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.
With Mother’s Day this Sunday, we’re reminded of how important and influential moms are both in our lives, and to the vibrancy of the American economy.
A recent study of 59 economies found that for the first time in 13 years women are creating businesses at a greater rate than men in three countries, and at a nearly equal rate in four others.
Mothers bring a unique skill set to the workplace. From multitasking to balancing priorities, creative problem solving and coping with unexpected challenges, women are utilizing the skills they develop as moms to help grow their companies and take them to new heights.
This Mother’s Day, let’s celebrate our moms. Not just for the critical role they play in our lives, but also for the unique and indispensable role they play in the American workplace.
Happy Mother’s Day!
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.
As you know, last week a group of bipartisan Senators introduced a piece of legislation aimed at fixing our broken immigration system.
Good policy and sound economics must be the foundation of any effort to reform immigration – and this bill has both. No doubt you’ve heard of efforts to derail the legislation before consideration even gets underway, but the evidence supporting reform is overwhelming.
And the fact of the matter is that doing nothing on immigration is de facto amnesty.
We have long advocated for reform that will increase border security, make our country more competitive through visa reform and a workable employment verification system, and provide for a path forward for undocumented workers under tight criteria.
The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744), introduced last week, meets those goals.
The bill is a starting point for rebuilding the U.S. economy, revitalizing the middle class, and making sure that America maintains its role as the beacon of hope and opportunity for the world.
Senator Marco Rubio has led efforts to correct misinformation about the bill. His efforts show that the only way we can get this done is by working together to ensure that people know the facts. I wanted to share a few of those points with you, in hopes you’ll help spread the word as well.
Myth vs. Fact
- S. 744 is not an “amnesty bill”: The earliest that any of the 11 million illegal immigrants would be eligible for a green card is ten years – and that’s after they have paid steep fines, undergo background checks, and pay taxes. On the other hand, doing nothing is de facto amnesty.
- S. 744 will not harm U.S. workers: Despite the rhetoric, immigration – illegal or otherwise – is not the source of America’s economic woes. Quite the contrary, the U.S. suffers from a “skills gap” – meaning there are jobs, but not enough qualified Americans to fill them. Creating a temporary worker program would help shore up this gap, allow businesses to get the employees they need, and begin growing the middle class.
You can read the full list here.
Instead of pointing fingers and resorting to propaganda, what if we took the time to fully consider what’s included and worked together to address concerns and ensure passage? This is the closest we’ve come in decades to fixing this problem. Are we really going to let politics derail us again?
That’s where you come in. As the Senate begins the hearing and markup process on S. 744, contact your Senators and urge them to give this bill full consideration and commit to addressing this issue before the year’s end.
We must show Washington that those of us who believe in good policy, good economics, and the perseverance of the American dream believe in the reality of immigration reform.
Contact your Senators 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.
Recently, Pew Research released results to a new poll that showed a majority (66%) of Americans spanning across the country and across party lines want to see Keystone XL built.
Do you agree?
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.
A recent poll showed that 69% of American support building the Keystone XL pipeline and other projects that would bring North American oil to U.S. refineries. With gas prices on close to a $.50 rise since January, it’s no wonder that more than two-thirds of Americans are looking for greater access to secure oil supplies.
Tom Donohue, the Chamber's President and CEO, was on Fox News with Neil Cavuto yesterday to discuss why passing the pipeline is a good idea for American jobs and energy security. Following news that the U.S. Chamber had reached an agreement on lesser-skilled work visas, he also discussed why immigration reform will help keep America and American jobs competitive.
Watch the full clip below.
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.
Cut the Deficit with Government-Run Health Insurance?
We wanted to give you a heads up that the so-called “public option” – a longstanding liberal health reform priority—has resurfaced under the auspices of reducing the debt.
On Tuesday, a group of House Democrats introduced a bill resurrecting the repeatedly failed attempts to enact the public health insurance option -- the same wolf that we fought during the health care debate, merely cloaked in a different sheep’s clothing.
What was once a necessity to provide a low-cost high quality insurance plan for Americans – its alleged goal when introduced in 2009 – is now suddenly a critical tool to resolve the current political crisis du-jour. Or is it possible that the public option is something its far-left supporters will sell in any way possible?
The sponsors of the Public Option Deficit Reduction Act claim that providing consumers with the choice of a publicly-run health insurance would cut the deficit by $104 billion over 10 years.
Even if you could believe this deficit-cutting idea to be true, it would only be a drop in the bucket– less than one percent of our annual $1.5 trillion deficit.
If you recall, we fought hard during the 2010 health care debate to limit the role of government and preserve your freedom to choose what was best for your family or business. When the health reform law passed, we successfully defeated any and all efforts to include a public option.
As we and others argued at the time, a public option would shift costs back to private insurance premium payers and potentially run private insurance companies out of business and nationalize health care.
It was a bad idea then, and it’s a bad idea now.
Stay tuned for more on this issue. And in the meantime, check out the Chamber’s 2013 Growth and Jobs Agenda for real ways to put a dent in our federal deficit and jumpstart our economy.
A number of recent stories have come out about the U.S. Chamber’s 2012 political record, citing biased and inaccurate data and a very limited view of the program. The full story requires a more thorough look.
The goal of the U.S. Chamber’s political program is to support candidates who will advance policies that promote free enterprise in Congress. During the 2012 cycle, we launched our voter education and grassroots campaign a full year out—in November of 2011—in support of incumbents with strong business records. In total, the Chamber endorsed 304 candidates and 80% were elected. We invested in the most competitive races across the country in order to educate voters on economic and business issues, launching multiple rounds of advertisements.
We also worked closely with our state and local chamber and small business members nationwide to hold more than 40 endorsement events, and made millions of contacts with pro-enterprise voters across the country.
One of the principal objectives of 2012 was to protect the 2010 gains made in the House, and we achieved that goal. Of the 40 House races we invested in, 17 candidates were elected, successfully retaining a pro-business majority in the lower chamber. In the Senate, the results were disappointing.
In the days and months ahead, we’ll continue to advocate for policies that will allow our members to grow and create jobs. And we’ll continue to hold candidates accountable for their votes during the 2014 elections, including playing an aggressive role in primaries.
2012 was a status-quo election where the balance of power stayed the same. However, the defining narrative of the 2012 cycle was the unprecedented support we received from the U.S. Chamber’s membership nationwide, reflecting what’s at stake for the business community in the years ahead. With their votes, Americans tasked both parties with the responsibility to fix our economy, create jobs, and control the debt. We have important work to do and we look forward to working with the 113th Congress and the administration to help address these critical national priorities.
Here are some interesting numbers from a Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll on the public’s attitudes toward the fiscal cliff, tax increases and automatic spending cuts to take effect starting January 1:
•64% think going over the fiscal cliff will have a major effect on the economy.
•60% think that effect will be negative.
•61% think it will negatively affect them personally.
Moving past past abstract poll numbers, let's hear from small business owners telling Washington that it would be devastating to go over the cliff [emphasis mine]:
Brian Scott, President & CEO, SCECON, U.S. Chamber small business member (Portsmouth, VA):
"The current malaise, brought on by an uncertain economic future has already caused our revenues to drop more than 30% compared to 2011. We can only project that both our government and corporate clients will continue to hold back on the projects that normally involve our services - until the fiscal cliff is behind us. The last quarter of 2012 has brought on a freeze for hiring at our company and unless the first quarter of 2013 shows marked improvement, we will see additional constriction of our work force and, quite possibly, layoffs of personnel that have been with our firm for many years."
Tom Mercier, President & CEO, bopi, (Bloomington, IL):
"Margins are quite thin with the downturn in the economy, and we have to have profits to reinvest in the business. If more goes to D.C. that means fewer dollars for profit sharing, employee raises or even new hiring (and with the new affordable health care act that will dampen that even more), plus health care costs will continue to eat up a greater share of the pie. As a subchapter S corporation it will definitely have a negative effect on the future growth of my business."
Phil Williams, President, Kenyon Appliances, U.S. Chamber small business member (Clinton, CT):
"Because Washington bureaucrats continue to play poker with our nation’s economy my business plans are on hold. I would have hired more people this month if the tax and budget issues had been dealt with properly. So now we wait to see what will happen. This is not a game to my employees this is their livelihood and they need answers now."
Sarah O'Neil-Manion, Principal, O’Neil & Manion Architects P.A, U.S. Chamber small business member (Bethesda, MD):
Our firm was fortunate to have some work this year. However, we have opted to work more hours (50-70 hour workweeks) rather than hire additional staff. We have no plans for hiring or making any major business purchases next year given the fiscal cliff likelihood. The failure of the President and Congress to provide tax reform and entitlement reform or even a marginal agreement to prevent the fiscal cliff will make economic conditions difficult for any business to survive.
Steve Juhan, President, Grant Road Industrial Center U.S. Chamber small business member (Tucson, NM):
"I manage family owned industrial properties on the west side of Tucson. We have financed the purchases with natural gas income from Colorado (deal my grandfather made three generations ago). The tax hike would not only affect my business, but all of my tenants. I specialize in providing space for small business and start-ups. This tax hike is a direct attack on small business. Vacancy is killing Tucson right now. There are no new start-ups we are only cannibalizing our neighbor's tenants. Costs are going up (property taxes, repairs, property insurance, etc.) and rent is going down. I am doing deals for 1998 rental rates. It sucks! And it's going to get worse..."
Glenn Cox, Owner, Family Owned Farm, U.S. Chamber small business member (Camilla, GA):
"I’m a fifth generation farmer here in southwest Georgia. I intended to pass our farm to my 21 year old daughter. The change in the inheritance tax will result in her having to sell half of our farm to pay death taxes."
For more information about how the fiscal cliff is impacting small business hiring trends, see the most-recent U.S. Chamber Small Business Outlook Survey conducted by Harris Interactive in October.
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?
Economic recessions have terrible consequences for families, for job creation, and for prosperity. So, why with the Great Recession just barely in the rearview mirror, and our economy still struggling to fully recover, are there some in Congress who want to jump off the fiscal cliff, sending us into another recession?
Who are these “fiscal cliff jumpers?”
Well, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) recently said:
“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 rather than lock in a long-term deal this year...”
She’s not alone. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has agreed, adding, “Murray knows what she's talking about."
And, former DNC Chairman Howard Dean was even more explicit:
“I think we ought to go over the fiscal cliff. It's not a great alternative but the Congress is incapable of anything else. We ought to do it."
What are they thinking?
Policy experts across the spectrum have weighed in on the fiscal cliff and agree that it would have devastating economic consequences for everyone. Congress must hear from you now.
What are we most thankful for at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce this Thanksgiving?
We’re thankful for your continued support of our efforts, and for your advocacy on the major issues that are facing our country right now. You continue to make your voice heard in Washington. And that is helping to make for a brighter future for America.
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Leave a comment below and tell us!
For all that you do: Thank you.
Happy Halloween! The airwaves are heating up, and we're down to the wire for Election 2012. Visit VoteForJobs2012.com to cut through the clutter and see where your candidates stand on the important issues.
With 36 days until November 6, we’ve laid the groundwork to educate voters on the issues that will lead our economic recovery.
Now, we must turn to the ground game.
As U.S. Chamber President and CEO, Tom Donohue, said:
“Voting is a right and a responsibility, and Americans need to know where the candidates stand. We are working harder than ever to make sure voters in every state, district, and precinct know which candidates have a record of fighting for pro-growth policies that will revitalize our economy and put Americans back to work.”
The candidates elected this November will determine the course of our economy for decades to come. So what can you do to ensure our country’s best days are ahead of us?
To help you cut through the clutter and find out where the candidates stand on issues that matter to you, we’re launching the U.S. Chamber’s online election portal, VoteForJobs2012.com.
- A map of spotlighted House and Senate races critical to this election cycle, comparing candidates on recent polling, voting records and positions on policies that will create jobs and support free enterprise;
- Ways for you to get involved, including campaign office contact, op-ed templates, and get-out-the-vote materials;
- The most recent and relevant election related news, polling, and resources; and
- Important voter resources where visitors can find their state’s official voter registration, polling locations, early voting information, and absentee ballot forms.
As you know, we’ve been up on the air for months with TV ads across the country highlighting the records of candidates – both good and bad.
Our new site adds to that effort by putting the power in your hands.
Visit www.VoteforJobs2012.com to learn more, get engaged, and spread the word.
Victory in November is up to you. Let’s finish strong.
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.
Why We Fight
In an election as important as the one we face this year, we believe it is vital to be involved in the races that need to be won. Since last fall, we’ve been on the ground across the country educating voters on where their candidates stand on issues that will promote growth and support the free enterprise system. Our efforts have not gone unnoticed.
A perfect example of the difference we’re making was recently written about our efforts in Maine.
Many in the media had written off the race for the U.S. Senate – declaring former Governor Angus King the clear and obvious winner.
While we know no one knows this state better than the citizens of Maine, we also recognized that King’s record of billion dollar deficits and billions more in spending hurt economic growth and caused uncertainty for Maine small businesses and job creators.
We believe that Mainers deserve to know where their candidates stand on issue that will impact Maine’s future economy.
As the Washington Post’s Marc Thiessen writes:
As Thiessen writes, our efforts have not only tightened the race, they’ve helped spread the word on Angus King’s record of dramatically increasing the size of government — and the size of Maine’s huge “billion-dollar fiscal hole.”
Whether or not you live in Maine — or any of the key Senate states this year — you will be impacted by the outcomes of these campaigns.
The outcomes will determine if we have a Congress that works to defend American Free Enterprise and allows the private sector to lead our economy or if Congress continues to stifle growth with more government.
Now we need you.
We need advocates on the ground who support reining in wasteful spending, higher taxes, suffocating regulations, and will support the principles of our free enterprise system.
We need messengers who will tell their friends, family, and neighbors that Americans deserve leaders in Congress who will fight for policies that advance growth and conditions that allow job creators to expand, invest and most importantly, get America back to work.
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.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Chamber spent the day traveling the state of Maine with U.S. Senate candidate Charlie Summers, meeting with small business owners discussing his plan to help entrepreneurs, innovators, and job creators.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Charlie for U.S. Senate because, as someone who grew up working in his family’s business, he understands the challenges that job creators face.
Senate races around the country like Maine's, will determine whether we have a pro-business Senate and the course of our country for decades to come. Check out the video from this week's event where Charlie will tells the citizens of Maine that it’s the free-market system, not the federal government, that will power America’s economic recovery.
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.
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.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States issued their much-anticipated ruling on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, upholding the law as Constitutional.
While we respect the Court’s ruling, it doesn’t change the clear reality that this health care law is fundamentally flawed and immensely unpopular with the American people.
Without much-needed reforms, this law is certain to cost many Americans their employer-based health insurance, undermine job creation, and raise health care costs for us all.
Following yesterday’s outcome, one thing is true. Our country can’t afford the failed policies from the last few years, allowing Congress to ram through legislation that stifles growth with taxes and mandates instead of spurring it with American enterprise.
After leading the fight against Obamacare two years ago, we have 131 days until the election to finish what we started, and send a clear message to Washington.
Now more than ever, we need your help. The U.S. Chamber is engaged in our most aggressive efforts in our 100 year history to hold candidates accountable for their position on the issues most consequential to our economy. With your continued support, candidates can’t hide from their vote in favor of Obamacare.
We need policymakers to work with job creators, instead of against them, to develop genuine, common sense reforms that will control costs, improve access, ensure quality, and promote wellness.
These are the reforms we need. And they are absolutely achievable. And with the Court’s decision, the need for action has never been greater.
We hope you’ll be a part of this effort to bring real, true, and meaningful reform that improves the quality and affordability of health care that Americans receive and stand with us in the coming days. It’s time to remind Washington that at the end of the day – voters have the final say.
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.
Now Tweeting: Follow Rob Engstrom for Commentary at the Intersection of Business and Politicsion of Business and PoliticsPosted by Chamber Grassroots on June 25th at 3:58pm
As the summer months heat up, so does the U.S. Chamber's 2012 Voter Education program, and I want to make sure that you are with us every step of the way.
Follow me @RobEngstrom for updates from the road as we travel across the country to meet with voters, hear from you, and endorse pro-growth candidates.
I'm taking to Twitter to ensure that the Friends of the U.S. Chamber are the first to know about our newly announced efforts and receive updates from events in the field.
I'll also be sure to share what I'm watching in news and polls, as well as provide insights as to why this year's elections are so important to the business community and our country's economic health.
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.
Yesterday, the U.S. Chamber hosted its third annual Jobs Summit. Watch below as we had the pleasure of catching up with Governor Scott Walker after the event, to get his thoughts on free enterprise in America, how it has shaped the state of Wisconsin and the importance of its influence in the future of our country’s economy.
“Moderation and frugality in government leads to freedom and prosperity for our people. The reason we're the leader of the free world is because of the free enterprise system…It was the entrepreneurs, not just the innovators that got our economy going, and we need to have that happen all over again.”
Governor Walker is right. It’s small businesses and the free enterprise system that established America as an economic powerhouse, and that have created a standard of living that is the envy of the word.
The stakes are high this year as the free enterprise system has come increasingly under attack by many who believe government – not the innovation and hard work of the American people -- should solve our problems. If we’re to get our economy roaring again, we need leaders in our nation’s capitol who will embrace free enterprise, not undermine it.
With your help, we will send leaders to Washington who agree that the free enterprise system is the best bet to ensure that future generations have the same advantages and opportunities that have made America great.
Click here to become a part of our landmark 2012 Voter Education Program, and you and can help make a difference for American free enterprise in November.
Within the next week, the U.S. Senate will likely vote on S.J. Res 37, a Resolution of Disapproval of the EPA’s job-killing Utility MACT rule. This is likely the last chance we have to derail this centerpiece of the EPA regulatory overreach that is already costing American jobs, while further preventing the economic recovery our nation still craves.
Earlier this month, we told you about the significant costs that the EPA’s Utility MACT rule is already imposing upon electric utilities and electric consumers – like you and me – across our nation.
In advance of the rule’s start date, more than 25,000 megawatts of affordable coal generation will be retired due to EPA air rules for electric power plants. That's enough lost generation to furnish electricity for more than 22 million households. Tens of thousands of workers could lose their jobs and millions of consumers will be paying higher electricity bills as a result of the EPA’s overbearing regulations.
Well, another week brings more bad news for jobs, affordable energy, and the basic need for a reliable electric supply to support economic development. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation, which oversees America’s electric grid, now projects that interruptions in electric service may occur in both Southern California and Texas this summer. In addition, New England is subject to proactive measures in an attempt to maintain reliable electric service in that region. Now is NOT the time to turn off more generation when we are already running short.
We need your help NOW to prevent the EPA from turning potential electricity shortages today into power outages – and higher electricity rates – tomorrow.
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.
As you know, the NLRB has been one of the worst offenders among regulatory agencies in their efforts to push an extreme anti-employer, anti-employee agenda and making it more difficult for businesses to create new jobs, start or expand operations, and contribute to economic growth.
One example is the NRLB’s ‘Ambush Elections Rule,’ which would dramatically shorten the time period for union elections, giving employers inadequate time to respond and undermining their free speech. It’s been threatened that the rule could go so far as mandate employers turn over personal information — like phone numbers and email addresses — to Big Labor organizers.
Another threat is the NRLB’s Specialty Healthcare decision, which would toss decades of precedents and allow Big Labor to unionize small portions of a workforce, called micro-unions. That means Big Labor would no longer need to win a majority of workers, and can instead organize small pockets of support.
This Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee will vote on amendments aimed at reining in the NLRB and regulations that harm America’s competitiveness.These rules and regulations seek to tilt the paying field and fix the game in favor of Big Labor.
However, efforts to reverse these dangerous rulings have been passed in the House. Now is the time for the Senate to act.
With your help, we can prevent the NLRB’s anti-employer rules from impacting businesses’ ability to grow, hire, and lead our economic recovery. Click here to urge your senator to vote against the threat of Big Labor and micro-unions.
In 2012, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is marking the 100th anniversary of our
This week, we’re honored by U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s introduction of a resolution in the Senate that recognizes the U.S. Chamber’s 100 year history of advocating for policies that will spur economic growth, create jobs, and increase prosperity.
As Senator McConnell noted yesterday:
We’re grateful for Senator McConnell’s support. And we stand very proud of our 100-year record of standing up for the American business community, entrepreneurs, and innovators.
As we embark on the next 100 years, we’re asking you to join us.
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.
PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Chamber’s Hiring Our Heroes Teams with Hollywood on New Veterans Initiative ‘Got Your 6’Posted by Chamber Grassroots on May 11th at 8:54am
Top Broadcast and Cable Networks, Studios, Talent Agencies, and GuildsJoin Unprecedented Campaign to Help Veterans Succeed in Return to Civilian Life
LOS ANGELES, CA—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program announced today it is joining with the entertainment industry as part of the new veterans initiative, Got Your 6™. The campaign brings together an unprecedented group of supporters, including nearly every major studio, broadcast and cable network, talent agency, and guild in the entertainment industry. Hiring Our Heroes will serve as the lead non-profit partner for the jobs pillar of the campaign.
“It is an honor for Hiring Our Heroes to be a part of an effort that carries such a powerful and influential voice,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Schmiegel (Ret.), executive director of the U.S. Chamber’s Hiring Our Heroes program. “To see virtually every major player in Hollywood come together on this initiative is a clear indicator they recognize the importance of our mission – to help the men and women who serve our country. We look forward to working with Got Your 6 to reach millions of Americans and demonstrate the value that veterans and military spouses bring to the table.”
As part of the initiative, Got Your 6 will work with Hiring Our Heroes to facilitate commitments toward the “Hiring 500,000 Heroes” campaign. The U.S. Chamber, National Chamber Foundation, and Capital One launched “Hiring 500,000 Heroes” on March 28, 2012, with a goal of engaging the business community in committing to hire 500,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2014.
“Got your six” is a military expression that means “I’ve got your back, and you’ve got mine.” The six o’clock position or “six” is the designation of the rear of a military formation. Initially conceived as an entertainment industry commitment at the Clinton Global Initiative America convening in Chicago in June 2011, Got Your 6 launches today with tremendous strength. The campaign will mobilize the assets, expertise and talent of the entertainment industry, spanning film, television, gaming, print, radio, outdoor media, and social platforms to build awareness around this important issue.
“Over the next five years, more than one million service members will return to civilian life,” said Chris Marvin, managing director of Got Your 6 and director of Civilian-Military Partnerships for ServiceNation. “It is imperative that Americans see this as an opportunity. As we welcome this generation of veterans home, it is crucial that we view them and their families as leaders and civic assets. With the full support of so many outstanding organizations like Hiring Our Heroes, Got Your 6 is a clear call to action for all Americans to join with our veterans in reinvigorating our communities.”
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 162 hiring fairs in 48 states and the District of Columbia, helping more than 9,000 veterans and military spouses find employment.
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.
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.
Stand with the job creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs that drive growth.
This week, the U.S. Chamber is celebrating our 100th Anniversary -- a century of standing up in the name of American Enterprise and representing the voice of businesses across the country in Washington D. C.
In order to properly honor the entrepreneurs, the innovators, and the small business leaders that are the drivers of our free enterprise system, we’re asking all of our friends to unite on Facebook and spread the word to STAND UP for American Enterprise.
Click the image below and sign in with Facebook to show your family and friends that you stand up for American Enterprise and the issues that are vital to its success: lowering taxes, stopping Obamacare, increasing American energy, and reining in government regulations.
The real power of this tool lies in its ability to share and spread this message right there with your Facebook network. So take a moment to click and show your friends that you care about free markets and the people and principles that make America great.
We hope you’ll stand with us.
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.
Earlier this week, the Washington Times editorial page commented on the White House’s reactions to the Supreme Court hearing on the Constitutionality of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Though deficits projects associated with the "Affordable Care Act" continue to rise, and devastating effects of the law are increasingly uncovered, the Washington Times highlighted the President saying that:
“I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress,” he said.
Moreover, Mr. Obama argued that nullifying Obamacare would amount to “judicial activism,” whereby “unelected” judges trump the will of legislative representatives…
The Washington Times continued to explain:
Contrary to Mr. Obama’s spin, the Affordable Care Act was jammed through Congress. It passed the House by a narrow vote of 219-212, even though the Democrats had an overwhelming majority of 75 seats. In the Senate, it barely crossed the 60-vote threshold to avoid a filibuster and passed without a single Republican vote. The law was deeply unpopular with the electorate. Obama Democrats desperately rushed it through Congress, abusing parliamentary procedures and bribing key members of the Senate. It is today even less popular with voters. No one - including Mr. Obama - bothered to read the 2,700-page monstrosity before putting it into law.
With its laundry list of shortcomings and broken promises, it’s not hard to believe why the Supreme Court is taking careful consideration of the bill’s legitimacy.
It would not be “unprecedented” or “extraordinary” if the Supreme Court overturns Obamacare. For more than 200 years, the high court has struck down countless laws passed by Congress or state legislatures, many of them with much stronger majorities than the Affordable Care Act.
Read the full editorial here and vote below.
In the wake of evidence provided at the Supreme Court hearings against the 2010 health care overhaul, do you believe think we should keep the bill as is or start from scratch?
America needs more jobs, not more lawsuits.
In 1998, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce founded the Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) to address the litigation explosion that hurts employers, consumers and families alike.
ILR's mission: To make America's legal system simpler, fairer and faster for everyone.
In these challenging economic times, the last thing we need is for businesses to face the added burden of lawsuit abuse. As part of their effort to shine a spotlight on the problem, the ILR team is on the constant look out for outrageous lawsuits slowing down the legal system to be presented in a monthly Most Ridiculous Lawsuit Poll.
We’ll begin to feature these monthly polls here on the What We're Watching blog – and hope you’ll take a moment to vote, and forward it on to your friends.
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.
Last week, the U.S. Chamber launched its second round of 2012 Issue Ads in states and districts across the country. It's all part of our largest voter eduction efforts to date - and it's only just the beginning.
These ads clearly demonstrate that the 2012 Elections will be a contest between those who believe Free Enterprise will bring America back, and those who favor Big Government.In listening to people around the country and looking at the principles our nation were founded upon, it's clear that Free Enterprise is the way to go.
Please take a moment to view these videos and learn more about the issues affecting communities around the country.
New employment numbers just out this morning show that 243,000 jobs were added to the American economy in January, bringing the unemployment rate down to 8.3%. That returns the unemployment rate back to where it was in January 2009.
Good news, right? Well, yes and no.
It is, of course, a positive development that actual jobs created exceeded the 150,000 that were being predicted. We always want to see more jobs being added by American employers, but we have a duty to dig deeper and take a more serious look beyond just these surface numbers.
U.S. Chamber Chief Economist Dr. Martin Regalia notes that when you take a closer look, there are some unsettling facts:
“More and more people are removing themselves from the workforce because they are discouraged over their inability to find work. At this stage of the business cycle—more than 2.5 years into a recovery—it’s not a good sign that people are leaving the workforce.”
That so many have chosen to cease looking for employment is a clear sign of the continued fragile state of our economy.
If the Americans who have removed themselves from the workforce entirely were to be considered, the unemployment rate would be far higher than 8.3%.
What are you seeing in your hometown? More job creation? New businesses opening? We want to hear from you. Please leave a comment below to let us know the economic situation where you live.
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?
As tradition holds, House Speaker John Boehner formally invited the president to address a joint session of Congress — and the president, of course, accepted.
This yearly exchange between the President and the Speaker is just one of the many traditions and interesting pieces of history surrounding the State of the Union address — which is why we wanted to try something fun this year.
Join us on Twitter tomorrow, Tuesday, January 24th for Chamber trivia -- State of the Union style. Throughout the day, be the first to reply correctly to one of 20 State of the Union trivia questions and you will be entered to win one of four American Express Gift Cards!
@USChamberAction will also be providing live commentary and fact checks during President Obama’s remarks starting at 9 PM EST. Help us spread the word by retweeting one of RT @USChamberAction's fact checks during the speech for an extra chance to win!
There are some serious challenges facing America. But there’s no reason we can’t have some fun with this historic endeavor and encourage citizens to watch the address in the process.
We hope you’ll follow and join in on the trivia fun tomorrow.
Click here to view the Official Contest Rules.
A few weeks ago, we emailed the members of our Small Business Nation network and asked them if they were one of the millions of small businesses unable to hire because of an unskilled workforce.
Believe it or not, this is a real issue in the current economy. In October, CNBC reported that, “there are about 3.2 million job openings in America that companies are unable to fill.” asked them if they were one of the millions of small businesses unable to hire because of an unskilled workforce.
Then, earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported on a new survey that shows 40% of small businesses are having trouble filling positions.
The end result is an economy that has 4.2 jobseekers for every opening, yet many small businesses cannot find applicants for the work needed.
Other than these few news stories, it’s an issue that hasn’t received too much press — so we wanted to find out from our small business network just how pervasive the skills gap really is.
As it turns out — it is a real problem. Here are just some of the responses we received from small businesses:
- “We have experienced a lack of qualified help and lack of people wanting to work in the construction business.” — Ed, Steamboat Springs, CO
- “There is a tremendous need for qualified Plumbers, Heating and Air Conditioning Technicians, and Electricians that have the knowledge and expertise along with people skills. Our company has openings ongoing for these positions. Our growth is limited by our ability to fill these positions.” — Chris, Greenville, SC
- “I am the President of a small trucking company in Northwest PA and we have at least 20 truck driving positions available for regional truck drivers that remain unfilled. These are good paying jobs - $40,000.00 - $80,000.00/yr. Our drivers are home throughout the week and most weekends, so it's not like they are on the road for months at a time. We offer full benefits. Where are all the workers?” — Cindy, Reno, PA
Are you a small business owner, manager or worker who has seen positions in your business go unfilled do to a lack of qualified workers?
This is an important part of the jobs debate, and your feedback is vital in helping us fight to get America working again. Submit your story here or leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
The holiday season upon us, and we wanted to take a moment to express our gratitude for all the time and effort you have invested over the last year.
During the last several months, we have worked hard to make sure that our lawmakers in Washington are being held accountable for their decisions in helping our economy to grow and thrive again, and we’d be remiss not to acknowledge the people and the unparalleled grassroots efforts that make all of this possible.
We ask you now to join us as we take a moment to pause and express what we are thankful for in the comments section below.
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.
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.
Earlier this year, we saluted Governor Scott Walker and the majority of the Wisconsin legislature for stepping up to lead on real budget reforms meant to put their state on the path to fiscal health.
Despite reports showing the positive impact that these reforms are already having, the public sector labor unions are still seething about their passage — the impact of which weakened the unions’ iron grip on the state’s budget.
The unions tried to mount recall elections against the state senators who supported these budget reforms — but the election returns last week showed that Big Labor came up short.
Kudos to the voters of Wisconsin for turning their voices into action in support of real leadership. We hope that the example provided by Wisconsin’s governor, legislators and voters alike can be used by lawmakers across the country — especially here in Washington — to provide bold and honest reforms to put America back to work.
To make sure that happens, it is up to you to hold your legislators accountable. This video, taken at our recent Governors Summit, Governor Walker gave us some recommendations on how you too can get off the side lines and influence the conversation.
P.S. Want to get involved right away? Explore America's Town Hall to speak up and stay engaged.
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.
Cross-posted from Chamberpost
We have been telling you for weeks and months that defaulting on our debt is not an option – it has real, immediate, and potentially catastrophic consequences.
As Tom Donohue and Rob Nichols outlined in their joint USA Today op-ed just last week, failure to raise the debt ceiling would have calamitous results. It would halt government operations, make our debt and deficit situation worse, debase the value of the dollar and threaten its status as the world’s reserve currency, and hamper U.S. growth and job creation.
And we are going to remind you again. If Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling, there will be real impacts, for every American. Interest rates will rise for everyone – which means higher rates for American consumers and the small businesses who drive our economy. Car loans, mortgages, and business and student loans will all be more expensive.
Now, make no mistake; too much spending and the need for real entitlement reform has led to the debt crisis we’re in today. But jeopardizing our country’s credit rating and fiscal security by refusing to compromise isn’t the answer.
The result from political inaction could be devastating. Congress needs to increase the debt limit but, the debt ceiling is just the symptom; the real problem is the explosion of federal debt.
According to new figures released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), debt is forecasted to rise to 190 % of GDP by 2035. CBO’s annual long-term budget outlook forecasts a surge in public debt this year that will rise to 70% of GDP by the end of fiscal year 2011 compared to 62 % by the end of 2010. Beyond the 10 year budget window, the situation deteriorates even faster.
We need to stop this downward spiral and get America back on the right track. Click here to contact Congress now and tell them to act immediately to raise the debt ceiling and enact serious spending reforms to fix our debt crisis.
The White House and Congress face a looming August 2 deadline to resolve their differences and raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. The need to raise the debt ceiling provides leverage for meaningful, long-term, bipartisan action to rein in long-term deficit spending and entitlement reform. Financial markets would be reassured and we’d avoid a potential spike in interest rates, which will only stall our struggling economy.
Chart via the Congressional Budget Office.
Cross-posted from Chamberpost
Today’s hearing in the House Agriculture Committee will give Main Street businesses a chance to sound the alarm about the reckless pace and outrageous cost of derivatives regulation.
Let’s hope the regulators get the message.
Passage of the Dodd Frank Act kicked off an intense year of regulatory activity across the board, but the most concentrated, transformative effort has taken place in the over-the counter (OTC) derivatives market.
Unrealistic Congressional deadlines have forced regulators into a full sprint, cranking out rules without regard for full consideration or logical sequencing. This leaves companies in the impossible position of, for instance, commenting on proposals that may not even apply to them because definitions and compliance standards are moving through the process out of order.
The need for speed has also pushed the regulators to fudge their cost-benefit analyses. For example, in April, the CFTC Inspector General issued a report pointing out that the CFTC generally employs a “one-size-fits-all” approach to cost-benefit analysis, and that the judgments of the Commission’s economists are often overruled. By whom? The lawyers, of course.
Cutting corners in derivatives rulemaking can have huge consequences, not just for sophisticated players in the financial markets, but also for Main Street companies that use derivatives to hedge business risk. Derivatives provide a way for these companies to lock in commodity prices, interest rates, or foreign currency exchange rates to keep their prices stable. The Chamber, through the Coalition for Derivatives End-Users, is working to preserve these critical risk management tools for manufacturers, agricultural producers, energy utilities, and others.
Despite the clear intent of Congress to shield these companies from the costliest derivatives rules, including margin (collateral) requirements, regulators have refused to concede the point, or even to come to an administration consensus about how they should be treated.
For these end user companies, regulation doesn’t just mean paperwork and compliance costs; it means cash out the door that could otherwise be put to work expanding the business and creating jobs. A survey and analysis conducted by the Coalition found that a requirement to impose initial margin on OTC derivatives could lead to a loss of 100,000 to 120,000 jobs within S&P 500 companies alone.
Perhaps even more shocking was the administration’s own estimate of the economic impact of the margin rules. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency released an analysis as part of the proposal that concluded banks and other businesses would have to set aside $2.05 trillion in working capital to comply with the new standards.
If that’s not a jobs killer, I don’t know what is.
Crossposted from Chamberpost
After a less-than-impressive jobs report on Friday, the Chamber's Chief Economist, Dr. Martin Regalia, offered a pretty succinct overview of what's stalling hiring on ABC News' This Week.
While some on the economic roundtable say the threat of war and a military buildup will jumpstart the economy (huh!?), and others say businesses are only facing new regulations from the financial sector (tell that to a small business owner who's reviewing the health care law. Or the clean energy companies looking to act on the 400+ projects that are being held up), Marty pointed out that there's "A lot of noise in the system is detracting from momentum." It's time for Washington to strip away these distractions by moving forward with a decision to raise the debt ceiling.
Once businesses are no longer facing this kind of concern and uncertainty, they'll be able to move forward with what they do best: expand and create jobs.
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.