Economy & Budget

On-the-job training helps unemployed workers obtain new skills, find and keep jobs (Sen. Jeanne Shaheen)

Earlier this week, Senator Cochran and I introduced legislation that has the potential to make a big difference in the lives of the countless Americans who have struggled to find work in this challenging economic climate.  Our bill, the On-the-Job Training Act of 2010, expands and strengthens on-the-job training (OJT) programs by authorizing the Department of Labor to award grants to support local training programs.

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New tax could 'carry' over hard times in real estate

Congress is seriously considering raising taxes on real estate at the exact moment that real estate is headed toward recovery. Now is not the time to hit real estate because it is so important to the economy, jobs and the banking system.

In a desperate search of revenue to pay for new government spending, the House last week passed an “Extender Package” that included a “carried interest” provision that would more than double the tax rate on a broad range of commercial and multi-family real estate owners of all sizes and property types.

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Why a VAT is no solution to our budget woes (Rep. Joe Pitts, Rep. Jim Gerlach)

If you walk into an Apple store in the United States you can walk out with a brand new iPod for around $212. If you purchase from the same retailer in England, you can expect to pay the equivalent of $230. Why the difference? Much of this disparity is because of a value-added tax paid on manufactured products in Britain.

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Skepticism grows along with the national debt (Sen. Mitch McConnell)

As a nation, our focus continues to be on the disaster in the Gulf. This is a national tragedy the full dimensions of which we still do not know. But one thing is clear: the top priority at this point — as it should have been from the start — is to stop this leak.

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Invest in the nation’s small businesses (Sen. Olympia Snowe)

Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) in a letter, urged President Barack Obama to invest in the nation’s small businesses to grow the economy and create new private sector jobs on June 4, 2010. Senator Snowe has introduced legislation, S. 3103, the Small Business Job Creation Act of 2010, that includes vital provisions to help small businesses create new jobs.

This is the text of the letter:

Dear Mr. President,

News that the unemployment rate dropped from 9.9 percent to 9.7 percent, while a step in the right direction, provides little reassurance to the 15 million Americans still searching for work. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted in its Employment Situation Summary, “Private-sector employment changed little,” adding just 41,000 jobs in the month of May. Meanwhile, of last month’s 431,000 new jobs, 411,000 represent temporary census takers, whose employment will end within the next several months and who will then be placed back into the untenable and uncertain job market.

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Job gains welcome, but influx of Census workers distorts true jobs picture

Positive job growth in May is an encouraging sign, but it is disappointing that nearly all of those gains are temporary, taxpayer-funded government jobs through the U.S. Census. Stagnant private sector job growth is clearly cause for concern and evidence of the struggles small businesses continue to face. A jobless recovery is not what the American people were promised.

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Hoyer statement on May jobs report

While the majority of jobs created in May were due to Census hiring, it is an encouraging sign for our economic recovery that the private sector created jobs as well. May was the fifth straight month of job growth, a significant turnaround for an economy that was shedding an average of nearly 800,000 jobs per month at the end of the Bush Administration. In addition, the number of full-time workers increased for the fourth month in a row, while fewer Americans were working part-time for economic reasons.

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Rebuilding and revitalizing America's rural communities

Over the course of the past year as United States Secretary of Agriculture I had the opportunity to lead President Obama’s rural tour, visiting dozens of communities in 20 states – often alongside other cabinet members – in an effort to learn about what we can do as a nation to help strengthen rural America.  

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Friday's job numbers, and what they won't tell us about America's growing anxious class

Last year was a fabulous one for entrepreneurs, at least according to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity released last month by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. "Rather than making history for its deep recession and record unemployment," the foundation reported, "2009 might instead be remembered as the year business startups reached their highest level in 14 years -- even exceeding the number of startups during the peak 1999-2000 technology boom."

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Getting it right on consumer protection (Rep. Rush Holt)

Now that the Senate has passed its version of financial regulatory reform and we head to Conference, it’s vital that House leaders insist on the strongest possible consumer protections and reject a watered down version.

The 2008 economic meltdown had some roots in consumer finance. Financial lenders steered families into mortgages they could not afford to repay, steered them into subprime loans, then packaged those loans and sold them to investors in the securities market. Credit card companies used unfair and deceptive practices to exacerbate nearly $1 trillion in nationwide credit card debt.

The financial meltdown has much of its origin in lax consumer regulation and consumer abuse.  Financial lenders steered families into mortgages they could not afford to repay, offering only subprime loans to some who qualified for prime loans and then packaging those loans and selling them to investors on the securities market. Additionally, credit card companies used unfair and deceptive practices to exacerbate nearly $1 trillion in nationwide credit card debt.

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