E-news 3/16/12

The Week Just Past: On People’s Minds – Gas and Jobs

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve Protects America

Senate Slows the Overwhelmingly Bipartisan JOBS ACT

Regulation Nation: New Study Finds President Obama’s Regulatory Agenda Costs $46 billion a year, Hurts Growth & Job Creation

New Analysis Shows Obamacare is Still Wrong Prescription for USA

North Korea in the Washington Post’s view


The Week Just Past: On People’s Minds – Gas and Jobs

“Over the past week, I had the opportunity to do what I love best: meet and listen to my constituents and hear their views on the many critical issues of the day.  Among other settings, I got together with Kiwanians in Parsippany and Rotarians in Livingston. 

“Of course, the price of gasoline has our attention.  From families to businesses large and small, everyone is affected.  The cost of getting to and from work has jumped.  Gas prices are boosting grocery bills, businesses’ transportation costs, and affect local municipalities’ budgets.

“I said that, in my view, the key to energy security begins here at home - more domestic drilling, more nuclear power, more renewable energy sources like solar and hydropower, and of course, more conservation.  A diversity of energy supply represents security of supply.  And since roughly 70% of the world’s oil is controlled by people who don’t like us, we must do better.  I reported that the House has passed dozens of ‘all-of-the-above’ measures, only to see them languish in the Senate.  

“But of course, the major topic of discussion this week – and my primary focus - continues to be the economy and jobs.  

“Millions of Americans, including tens of thousands here in New Jersey, are looking for work and cannot find it.  This is unprecedented, unacceptable and, frankly, unsustainable. 

“We must promote a healthy economy by protecting small businesses and job creators.

“The sad truth is that Washington is promoting government dependency instead of personal responsibility and economic freedom.

“We need to build a society where hard work is rewarded and every American has the opportunity to succeed.

“In next week’s e-News, I hope to be able to report that the Senate has finally passed the bipartisan JOBS Act and the House has repealed another onerous provision of Obamacare  - the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) - which many seniors fear will become Medicare’s rationing board.

“Until then, stay tuned.”

                                      Rodney Frelinghuysen

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve Protects America

This week saw conflicting reports regarding the President’s intentions to release oil onto the market from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), a 727 million barrel oil reserve that was created in response to the 1973 OPEC oil embargo, which cut the physical supply of oil to the U.S. market.

In the 36 years since Congress voted to create the SPR, U.S. presidents have tapped the emergency oil stockpile only three times.  The first President Bush authorized an emergency release during the first Gulf War in 1991, and his son as President released 11 million barrels in 2005 just after Hurricane Katrina struck in the Gulf of Mexico.  President Obama released 30 million barrels of oil from the reserves last year in the wake of “Arab Spring” and could do it again soon.

Yesterday, the European news service, Reuters, reported that President Obama had discussed a release from the SPR with British Prime Minister David Cameron.  White House press secretary Jay Carney denied the claim.

“Releasing oil from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve now is a badly flawed idea,” said Rodney, Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development.  “The SPR was created to protect America in the event of a genuine emergency.  Just as we cannot allow our national security strategy to be undercut by politics, the President should not use the SPR to paper over a flawed long-term energy security strategy.” 

Senate Slows the Overwhelmingly Bipartisan JOBS ACT

The Senate has finally agreed to vote on the bipartisan JOBS Act, almost two weeks after it passed the House with a bipartisan majority.  The bill represents a consensus on the need to help small businesses and start-up enterprises raise capital to expand and hire new workers.

Recommended Reading: Charles Gasparino, writing in the New York Post, “What Took so Long?  Why O’s Policies Slowed Recovery.”

Regulation Nation: New Study Finds President Obama’s Regulatory Agenda Costs $46 billion a year, Hurts Growth & Job Creation

Some 10,215 new federal regulations from the Obama administration are costing consumers, businesses and the economy overall $46 billion annually, more than five times the regulatory price tag of former President Bush in his first three years in office.

Worse yet: just implementing those regulations had a one-time additional cost of $11 billion, according to a Heritage Foundation analysis.

Just consider the regulations labeled as “major” for costing $100 million or more.  President Obama’s team issued 106 of these regulations on private industry since taking office, compared to 28 by Bush.  Last year alone, Obama’s administration issued 32 major regulations impacting everything from clothes dryers, to toy labels.

The Heritage study said that most expensive regulation of 2011 was from the Environmental Protection Agency, which added five major rules costing $4 billion. Among them: stricter limits on industrial and commercial boilers and incinerators, for a cost of $2.6 billion annually for compliance. 

New Analysis Shows Obamacare is Still Wrong Prescription for USA

Next week marks the third anniversary of the passage of Obamacare and this week the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) and Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an updated analysis of the President’s health care law. 

Here are five facts every American should know about this report:

1.   Spending jumps to $1.8 trillion– With America already borrowing 40 cents out of every dollar it spends, this massive increase in federal spending is simply unsustainable.

2.   Four million Americans will lose employer-provided health insurance– In just one year, 2016, CBO now predicts four million more Americans will lose the health insurance they have through the workplace than CBO predicted just last year.  This will force these hardworking Americans to purchase government-mandated health insurance in government-run exchanges or pay a financial penalty.

3.   Small businesses left to fend for themselves– The analysis shows that the byzantine small business tax credits are overwhelmingly being rejected by small businesses.  The new analysis shows $20 billion less will go to these credits, leaving employers to struggle with the high cost of health insurance.  

4.   More employers choose to pay a fine over providing health insurance– Many economists, and even some companies admitted, that it would be cheaper (and thus more profitable) for employers to pay the employer mandate penalty than to provide their workers with health insurance coverage.  The new JCT/CBO analysis confirms more and more employers are dumping insurance coverage, largely because of the costly benefit package being mandated by the Obama Administration.  In fact, JCT/CBO now predicts businesses will opt to pay an additional $15 billion in penalties instead of providing health insurance coverage to their employees.

5.   The Obama Administration’s  economic policies are leading to a weaker economy, lower wages & fewer jobs– The JCT/CBO analysis explains that one of the major reasons for adjusting their predictions is due to “changes in the economic outlook.”  According to the analysis, “In that forecast, the unemployment rate is higher throughout the projection periods than it was in last year’s forecast.  CBO also now estimates that wages and salaries will be lower than previously anticipated.”  As a result, more Americans will be forced to enroll in government-run, and taxpayer-financed, health care programs (Medicaid and CHIP).

Read the full report here.

Recommended Reading :Tuesday’s editorial in the Washington Post on North Korea, “Horse of a Same Color,” is worth a read.