e-News September 24, 2010

The Week Just Past: the Tax Clock is Ticking

Administration’s Addiction to Spending

ObamaCare at Six Months: A Dubious Anniversary

ObamaCare: Costs Are Already Going Up

New Jersey: the Exodus Continues

Final Read: An Amusing “Take” on Congressional Dysfunction!

The Week Just Past: the tax clock is ticking

“In just a short 100 days, New Jersey’s families and small businesses will be hit with a massive tax hike that will damage job creation and further hamstring our struggling economy.  That is, if Congress fails to act to prevent this increase.

“Small businesses across our state have made it clear: they want government to get ‘off their backs’ on out of their way.  But, they also say uncertainty surrounding the looming tax hike is making it impossible for them to invest in their businesses and create jobs.  Yet, despite the urgent need to put an end to the uncertainty hampering small businesses, Speaker Pelosi apparently has ‘no immediate plans’ to stop tax hikes on all Americans.

“I wish she understood what I know: New Jersey’s families are struggling everyday to make ends meet.  They are anxious about the future of their jobs, their bank accounts and their investments.  They worry that taxes will sap their ability to send their children to college.

“But instead of taking substantive action to reassure small businesses and the families that rely on them for employment, Speaker Pelosi is working to ‘clear the decks’ in Washington so that her members can go home in advance of the November elections.

“Having witnessed the loss of over 283,000 jobs since June, you would think Congress would stay in Washington.  In addition to stopping the tax hike, we should be voting to pass a budget that cuts non-security government spending to 2008 levels – before all of the bailouts, government takeovers, and ‘stimulus’ spending sprees began.  Americans and economists agree – stopping the tax hike is ‘the most important thing Congress can do to help the economy.’”

Recommended Reading: reported Monday that a majority of economists it surveyed think Congress should extend current tax rates forall taxpayers and prevent a tax hike for those in the highest income brackets.

Administration’s Addiction to Spending

Since the Majority has failed to pass ANY of the 12 annual appropriations bills before the October 1 deadline, Congress must pass a temporary funding bill, a “Continuing Resolution” or “CR” next week.  However, in keeping with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s adage of “never let a crisis go to waste,” the Obama administration once again appears to be trying to ram through billions in additional spending and political priorities.  

For example, the Administration has proposed that the CR continue the failed policies of the “stimulus” bill.  The proposal includes provisions to allow as much as $10 billion in unused stimulus money to continue to be spent next year instead of returning it to the Treasury for deficit reduction, and provisions costing over $1.1 billion to allow the Department of Health and Human Services to convert “temporary” one-time stimulus programs into permanent increases in federal spending.

“After 18 months of record-breaking spending, borrowing and mountains of fresh debt, it is foolhardy to tack on even more,” Rodney said.  “But it appears that the Obama Administration is addicted to spending!”

Recommended Reading II: Friday’s “Heard on the Street” in the Wall Street Journal. “Outsiders remain perplexed by Uncle Sam’s mortgage-support plan.  According to Peter Sands, CEO of emerging-markets banking giant, Standard Chartered, “Mortgages in the U.S. are more state-supported than virtually anywhere else in the world, including China.”  The surprise for Mr. Sands: Despite being a root of the financial crisis, the giants have side-stepped serious reform.

ObamaCare at Six Months: A Dubious Anniversary

It has now been six months since President Obama signed his controversial health care law into effect and the Administration is now working to implement the massive government takeover.  A quick look at the first stages of its implementation reveals how the legislation falls short with respect to costs, premiums, preserving Americans’ existing coverage, and providing full transparency and accountability.

Health Care Implementation by the Numbers:

4,103—Pages of regulations issued on the health care law from March 23, 2010 through September 17.

12—Number of final regulations not subjected to public scrutiny before taking effect.

40,000,000—Companies subject to the health law’s new 1099 reporting requirements, which the National Federation of Independent Business called a “tremendous new paperwork compliance burden.”

9—Regulations released to date that will increase premium costs for individuals and employers, according to the Administration’s own estimates.

750,000—Reduction in the American labor force due to provisions in the law that “will effectively increase marginal tax rates, which will also discourage work,” according to the Congressional Budget Office.

$310,800,000,000—Projected increase in health care costs as a direct result of the legislation, according to the Administration’s own actuaries.

7,400,000—Reduction in Medicare Advantage enrollment as a result of the health care law, resulting in a loss of choice for seniors and millions of beneficiaries losing their current health plan.

51%—Percentage of American workers who will lose their current health coverage by 2013, according to the Administration’s own estimates.

22—States that have joined legal actions to block all or part of the law from taking effect.

Rodney has cosponsored legislation to repeal ObamaCare.

ObamaCare: Costs Are Already Going Up

President Obama promised that his health reform would "fix" our rising medical costs and a growing legion of uninsured Americans priced out of coverage.

However, data out last week shows that the price of health insurance is rising even faster than before, the number of uninsured Americans is spiraling upward, and the choices people have of doctors and health plans are being sharply constrained as a result.  Read the details in the New York Post here.

Rodney’s “Pledge to America”

In this context of looming tax hikes, massive increases in government spending public debt and enactment of a government takeover of health care, Rodney this week welcomed the House Republicans’ “Pledge to America.” 

“For too long, the voices of the American people have been ignored in Washington,” he said. “While Americans have been speaking clearly, the Administration and the Congressional Majority have pushed a job-killing, free-spending agenda that does not reflect the priorities of the people. And we’ve ended up with too much spending, too much borrowing, too many taxes, too much government.”

The “Pledge to America” is a new governing agenda for Congress.  It presents a set of common-sense solutions and offering a better way of doing business in Washington, developed after hearing from millions of Americans through hundreds of town hall meetings and messages online.

“With Americans looking for job creation, we are offering a jobs plan to end the economic uncertainty for American small businesses and make America more competitive. As massive debt threatens the prosperity of our children, we have a credible plan to rein in the budget deficit. To keep America safe from threats abroad and on our border, this pledge offers a commitment to national and border security. To honor the will of the people and protect the American health care system, we have a plan to repeal the new health care law and replace it with solutions to bring down costs. And as Americans increasingly view Congress as a broken institution, we offer a plan for reform to provide real accountability and transparency.”

The Pledge is the culmination of a conscious engagement with the American people in which House Republicans sought their ideas and priorities for Congress.  The agenda offers solutions that can be implemented immediately to tackle the issues that are most important to the nation - job creation, spending restraint, national security, health care, and to reform Congress itself.

The full agenda, “A Pledge to America”, can be viewed here.

New Jersey: The Exodus Continues

Earlier this year, the Star-Ledger reported that more than $70 billion in wealth left New Jersey between 2004 and 2008 as affluent residents moved elsewhere.  Of course, this appears to be a clear “reversal of fortune for a state once considered the nation’s wealthiest.”

Last week, the Star-Ledger published a follow-up report which indicated that more people moved out of New Jersey between 2004 and 2008 than all but four other states.  Our state trails only New York, California, Illinois and Michigan, also high tax states, in outward migration.

Read Leslie Kwoh’s story here.

Recommended Reading III: Were union workers give special treatment in the GM bailout? The Special Inspector General for Bailouts is now investigating whether “political considerations” played a role in favoring union workers at GM subsidiary Delphi, whose pensions were protected, over salaried, non-union workers, who suffered deep and painful benefit cuts.  Read Mary Walsh’s story in the New York Times here.

Of course, you will recall that the final ObamaCare bill set aside $10 billion to establish a special health reinsurance program to provide “bridge” coverage to United Auto Workers members aged 55-64 and their families, something that other American workers were not entitled to.   


Final Read: An Amusing “Take” on Congressional Dysfunction!

Dana Milbank has a good read on Congress’ current operations in Wednesday’s Washington Post.