Congressman Griffith’s Weekly E-Newsletter 07.09.12
The latest jobs report is not good. In June, U.S. employers added just 80,000 jobs. About one-third of the jobs gained were in temporary help agencies. Though the above numbers will get a lot of media attention, they don’t seem to be telling the whole story. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the percentage of American people who had jobs when Barack Obama took office was 65.7 percent. Today that number is 63.8 percent.
We have now reached 41 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent - the longest streak since the Great Depression. Despite the rhetoric from President Obama, I think it is abundantly clear that the economy is not moving forward. At best it appears to be at a virtual stand-still. Just last month the Federal Reserve downgraded its economic outlook for 2012. It predicted growth of just 1.9 percent to 2.4 percent for the year and the unemployment rate is expected to change only slightly. By comparison, though much of the world is experiencing a slow down, China’s economy is still growing at about 7.5-8 percent. As your Congressman, I’m not satisfied to have the Chinese economy growing at about three times the rate of ours. [To get a better idea of why our current policy is not working, I recommend this historical account of past economic recoveries by Stanford Professor Ed Lazear.]
As many economists have argued, there are things that we can do immediately to turn this economy around. First, we need to unleash our energy potential – as I’ve said for some time, we need to drill, dig, discover, and deregulate. Second, we need to overhaul our tax code – make it simple, competitive, and efficient. Third, we need to drastically reduce the regulatory burdens on our businesses so they can expand and compete in the global market. Fourth, we need to return to the policies of the 90s – we must cut spending.
American workers are the best in the world. We are the most innovative, and we will work harder than anybody else. I firmly believe that we can kick start this economy immediately. It is time to put aside the veto threats and the rhetoric. The American people need change now.
House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee to Hold Hearing in Abingdon, VA
On Monday, July 16, 2012, the Subcommittee on Energy and Power is scheduled to hold a field hearing (open to the public) at 9:00 a.m. at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, One Partnership Circle, Abingdon, Virginia 24210. The hearing is a continuation of the American Energy Initiative. It will highlight the EPA’s proposed Greenhouse Gas New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for utilities and the impact this regulation will have on jobs. The subcommittee will hear local perspectives on the EPA’s NSPS for power plants and potential impacts on jobs and energy production in Southwest Virginia. The Majority Memorandum, a witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted.
The Passing of Ernest Borgnine
Actor Ernest Borgnine died on Sunday, July 8, at the age of 95. Borgnine may not have been born in the Ninth District, but we still considered him one of our own. It was Borgnine’s mother who suggested he could be suitable for a career in acting, so he enrolled at the Randall School of Drama in Hartford. Upon completing the course he joined the famous Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia. For the next four years he stayed at Barter, undertaking odd jobs and playing every type of role imaginable. In 1949, he got his big break when he made his acting debut on Broadway playing a male nurse in "Harvey." In 1955, Borgnine won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as Marty Piletti, a shy and sensitive butcher, in the film “Marty.” Borgnine beat out Spencer Tracy, Frank Sinatra, James Dean, and James Cagney. Though Borgnine went on to play dozens of notable characters for the next 50 plus years, the people of the Ninth will always remember him as a man who got his start in Abingdon, Virginia.
As always, if you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my offices. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov.