Morning Briefing: September 9, 2011

Top economic analysts are giving favorable estimates of just how many jobs President Obama’s new plan would create. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, predicts Obama’s “American Jobs Act” will likely add 1.9 million jobs and grow the economy by 2 percent. The nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute reported that it would boost employment by around 4.3 million jobs, with 2.6 million jobs coming from new initiatives alone.

Reacting to Obama’s jobs address, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said House Republicans will consider his proposal to expand a payroll tax cut for employees. “Republicans are not for allowing tax increases for anyone, we don’t believe in that,” Cantor said, adding that Obama’s payroll tax provision “will be part of the discussions going forward.”

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman offered praise for President Obama’s announced jobs legislation, calling it “ significantly bolder and better” than he expected. However, he pointed out that “nothing will be done until the American people demand action,” noting that Congress will need to be persuaded to take action on jobs.

While he didn’t yell “you lie,” Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA) broke congressional decorum last night when he quietly shilled for the oil industry with a sign reading “Drilling = jobs” during President Obama’s jobs address to a joint session of Congress. Other Republican lawmakers boycotted the speech, even though Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) urged his members to appear.


The U.S. had its hottest summer in 75 years, just 0.1 degrees behind the hottest summer record set in 1936. At 86.8 degrees average for the summer, Texas had the hottest summer ever recorded in any state. And the extreme weather does not stop with the temperatures: some states in the Northeast had their wettest summers ever, while seven other states had summers that rank among their top 10 driest ever.

The American Hospital Association (AHA) is asking its 5,000 members to lobby Congress to increase the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67. A Center for Budget and Policy Priorities report put out earlier this month found that increasing the age would significantly increase health care costs and fail to keep health care spending down.

President Obama and congressional leaders were briefed yesterday about a “specific and credible” threat to the U.S. around the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. A White House official said Obama has directed the counterterrorism community to “redouble its efforts in response,” noting the threat was also unconfirmed.

A new NYT/CBS News poll finds that “more than three in four Americans (78 percent) say it is likely that Muslims, Arab Americans and immigrants from the Middle East get unfairly singled out in the United States.”

A “civilian surge” of U.S. officials into Afghanistan has cost $1.7 billion since 2009 and will get more expensive in the future, according to an audit by the State Department. The audit did not evaluate the effectiveness of the program that sent a wave of diplomats and specialists to improve Afghan governance and encourage economic growth.


And finally: Former GOP congressman and current MSNBC host Joe Scarborough produced an anti-war song to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The song, called “Reason to Believe,” features the refrain, “In an endless war, tell me please how many more have to die before my sweet boy comes home?”

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