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Tuesday, January 22 , 2019, 11:47 am | Fair 60º


Tom Donohue: It’s Time to Stop Selling America Short

Instead of wallowing, let's embrace our can-do spirit and focus on our country's many strengths

With our credit downgraded, stock prices falling, economic recovery sputtering and hope running out for millions of unemployed workers, this may seem like an unusual time to talk about America’s strengths. In fact, it’s the best time. Wallowing in self-doubt will get us nowhere. By harnessing our extraordinary advantages, we can create new growth, jobs and opportunities for Americans.

We’ve got a highly productive manufacturing sector poised for expansion and new hiring. Our competitors’ costs are rising. With the right tax, labor and regulatory policies, we can enjoy a manufacturing renaissance few dared to imagine a short time ago.

Domestic energy production will fuel this renaissance. We have bountiful supplies of natural resources to use at home and sell around the world.

We’re home to vast agricultural lands of unmatched potential. Our farms can feed a hungry world, creating businesses and jobs across industries throughout America.

We still have one of the best end-to-end infrastructure systems in the world. With smart investments and upgrades, we can create hundreds of thousands of jobs while spurring growth and improving our quality of life.

With positive demographics and a continued commitment to openness and individual opportunity, our country will have a constant supply of the hardest workers, smartest innovators and most adventuresome entrepreneurs. This will keep our high-tech industries, our universities, our tourism destinations and our health-care sector vibrant and on the cutting edge.

There’s plenty to criticize when it comes to our laws, politics and government. Some in the global community have recently piled on the criticism. But who would trade our system for theirs? A strong rule of law, low levels of corruption, and a commitment to open debate and equal treatment are significant advantages, too.

These and other attributes comprise America’s “secret sauce” that will continue to sustain the most successful economy on Earth. That’s why people, rich and poor, are still beating a path to our shores. This is most evident in times of crisis. Investors habitually seek safe haven here. They are doing so to this very day.

I’m not suggesting that we try to paint a happy face on today’s lousy circumstances. We’ve got big problems to fix. We must grow our economy, limit the appetite of our government, put the American entrepreneur back in the driver’s seat, and take short- and long-term steps to create American jobs.

But let’s stop selling America short. There’s no faster way to crush America’s can-do spirit than by throwing up our hands and saying we can’t.

— Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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