their Constitutional right to participate in the political process.
American businesses — large and small — aren’t the the enemy. They’re our future.
Right now, they don’t need to be punished. They need as much support as they can get to recover, succeed and start hiring more workers.
Today, the Small Business Administration kicked off ‘National Small Business Week’ honoring the estimated 27.2 million small businesses in America and the tremendous impact that they have on our economy. Responsible for between 60 and80% of all new jobs created in this country, small businesses deserve celebrating. In addition to SBA’s National Small Business Week – next week is our own small business event – America’s Small Business Summit.
This year’s 8th annual Small Business Summit unites small business owners, managers, and entrepreneurs from across the country to learn, network, and discuss common legislative and management concerns. In addition to sessions and panels aimed at business practices, small businesses will attend the Rally on the Hill --helping influence our nation’s economic and political agenda by advocating for pro-business policies when they meet with the members of Congress.
In honor of National Small Business Week and our premier Small Business event next week, I will be dedicating most my online posts to issues that directly impact small businesses. I will also be releasing details of some of the great events and sessions planned for next week.
We will try and bring you all that we can from the Summit through our digital platforms-- make sure to follow #ASBS2011 on Twitter to keep up with live updates on the event. However, it goes without saying that nothing is better for small businesses than attending to the actual event. It’s not too late to register! For more information on sessions, speakers, and festivities visit www.USChamberSummit.com.
It’s no secret that our top priority at the U.S. Chamber is jobs. You only have to look as far as the front of our building for proof -- where a giant JOBS banner hangs. For that reason alone, the Chamber headquarters served as the perfect backdrop for yesterday’s press conference with Governor Nikki Haley and several members of Congress to express serious concern with the National Labor Relations Board’s complaint against Boeing.
The NLRB is demanding that Boeing halt all construction on a nearly complete manufacturing plant in Charleston that has already created over one thousand jobs through construction alone. The Labor Board reasoning is that Boeing allegedly discriminated against International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in violation of the National Labor Relations Act when they chose to build the manufacturing plan from the state of Washington to a South Carolina, a state which upholds ‘Right-to-Work laws.’
However, as pointed out by business leaders in attendance this is much more than contesting ‘right-to-work laws,’ this is about the NLRB setting a precedent to of “allowing unions to hold a virtual ‘veto’ over business decisions.”
Businesses must be able to make the best business decisions for their company, employees and product. The success of those three things is what makes or breaks the American Dream.
It is the same anti-business climate that is forcing many businesses overseas – taking the thousands of jobs they create with them.
As Boeing’s CEO and President, Jim McNerney said in an op-ed today:
“U.S. tax and regulatory policies already make it more attractive for many companies to build new manufacturing capacity overseas. That's something the administration has said it wants to change and is taking steps to address. It appears that message hasn't made it to the front offices of the NLRB."
To read the full op-ed, visit the Wall Street Journal.
With everything busness is up agains in today’s climae, the last thing they can afford is the unabashed assault on employers now being pushed by the NLRB.
Today, the Department of Transportation released reports that a Floridian high speed rail project to connect Tampa to Orlando has been canceled by Governor Rick Scott.
The $2 billion in funds previously allocated to the Floridian project will now be redistributed to projects in various states nationwide. Large shares of the funds will aim to speed up existing transit systems in the Northeast area of the country, while the rest will be put towards new projects connecting the Midwestern cities of Chicago to Detroit as well as supporting west coast projects to connect Los Angeles to San Francisco.
According to USA Today the administration commented that, "These projects will put thousands of Americans to work, save hundreds of thousands of hours for American travelers every year, and boost U.S. manufacturing by investing hundreds of millions of dollars in next-generation, American-made locomotives and rail cars."
We agree. Investment in America’s infrastructure is key to creating American jobs, maintaining an innovative economic environment, and creating a sustainable way to travel into the future. Encourage your members of Congress to Invest in Our Nation’s Infrastructure.
Forgive us for thinking that something just doesn't smell right about the White House's proposed executive order to force all companies seeking government contracts to disclose all political contributions in excess of $5,000.
Don't get us wrong. Transparency is a good thing.
But this order wreaks of politics, and not just because it would exempt the free-political-spending big labor unions.
As Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel writes this morning:
Ever audacious, the White House is spinning this as "reform," claiming taxpayers deserve to know how federal dollars being paid to contractors are being spent in campaigns. This might hold (a drop of) water if the executive order also required all the (liberal) entities that get billions in taxpayer dollars via federal grants and funding ... to disclose also. It doesn't.
Strassel's column goes on to quote U.S. Senator Susan Collins:
It has taken decades to create a federal contracting system based on "best prices, best value, best quality," Ms. Collins says, and the effect of the Obama order is to again have "politics play a role in determining who gets contracts."
It just doesn't seem right to link government contracts in any way, shape or form to the amount of money you contributed (and to whom) in the most recent election.
The potential for "pay-to-play" is simply too great, and right now we need to be doing everything possible to restore Americans' faith in elected government, rather than tear it down any further.
Just as justice is blind, so should be the awarding of taxpayer-funded government contracts where political affiliation is concerned.
What should only matter is whether contractors can provide the best work at the lowest cost to serve the taxpayers.
Energy Prices? Jobs? Deficit? Check, check and check!
Here at the U.S. Chamber, our business is jobs.
And, you don’t have to read a public opinion poll to know that jobs joins rising energy prices and the federal deficit crisis as the three top issues on voters minds these days.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have some legislation that dealt with all three issues at one time?
Consider your wish granted. The House is set to vote today on two bills — H.R. 1229 and H.R. 1230 — aimed at increasing energy production and creating American jobs.
H.R. 1229 would help put residents of the Gulf Coast back to work through offshore drilling, and H.R. 1230 would enable the U.S. to produce more domestic energy in areas barred for energy production under government moratoria.
And, as The Hill reports, H.R. 1230 would also help reduce our federal deficit:
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Friday released an estimate that said H.R. 1230, the "Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act," would bring in an estimated $40 million in revenues over the next decade, and would cost just $2 million to implement.
More energy production and jobs. Lower deficit and energy prices.
Sounds like a win-win to us.
The headline is a quote from small business owner Phil Kennedy, who runs his family’s business, Comanche Lumber Company, in Lawton, Oklahoma. Kennedy participated with Bill Miller, U.S. Chamber senior vice president of Political Affairs and Federation Relations, and Marty Regalia, senior vice president of Economic Policy and chief economist, on a conference call today to release the results of the Chamber’s inaugural Small Business Outlook Survey—a nationwide survey of 900 small business owners.
According to the survey, 55% of respondents cited economic uncertainty as their greatest hiring obstacle, and 35% said Washington uncertainty impacted growth. Thirty-five percent cited too little revenue as their greatest obstacle. Seventy percent of respondents said they do not plan to hire new employees next year, and 9% will continue layoffs. Here are a few other notable results:
- Two of the top issues of concern are America’s debt and the health care law. Eighty percent of respondents said America’s debt and deficit have a negative impact on their business, and 72% said the health care law has made hiring more difficult.
- Small businesses want Washington to get out of the way. In a commanding majority, 79% of respondents said they want more certainty, and only 14% said they want more government assistance.
- By a 73% to 17% margin, respondents said that the climate of the last two years has hindered their growth. Respondents were split in how they view the next two years, with 38% believing the climate will improve, 37% believing that it will worsen, and the remainder uncertain
Here’s more of what Kennedy, the small business owner, had to say:
The last 3 years have been some of the most challenging times I’ve faced in business. All of the findings in this survey mirror our own experiences, from hiring freezes because of the implementation of the new health care law and employer mandates, to uncertainty over whether it’s in our best interest to invest and hire.
My biggest concern is the lack of understanding Washington has of small business. The U.S. Chamber is leading the fight to remove the obstacles, and I appreciate their effort to listen to small businesses and carry the message to the Hill.
Ever wonder what other small businesses are saying about the economy, legislative climate, and their own company’s future? We do too – and so we asked.
This afternoon, we will be rolling out our inaugural Small Business Outlook Survey results, with the key findings from our nationwide survey of small business owners.
The call will be held with U.S. Chamber members; however, we are opening it to the public by streaming the call live on Facebook today at 3:00 pm ET. When you ‘like’ the U.S. Chamber’s Facebook page, you’ll gain access to the call and hear what small businesses are saying and what we’re doing to be their voice in Washington.
These results will serve as the foundation for the Chamber's grassroots efforts this summer, kicking off with America's Small Business Summit 2011, being held May 23-25.
I ecourage you to join the conversation submitting your questions using the hash tag #WhatBizSays on Twitter. Policy experts will be standing by to respond.
Typically reserved for U.S. Chamber members, we are opening today’s call to all interested parties because the voice of business needs to be heard far and wide. Log-on to Facebook at 3:00 p.m. ET to hear what they’re saying.
The president’s most recent budget — and his deficit reduction proposal — rely heavily on increased taxes on higher-income households.
We oppose these tax hikes because we know that many of these individuals are actually small business owners (75%, according to the Small Business Administration) who file as individuals on their tax returns. Small business owners created 64% of the net new jobs in this country over the past fifteen years — and tax increases would put new job creation and our economic recovery at risk.
What’s more, a new study out this week shows that these higher-income individuals are already paying a high — and rising — share of our federal tax burden — while more than half of Americans now pay no tax at all:
As President Barack Obama pushes to raise income taxes on high earners, opponents are seizing on data that indicates these U.S. households already pay a large and growing share of taxes, even compared with high-tax European countries. And a new congressional study concludes that the percentage of U.S. households owing no federal income tax climbed to 51% for 2009.
We hear a lot of rhetoric about “tax fairness,” but the fact is that small business owners already are shouldering the lion’s share of our tax burden.
Tax hikes on these individuals will only further squeeze them, putting the small businesses they run at risk and threatening job growth. That means less tax revenue — and an even deeper deficit hole.
With the Gang of Six Proposal expected out later this week – we’re hopeful for a serious proposal that will reduce our deficit without raising taxes on small businesses.
Reducing the deficit is vital — but not at the cost of destroying the American economy.
Did you or did you not take JOBS into account Mr. Stanislaus?
EPA Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus has a pretty tough time answering a Congressman’s simple question about whether the EPA’s regulations take into account their impact on American jobs:
With increased delays, mounting fares, and additional security, traveling by air isn’t as carefree as it once was. All hassles aside, air transportation is still an integral part of the American economy. To report on the health of their industry, a panel of CEO’s from Jet Blue Airways, U.S. Airways, FedEx Express, and Cessna Aircraft Co. came together yesterday at the National Chamber Foundation's 10th annual Aviation Summit held at the U.S. Chamber.
It’s no surprise that those in the aviation industry aren’t an exception to the list of companies and businesses looking to the administration for leadership and reform. The sharp rise in gas prices, a reform of tax policy, and regulations are among the most pressing aviation issues. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) President Craig Fuller, who’s organization helped to sponsor the event, moderated a panel during the summit. As he said, "By bringing the concerns of the general aviation community to a forum like this one, we are able to further understanding of the issues that affect how we fly now and far into the future."
Thanks to those of you who both attended Townhalls while your members of Congress were home and shared what’s being said, what’s going on, and how you're involved.
From everything to small business owners forced to lay off employees because of increasing energy costs and attack ads against members of Congress willing to stand up to the EPA’s unilateral regulation of greenhouse gases – we heard a wide range of important issues.
One of the common concerns was over raising gas prices – an issue we will continue to weigh in on in the days ahead. At the U.S. Chamber, we recognize that increasing domestic drilling is one of the easiest and quickest fixes to this impending crisis. Urge your members of Congress to stop the de facto drilling moratorium and do more to increase access to domestic resources.
To hear more about what our allies across the country are hearing, read the full responses below.
From my conversations with contractors, non-profit organizations, city, county and state officials, everyone is worried about current issues in the economy and understand there needs to be something done to curb the national debt. The price of fuel has already caused loss of disposable income. This in turn means that they are going to focus on essentials of life, food, roof over their head, which has taken a major hit in value, getting to and from work. …We have neglected our infrastructure for so long that it now cost millions more to correct the neglect and short sightedness on our roads and designs for the future transportation needs. Taking steps to rehabilitate distressed properties should continue. It prevents loss of property values for other properties and it puts people to work who in turn pay taxes instead of drawing on taxes for the unemployed. I believe these renovations should require them to incorporate better energy efficiency, which in turn will reduce our needs for foreign oil and safeguard our environment into the future and allow our lower income person(s) to have affordable housing. Every time the cost of fuel goes up, I loose in profit. I have already had to let 3 persons go or reduce their hours. This will likely continue unless the housing and building industry turns around.
- Greg, Cambridge, MN
Something needs to be done about the ridiculous fuel prices! The hard working common person cannot afford the impending $5.00 per gallon price and its repercussions! We need our government to step in to stop the price hike or our country will no longer flourish as we know it now. I personally am strapped financially and this puts a major burden on my finances. I need to go to work... but can't afford the fuel! A vicious cycle... Help! – Laurie, Pennsburg, PA
Anyone who votes to NOT raise the debt limit and to put this nation in default will jeopardize my entire life-savings, my stocks and bonds and everything I have worked like a dog for all my life. That could change Obama's slow recovery directly into a great depression with 30% unemployment and a great deal of suffering for a generation. I could NEVER forgive anyone who did that. – Richard, Denver, CO
Fred Upton is my representative and, because of his chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, he is being bombarded in print, radio and TV for "gutting the Clean Air Act." College students are going house-to-house with petitions that enable signers to indicate their disapproval of Fred supporting "dirty air" legislation. And Fred usually finds protesters awaiting his arrival at publicized public meetings. I attended five meetings in the last three days where Fred was present. He handled himself very well, responding to questions. He seems to be getting used to having a target on his chest. Unfortunately, I did not take my camera to any of these sessions. One meeting was hosted by the Kalamazoo Chamber and featured Fred along with one of your energy experts, Karen Harbert.
– John, West Scotts, MI
[My Congressman]praised unions, bashed efforts in Columbus, Ohio to reduce public union bargaining powers and said unions work in the public and private sectors. – Tim, New Carlisle, OH
Senator Tom Cole (Oklahoma) held a town meeting in Moore, OK. He gave us an update on what's going on in DC. Various citizens asked questions regarding the economy, gas prices, Real Estate, Veterans' care, our growing national debt among other items. He was very informative and pledged to keep fighting for better days for our great nation. – Victor, Oklahoma City
Congress has checked out for this week’s holiday recess and the swarms of tourists have subsided as the Cherry Blossom season winds down. Though things are quiet in the Capital, you can be sure that efforts are mobilizing on the home front.
Yesterday, President Obama kicked off his town hall tour with a nationally webcasted Facebook town hall. He focused on his 2012 budget outline and plan for deficit reduction, but also took time to drive home a few other notable points.
• The Budget – The administration’s budget proposal sets to reduce cumulative budget deficits by $4 trillion, over 12 years and 10 years respectively. How? Among other things, the president is proposing another $1 trillion in taxes which consequences would be felt by a good portion of the 75% of businesses which file their taxes on individual income tax forms. Of course we agree that Washington needs to control its spending, but to the detriment of small business? Not a good idea.
• The Housing Market – When faced with the question of why our economy isn’t growing as fast as anticipated, the President proposed that “the housing market ‘probably the biggest drag’ on the economy.”
The housing market is a huge contributor to our nation’s job market. According to the National Association of Realtors, home sales in this country generate more than 2.5 million private-sector jobs in an average year, and are 15% of our GDP. For every two homes that are sold, one job is created.
• Bond Yields – Bloomberg reports that, “bond market yields in the U.S. are lower now than when the government was running a budget surplus a decade ago even as Treasury Department data show that the amount of marketable debt outstanding has risen to more than $9 trillion from about $4.3 trillion in mid-2007.” Just more consequence of the economic slump paired with outrageous spending.
Are other issues weighing on your mind? Seize the opportunity of the spring Congressional recess to attend the one of your Congress members’ town halls. Tell them what is important to you and make sure that your region’s legislators are held accountable for the decisions that they make on your behalf Capitol Hill.
Far from reining in costs, last year’s health care law is creating a confusing and unpredictable labyrinth of regulations and discouraging small businesses from creating new jobs.
As one small business owner said in testimony before Congress:
“I do not want to lose anyone on my payroll, but if it comes down to laying off a few employees or being saddled with these fines, I won’t have a choice.”
– Phil Kennedy, Owner and President of Comanche Lumber Company, Oklahoma
Instead of savings, small businesses have been handed a web of confusing mandates and regulations, not to mention the fees for failure to comply.
You can help restore balance to the regulatory system. Read this week’s Case for Regulatory Reform and share your story now.
Happy Tax Day! It’s difficult to keep all of the facts straight when it comes to our complicated tax system. It’s hard enough for many of us to make sure that returns are postmarked by COB today, let alone make sense of where the trillion dollars of taxes are coming from and paying for. For that, we look to Chief Economist Marty Regalia to set the record straight on who really pays what.
• Data shows that the top 1% of all households paid 39.5% of total federal income tax while earning 19.4% of total income in the economy.
• The top 20% paid 86% of total income taxes while earning 55.9% of total income.
• The lowest 40% of income individuals have no federal income tax liability and actually get subsidized by the government through refundable tax credits and other incentives.
• And what about corporations? As a percentage of federal revenues, corporate income taxes for 2006 and 2007 represented 14.7% and 14.4% of the total, respectively—the highest shares since 1978—and higher than at any time during the Clinton years. They dropped to only 6.6% in 2009 due to the recession, but have been trending up since.
Now that you have had a crash course in Taxes 101 test your knowledge about who pays taxes,who will bear the brunt of big increases, and help us get the word out. Take our Tax 101 Quiz now.
President Obama took the stage at the George Washington University yesterday afternoon to breakdown his FY ’12 budget proposal to cut $4 trillion over the next 12 years. The plan to reduce the deficit to 2.5% of GDP by 2015 would include deep cuts in military and domestic spending, as well tax hikes by the including the expiration of the ’01 and ’03 tax rates.
These are the same rates the president extended at the end of 2010 in effort to keep economic recovery moving forward and small businesses stimulated – which he was right to do. We opposed tax hikes on small businesses then and continue to oppose them now.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue issued the following statement in response to the President’s speech:
“We are pleased that the President has moved beyond his original budget proposal and recognized that meaningful budget reform must entail curbing our excessive and unsustainable spending. However, we believe that our long-run fiscal policy must include real reform of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as well as curbs to discretionary spending.
"While we recognize that addressing our deficit and debt problems should include tax reform that establishes a broader base and lower rates, we must not confuse real tax reform with tax increases. Simply raising more than $1 trillion in new taxes will not produce economic growth or prosperity.
"Unfortunately, the President’s tax proposals rehash the same misguided tax policy that was overwhelmingly defeated by bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate. It relies predominantly on increasing taxes on those individuals that save and invest and on successful small businesses. It fails to recognize the high degree of progressivity in the current code or that real tax reform must address both the corporate and individual parts of the code.
Once again, we welcome the President’s entry into the debt and deficit debate and we look forward to working with the administration and Congress as the details are hammered out.”
Take action to oppose tax hikes on small businesses and instead support reform that will cut spending, address entitlements, and bend the cost curve downward while keeping economic recovery on an upward path.
The deadline for Congress to reach a budget deal is tonight at midnight, and with recent negotiations resulting in little progress, a government shutdown seems dangerously realistic. All non-essential government employees would be impacted, and as the economy crawls back towards recovery, the rest of the country will also feel the pain. “No one wins if the federal government has to suspend some or all of its services even for a short time,” U.S. Chamber spokesman Fielder said. “The Chamber feels there’s a lot of work to do in Washington to create jobs and keep the economy going.” After all, businesses are counted on to make tough decisions everyday in order to keep their doors open, their people employed, and the economy moving -- shouldn’t the government be held to the same standard?
How did we get here?
Learn more about our Project on Regulatory Reform which will work to continually tell the story to the American people about the massive costs of procedural defects and excessive regulations on jobs and on their personal and economic freedom.
“It was supposed to be one of the clearest messages of the 2010 elections: Voters were finally fed up with government spending,” Politico reported this morning, but were the voters really serious? In the last few months, state leaders received the urgent call for action and began working to pare down the massive budgets and entitlement systems in their states to secure a sound fiscal future. However, the same voters who called for reined in spending aren’t taking well to the short term tough decisions being made, and their Governors approval ratings are feeling the consequences. Is your state in a similar situation? Click here to read more.