Saturday, February 6 , 2016, 12:38 pm | Fair 69º

Tom Donohue: Advancing the American Jobs and Growth Agenda

By Tom Donohue |

At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, we begin the new year by looking at how American business is doing, discussing the key challenges facing our economy, and identifying the top priorities we plan to work on.

Today, 23 million Americans are unemployed, underemployed or have stopped looking for work. A record 47 million people qualify for food stamps. Median family income has dropped to 1995 levels. Millions of new college graduates, many of them deeply in debt, can’t find promising positions in their fields. And at the current rate, our economy is growing too slowly to make a real difference.

As we consider these factors, economic growth can’t be an afterthought. It must be the focus. That’s why the chamber has an ambitious plan to revitalize the economy and restore the American Dream. We will advance the American Jobs and Growth Agenda to generate stronger growth, create jobs, lift incomes and expand opportunity for all Americans.

We must start by addressing the fiscal crisis — that means slowing spending, reforming entitlement programs and overhauling the tax code. Policymakers will soon face new deadlines around the debt ceiling, the sequestration budget cuts, and legislation to keep the government operating. These deadlines will mean more uncertainty for our economy, our businesses and the financial markets. Our leaders must make real progress, beginning in the areas they neglected in the fiscal cliff deal — serious spending restraint and a commitment to tax and entitlement reform.

Beyond the immediate crisis, we must embrace key opportunities to drive growth in the economy. By producing more American energy, we can add jobs, revive manufacturing, generate government revenues and improve national security. If we embrace a bold trade agenda, we can tap booming markets around the world and boost American exports.

We must also focus on policies that are holding us back. We need to address the coming flood of new regulations that will discourage job creation and stoke uncertainty. Reforming our regulatory system is vital to ensuring our competitive edge in the global economy. And by modernizing our irrational immigration system, we can continue to attract the best and brightest to our shores and ensure that we have enough workers to sustain our economy, support our population and stay competitive.

The chamber will be working on these and other critical priorities — including infrastructure, health-care reform, education and jobs training, and legal reform — throughout the year.

We ask America’s leaders to stand up and join us in these efforts to restore opportunity and prosperity in our country.

— Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The opinions expressed are his own.

» on 01.16.13 @ 01:05 PM

In almost the same breath, 23 million Americans unemployed or underemployed, and we should bring in foreign workers. Brilliant. That would further increase competition for the few jobs offered, allow yet lower pay, etc. Eventually, nobody will be able to afford anything.

Your agenda will assure us of something it took centuries to get rid of: an unproductive aristocrat class, and a miserable existence for the general population.

Kill the Bush Tax Cuts. Let them expire. The government should invest in this country’s infrastructure, health, and education. Not find new ways to make the rich even richer.

You want to create a “job creator”? Give him an incentive to hire, build critical inventory, or buy capital equipment - that’s what higher tax brackets do. Go ahead, give him a reason to take a tax deduction and simultaneously invest in his business.

Hewlett-Packard, Intel, General Electric, IBM, and Xerox were all built under highly progressive tax codes. Much more progressive than today’s.

What do you get when you un-tax the rich? Watch Downton Abbey. How nice.

» on 01.16.13 @ 01:08 PM

The biggest problem with a jobs program is that it focuses on any jobs rather than specific jobs. The government can by executive order employ 100% of all eligible workers. It can by executive order pay these workers a great salary by printing money.

To the average idiot voter in this country that sounds too good to be true, which of course it is. What we need to focus on is productive jobs, those jobs whose out put adds more value economically than they consume. Most labor jobs in mining, manufacturing and agriculture are such jobs. Of course they are hard jobs and lazy Americans, we are told, don’t like them. Jobs that provide a service may be equally hard but most services are done with the added value produced by other jobs. A typical aerospace manufacturing job adds enough surplus value to support two additional service jobs and a government job. A manufacturing job in durable goods may add one to two additional service jobs and a relative government post as well.

I give this example because if we only focus on jobs there is the serious risk of actually slowing economic growth rather than sustaining or expanding that growth. We are too simplistic in our approach to economics in this regard and that simplistic evaluation has led us to the giant ponzi scheme economy we have today where simply enriching the individual is the goal made rather than enriching the economy as a whole. This has led to a lopsided growth in such services as finance, banking, law, medicine and government rather than in those economic sectors which support these services.

Until we come to grips with what makes additional value or wealth rather than merely transferring that value, we will continue to slide into insolvency. Certainly we can sustain growth as a service economy if we are exporting more service products than we are purchasing, but we are not. As with durable goods we are a net importer of services as well as goods and this is what must stop.

Go back Tom and look at the trade agreements we have and what effect they have had on the trade balance. Those trade laws, our ever growing regulatory environment and our short sighted gambling addiction are the reasons we are in the fiscal fix we are in and all led by our lack of concern over productive versus non productive jobs.

» on 01.16.13 @ 03:19 PM

Rambler you keep getting the tax rates ass backward. An economy can afford higher tax rates because it is productive; it’s not productive because of high tax rates. Why is this so hard for you to understand?

As I stated above and in many other rants, I agree that cheer leading non productive services like finance is a loser. Infrastructure BTW is not as great an investment as you and Tom seem to think either. It does not generate the ROI other government investments do, like DARPA and NASA.

Don’t get me wrong, its necessary and we still need to do it, just like banking. But just throwing lots of tax dollars at infrastructure is not always the economic growth engine some believe it is.

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