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E-News 8/12/11

The Week Just Past: Twin Crises

Noted with Interest:  Colombia-Canada Trade Pact Taking Effect

Jobs = Priority #1, Controlling Federal Spending a close #2

Noted With Alarm:  The Gaping Budget Deficit

Rodney Checks in on Hazardous Waste Clean-up

The Week Just Past: Twin Crises

“America is facing two crises – debt and jobs – and the solution to both is economic growth. It goes without saying that ensuring long-term economic growth must be our top priority. 

“Unfortunately, as I listen to people all around my Congressional District it becomes clearer that Americans have watched as their government becomes an obstacle to job creation. They want Washington to ‘get out of the way.’  Yet, overregulation and increased burdens on businesses are today’s norm. 

“The official jobless rate stands above 9 percent, but if you count all those people who have stopped looking for work or who are under-employed, that rate spikes to at least 17 percent!  Simply put, more people than ever are looking for work longer than in any time in recent memory.

“This cannot continue. 

“Congress needs to be squarely focused on implementing policies that will foster private sector hiring:

“1) Fix the tax code and lower tax rates.  Our corporate tax rate is the world’s highest! 2) Open new overseas markets to American-made goods and create thousands of new U.S. jobs in the process.  Passing the South Korea, Colombia and Panama Free Trade Agreements is a good starting point! 3) Maximize domestic energy sources by encouragingall forms of energy production.  Diversity of supply means security of supply. 4) Pay down America’s debt burden and start living within our means by adopting steep and immediate federal spending cuts enforced by a Balanced Budget Amendment so that we can avoid future debt crises.

“This is how we attack America’s twin crises.”  

                                Rodney Frelinghuysen

Recommended Reading:  Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Kevin Warsh writing in the Wednesday Wall Street Journal, “A New Strategy for Economic Growth. Growth is not just about economics. Growth unleashes human potential:”  Read more here

Noted with Interest:  Colombia-Canada Trade Pact Taking Effect

Next week will mark the beginning of an important new trade partnership in the Western Hemisphere as the Colombia-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA) enters into force on Monday, August 15.

The Colombia-Canada FTA was signed on November 21, 2008, nearly two years to the day after the U.S.-Colombia FTA was signed. With Canada as a U.S. competitor in a number of key export categories – wheat, corn, soybeans, pork, paper products and machinery, among others – U.S. businesses, farmers and ranchers will have fierce competition in South America’s third largest market, as Canadian exporters benefit from an immediate reduction and elimination of tariffs.

After four years of promises, the Obama Administration has yet to submit our completed U.S.-Colombia agreement to Congress!

Jobs = Priority #1, Controlling Federal Spending a close #2

America is out of money. To revive our sagging ailing economy, resume job creation, and save America from bankruptcy, Washington must stop spending money we don’t have. A permanent fiscal solution is needed. Spending cuts are important, but what one Congress passes today, another Congress (or even the same one) can always undo tomorrow. Spending pledges and statutory caps can easily be ignored or overturned as the political winds change and new “unexpected crises” come about, like we saw with the $1 trillion stimulus of 2009!

The only effective way to control spending is through an amendment to the Constitution. Balancing budgets is not an untested idea -- 49 states currently abide by some form of a balanced budget requirement.

Spending cuts, caps, and “commitments” are always temporary – a constitutional amendment is permanent. A constitutional mandate to pass a balanced budget every year would legally force (not simply “urge” or “encourage”) Congress to only spend what it takes in.

If we choose to do nothing and continue on the fiscal path we’re on, in just 10 years, 95 percent of all federal taxes will be used to pay off our debt and fund our unsustainable entitlement programs. This will leave only 5 percent of our annual tax revenue for funding national security and other essential functions of the government.

Sixteen years ago, the Balanced Budget Amendment passed the House with bipartisan support, only to lose by one vote in the Senate.  Since then, the debt has nearly tripled in size, growing by $9.7 trillion, or around $1.6 billion per day.  Imagine how much better off this country would be if it had passed, and it was sent to the states for the American people to decide.

Noted With Alarm:  The Gaping Budget Deficit

According to the Treasury Department, the federal budget deficit through July totaled $1.1 trillion.  This total put the federal government on track to finish the 2011 fiscal year with the second-largest gap between its incoming and outgoing cash. 

In July alone, the government spent $129.38 billion more than it took in, down from $165 billion a year earlier. All but $8 billion of that $36 billion difference came from one-time transactions made in 2010, Treasury said.

In fiscal 2010, the deficit for the first 10 months of the year was $1.169 trillion.

The Obama administration has forecast that the deficit for the fiscal year, which ends September 30, would total $1.65 trillion.  Before 2009, the deficit had never surpassed $1 trillion during a single year. This year’s deficit is on track to surpass last year’s $1.29 trillion but eke in just below the $1.41 trillion budget deficit the federal government amassed in 2009.

Rodney Checks in on Hazardous Waste Clean-up

Joined by U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region II Administrator Judith Enck, NJDEP officials, state legislators, county officials and mayors, Rodney continued his annual inspection of local hazardous waste “Superfund” sites this week.

“It is important for me to personally visit Superfund sites to assess the progress being made,” Rodney said.  “New Jersey has more Superfund sites than other state in the nation but considerable progress has been made.  Since 1980 when the Superfund program began, 30 sites in New Jersey have been removed from the National Priority List.”

Superfund is the federal government's program to clean up the nation's hazardous waste sitesto protect the environment and residents’ health.

Rodney’s annual tour of Superfund sites in Morris and Essex Counties took him to: Radiation Technology, Inc. and Rockaway Township Wells in Rockaway Township; Rockaway Borough Well Field in Rockaway Borough; Dayco Corp./L.E. Carpenter Co. in Wharton Borough; Dover Municipal Well 4 in the Town of Dover; and Caldwell Trucking Co. in Fairfield Township.

“The number of Superfund sites in New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District is down to 12.  However, it is still important to monitor these clean up efforts and work with the EPA and the New Jersey DEP to ensure efforts to clean up toxic waste sites are handled appropriately.”

Currently, 112 Superfund sites are located in New Jersey, including 12 in the 11th Congressional District.  Since the Superfund program began in 1980, 30 sites in New Jersey have been removed from the National Priority List, including 3 in the 11th Congressional District.

Read Abbott Koloff’s article in the Morris County Daily Record here

 To learn more, visit the EPA’s Superfund website here