In advance of being made to sit through what will undoubtedly be a partisan campaign rant by the president about the economy on Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor sent the White House a letter today suggesting a number of initiatives passed in the House which could be put to use growing the economy if Barack Obama would get the Democrat Senate leadership on board with moving them forward to implementation.
None of them will likely be discussed when Obama goes to Capitol Hill.
Instead, we saw a preview of the speech yesterday when the president went to Detroit, a city ruined by a corrupt, leftist unionized public sector and a corrupt, leftist private-sector union in its largest industry and praised Teamster head Jimmy Hoffa, Jr., after the latter declared that his membership was an “army” for Obama to fight the Tea Party and “take those sons of bitches out.” Hoffa’s rhetoric, which echoes that of his criminally-convicted and ultimately rubbed-out father, has been the subject of rather intense discussion today – it flies in the face of previous admonitions by Obama about the vitriolic tone of current political speech, though rather than rebuke the union boss the president instead accused Congress of putting “party before country” by not agreeing to more government spending.
Obama’s line hasn’t changed since his inauguration. He’s going to ask for another orgy of Keynesian federal largesse, advertised as a commitment to upgrade the country’s infrastructure, as though he didn’t already take that pony for a ride when he wasted a trillion dollars of China’s money on propping up unsustainable public sector payrolls in 2009 under the same guise.
We’ll hear more of this “roads and bridges” tripe from the president Thursday. Though as Boehner and Cantor noted in their letter, there is ample money for construction of infrastructure in state and local capital outlay budgets, particularly if the federal government were to get out of the way…
We are not opposed to initiatives to repair and improve infrastructure, and believe there are reforms that can be implemented that would improve their effectiveness in a manner that supports economic growth. Current law requires that states set-aside 10 percent of their surface transportation funds for transportation enhancements, which must be used for items such as establishment of transportation museums, education activities for pedestrians and bicyclists, acquisition of scenic easements, historic preservation, operation of historic transportation facilities, etc. While many of the initiatives funded by this mandatory set-aside may be worthy projects, eliminating this required set-aside would allow states to devote more money to the types of infrastructure programs you are advocating without adding to the deficit. We believe such a reform would be consistent with your statement last week that we should “reform the way transportation money is invested, to eliminate waste, to give states more control over the projects that are right for them.”
In light of your recent comments, we are also hopeful that there is an opportunity for bipartisan agreement on a proposal to expedite the permitting process for construction projects. For example, moving to concurrent rather than sequential reviews by federal agencies and setting time limits for reviews could greatly speed up the approval process and get more projects underway faster.
Of course, there is such a thing as infrastructure spending which does NOT come from government largesse. For example, the Keystone XL pipeline which would facilitate the transmission of a million barrels of oil a day from the tar sands of Alberta to oil refineries in Texas would create 20,000 direct infrastructure construction jobs without costing the federal government a single dime. And yet Obama has yet to issue final approval of Keystone XL through the state department. If he was truly committed to job growth, Obama would insure that State signed off on that pipeline this week in advance of his speech and then herald the coming of the pipeline as a win for American jobs.
But Obama won’t do that. In fact, if he does allow Keystone XL it will be quietly in hopes that his left-wing base won’t notice. Obama’s most fervent supporters think oil from Canadian tar sands is somehow immoral because it requires industry to access it and have been making asses of themselves in front of the White House for an entire month and more in an effort to stop the construction of Keystone XL, as though the Canadians won’t find some other way to transport their black gold to the marketplace. For example, if Keystone XL doesn’t happen they’ll just build a pipeline west to Vancouver and sell the oil to China, which would entail the same minimal risk of a spill in the pipeline the enviro-nuts decry in the case of Keystone XL in addition to the far greater risk of a spill from the massive supertankers transporting the oil to far dirtier Chinese refineries.
Obama could also get some $8 billion in private infrastructure spending if he would get his Justice Department out of the way of the AT&T/T-Mobile merger – which Justice stepped in to block last week. All concerns about monopolies aside – if AT&T buys T-Mobile there will still be three major wireless carriers in Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, after all – AT&T has outlined a plan to spend $8 billion to upgrade its wireless network should the merger go through, which would fund tens of thousands of infrastructure construction jobs. Those are jobs the Obama administration has chosen to abort by blocking the merger.
And per the terms of the AT&T/T-Mobile merger agreement, should it not go through thanks to the efforts of the president and our illustrious Attorney General Eric Holder AT&T would be obligated to pay $3 billion in settlement dollars to T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom. In other words, Holder’s statement indicates that amid the Democrats’ screaming about American corporate investment capital sitting on the sideline, the administration would prefer to just export $3 billion of that capital to Germany rather than have almost three times as much put into the economy.
And then there’s Obama’s National Labor Relations Board, which is standing in the way of Boeing’s planned investment of tens of millions of dollars in opening a production line in South Carolina to build its new Dreamliner planes. Why? Because the facility at which the planes will be built is a non-union shop after the workers there voted to get rid of the same machinist union that has bedeviled Boeing with strikes at its Puget Sound plant, and Obama’s NLRB is opposed to any corporate investment which might have the effect of reducing the share of the private workforce unions control.
Examples abound of why insane leftist policies of this administration retard private-sector activity; yet Obama will tout “infrastructure” spending. Will the president discuss waiving pro-union Davis-Bacon requirements in his new road and bridge construction projects in order for the federal government to get more bang for its buck? Of course not. Will the president offer incentives to private road and bridge construction (i.e., toll roads) in order to stimulate private investment in infrastructure? Not likely.
You might well hear Obama pay lip service to easing the regulatory burden on business through reviewing the activities of his administration. This is the fox offering to police the henhouse. As Boehner and Cantor inform us…
Last week we also announced a legislative calendar for the fall with a heavy focus on repeal of excessive, job-destroying regulations and the pursuit of pro-growth tax relief. American employers are seeking relief from the excessive federal regulation that is hampering job creation across our country. As we all know, some regulations are necessary to help keep Americans safe and to protect our citizens’ rights.
But there are also regulations that unnecessarily increase costs for Americans, for job creators, and for taxpayers, preventing our economy from creating new jobs. Small businesses, which are the primary engine of job creation in our economy, too often bear the brunt of excessive regulation.
Your administration has publicly listed a total of 219 new regulatory actions under consideration for the upcoming year, each of which would have an estimated cost to our economy of $100 million or more. Early last week, in response to our request, you disclosed that seven of these regulations would have an estimated economic cost of more than $1 billion each, with a potential combined cost of more than $100 billion in a single year.
While we appreciate your announcement on Friday asking the EPA to withdraw its new draft ozone standards, we believe it is critical to not stop there, and instead act to further reduce this cumulative regulatory drag of uncertainty on economic growth and job creation. Our hope is that both parties can work together in the coming weeks to reduce excessive regulation that is hampering job growth in our country. To facilitate such efforts, we hope that prior to your address to a Joint Session, you will disclose the cost estimates for the remaining 212 new regulatory actions planned by your administration.
And it would be highly unlikely if Obama were to even discuss the following measure which have passed in the House but are being held hostage by his stooge Harry Reid in the Senate at present…
The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act (H.R. 872), which would halt duplicative federal regulations on farmers and small business owners that are impeding job creation.
The Energy Tax Prevention Act (H.R. 910), which would stop the federal bureaucracy from imposing a job-destroying national energy tax.
The Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act (H.R. 2018), which would restrict the federal government’s ability to second-guess or delay a state’s permitting and water quality certification decisions under the Clean Water Act once the EPA has already approved a state’s program, preventing approval process delays that cost jobs and leave businesses hampered by uncertainty.
The Consumer Financial Protection & Soundness Improvement Act (H.R. 1315), which would increase consumer protection and government accountability by eliminating the ability of Dodd-Frank’s unelected Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director to unilaterally carry out regulations that hurt job growth.
The Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act (H.R. 1230), which would help to address high gas prices and support the creation of new American jobs by increasing offshore energy production.
The Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act (H.R. 1229) and the Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act (H.R. 1231), which would help to put thousands of Americans back to work by ending the de facto moratorium on American energy production in the Gulf of Mexico in a safe, responsible and transparent manner by setting firm timelines for considering permits to drill.
The Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011 (H.R. 2021), which would streamline the permit process for American energy production to help lower prices and create tens of thousands of new jobs.
The North American-Made Energy Security Act (H.R. 1938), which would require the federal government to make a determination by a date certain on whether or not it will allow the Keystone XL pipeline expansion, which is projected to directly create 20,000 jobs and support the creation of thousands more, to move forward.
A Budget for Fiscal Year 2012 (H.Con.Res. 34). With Washington’s failure to control spending hurting job creation in America, the House has passed its budget, while the Senate has not yet considered a budget of its own.
Sen. Jim DeMint has already said he’s unlikely to sit through Obama’s speech unless the president were to submit a written jobs plan in advance. It’s probably not a terrible idea for many other GOP senators and congressmen to take a powder as well. Because unless Obama makes noises about getting out of the way on the issues listed above, he’s not serious about growing the economy.
And after more than 2 1/2 years in office, with moribund economic performance to show for it, America has no more patience with a president intent on happily and unseriously infringing on the productive sector.