E-News 5/11/2012

The Week Just Passed: Small Business and Picatinny Arsenal

Helping Small Businesses Work with the Pentagon

Gloomy News for Youngest (Non) Workers

High Gas Prices Strangling Families AND Small Businesses

An Action Plan on Jobs and Gasoline Prices

Noted with Interest: Running out of Excuses on Keystone Pipeline

Appropriations Committee at Work


The Week Just Passed: Small Business and Picatinny Arsenal

“I was honored to deliver the keynote address this morning at the Picatinny Chapter of the National Contract Management Association’s Small Business Symposium before 400 participants.

“It was a timely conference. Even with small business hiring stalled and the national security budget in a steep decline, our men and women in uniform continue to rely on the innovation provided by private sector companies every day.

“It an important partnership, but unfortunately, it’s not an easy partnership sometimes.

“The absence of a comprehensive DOD strategy for managing and maintaining our industrial base, the lack of a clear view of the military’s future needs, burdensome regulations and practices like contract ‘bundling’ frustrate many private sector companies.

“Small businesses are an important part of our national defense and an important part of our economy and we should be doing everything we can to support their growth.

“Next week, the House will be considering a comprehensive national security bill. It is good news for the military, for small business and for the taxpayers that the bill will include several bipartisan reforms designed to strengthen the Pentagon’s relationship with small business and help small business do more work for our Armed Forces.

“Events like today’s Picatinny conference are important to untangling and de-mystifying the process of contracting with the military. I told the participants that the organizations at Picatinny view private sector businesses as partners and I remain committed to my work to make sure that Picatinny remains open for business – in every possible sense.

”There is nothing more important for our economy in northern New Jersey and nothing more important for our national security.”

Rodney Frelinghuysen

Helping Small Businesses Work with the Pentagon

The Defense Authorization bill the House will consider next week seeks to eliminate barriers that have prevented small- and medium-sized businesses from competing for Pentagon contracts.

Notably, the bill directs the Secretary of Defense to improve the Pentagon’s relationship with small business. That includes designating DoD officials to advise Pentagon agencies on small business concerns, providing a point of contact for small businesses within the Defense Department, and establishing new goals for procurement contracts awarded to small businessmen and women.

Gloomy News For Youngest (Non) Workers

A couple of discouraging reports came out this week on the economy.

First, the Gallup Organization reported that one in three young workers are underemployed. That’s up from 30 percent one year ago.

Unemployment among young adults, 18 to 29 year olds, increased to 13.6% in April, up from 12.5% in March and the same as in April 2011. Another 18.4% of young adults in the workforce were working part time but wanting to work full time in April. This is up from 17.5% in March and 17.1% in April a year ago.

And then the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernake, made it clear that never before in postwar America has finding work taken as long.

Over five million people have been out of work for at least six months. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that the average length of unemployment is 39 weeks. In November, it was 41 weeks, the highest since the U.S. began collecting the information in 1948.

If the labor market heals too slowly, job seekers face more and more erosion of their skills and connections, increasing odds that they’ll never work again.

Chairman Bernanke says that this has not happened yet, but the longer the unemployment rate stays elevated, the more likely that jobless people will “see their skills and labor-force attachment atrophy further, possibly converting a cyclical problem into a structural one.”

Recommended Reading: George Will, writing in the Thursday Washington Post: “Taxing Jobs out of Existence.”

High Gas Prices Strangling Families AND Small Businesses

As loudly as American families are demanding relief from high gas prices, small businesses are now chiming in as well. Persistently high energy costs are forcing owners to reduce hiring and cut back on employee hours.

According to the nation’s largest small business organization, the National Federation for Independent Business (NFIB), one in 10 business owners says energy is his or her single greatest cost, ranking it ahead of wages, materials and other investments that help companies thrive. Another 25 percent claim it as the second or third biggest expense.

An Action Plan on Jobs and Gasoline Prices

There is no greater challenge facing families and businesses today than our nation’s struggling economy. And the American people know that “Job #1” for this Congress should be restoring growth and private sector job creation. The Administration and Congress should be working aggressively together to find more effective ways to spur private sector job creation and opportunities.

Instead of expanding the size of government, a common-sense, fiscally responsible, economic agenda will put Americans back to work.

Read Rodney’s plan on jobs and energy here.

Noted with Interest: Running out of Excuses on Keystone Pipeline

Rep. Fred Upton (MI), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, says the Obama Administration Is running out of excuses on the job-creating keystone pipeline.

“Frankly [the Obama Administration is] running out of excuses of why not to build this thing. They are in essence moving the route further away from the sand hill aquifers in Nebraska. We use oil sands from Canada. We refine it in other refineries around the country. There's no reason not to do this one.

“Add 20,000 jobs, direct jobs, more than 100,000 indirect jobs. We're a country that consumes about 18 million barrels a day for transportation. We only produce seven or eight million. This is going to go China if we don't build it here…Folks understand what supply and demand is.

“The Canadians will be producing about four million barrels a day from that region up in Alberta. They want to export about a million barrels a day and there's no reason not to take it here, particularly when we've seen gas prices in essence double from the day that President Obama took office and there are certainly still predictions that it's still going to go up this summer.”

Appropriations Committee at Work

Rodney’s House Appropriations Committee is doing its job, working this week in a bipartisan fashion to pass the first appropriations bill for the fiscal year (2013) that begins on October 1.

The Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill funds federal programs that will help protect people from threats at home, abroad, and in cyber-space; maintain the competitiveness of American industry and businesses; and encourage scientific research that will keep America at the forefront of the world in innovation.

“This measure reduces federal spending while promoting accountability in our executive branch agencies,” Rodney said.

Since the beginning of the 112th Congress in January 2011, the CJS subcommittee has cut $13.2 billion, reducing the total amount of the CJS bill by over 20 percent over the three fiscal years.

Recommended Reading:  Arthur Brooks says he “found that even when good things occurred that weren't earned, like nickels coming out of slot machines, it did not increase people's well-being.”  He offers an interesting perspective in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal,America and the Value of Earned Success.”