Chamber of Commerce CEO Offers Prescriptions to Fix Ailing U.S. Economy
Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas J. Donohue prescribes five ways to revive the nation’s sagging economy.
What will it take to create more jobs? For businesses, it means more customers and more certainty. Both are lacking right now, but with smart policies we can rev up America’s job-creating engine quickly and employ millions of workers. How do we do it?
While our economy is lagging at home, many nations around the world are growing rapidly. More than nine out of 10 of the world’s consumers live outside the United States, and they are all potential customers. Let’s sell them great American products and services! We can start by passing the three pending free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. That will save 380,000 American jobs that would otherwise go to our competitors and create hundreds of thousands of new ones. We can create thousands of additional jobs by completing export-control forms, spurring exports to Europe and Asia, and protecting intellectual property through patent reform and shutting down rogue websites.
It’s also time to welcome tourists and business travelers to our shores again. By simply restoring our country’s share of the global travel market to levels we haven’t seen since 2000, we could create 1.3 million jobs. Yet that won’t happen until we reduce the visa, airport, and other hassles that are driving away tourists, businesspeople, students, and meetings and conventions. We need to put the welcome mat back out and more vigorously promote the United States as the best travel destination in the world.
We can create literally hundreds of thousands of new jobs by responsibly developing the nation’s abundant energy resources on our lands and off our coasts. We can also create jobs by building more energy infrastructure, such as the Keystone XL pipeline connecting oil in Alberta, Canada, to U.S. refineries in Texas. This project alone would support 250,000 jobs.
We can increase certainty and confidence by easing the regulatory burdens facing businesses. The president should halt any new discretionary regulations, just as he did with the proposed ozone rules, which would have cost up to $90 billion a year. By streamlining the permitting process, the administration could quickly mobilize economic activity, construction, and hiring from one end of our country to the other.
It’s also time to upgrade our infrastructure, the physical platform of our entire economy. Congress should pass a multiyear highway bill, FAA reauthorization bill, and a water bill so states and communities can confidently plan projects, hire employees, and prevent layoffs. That would create hundreds of thousands of jobs, put idle construction workers back to work, and enhance our nation’s competitiveness.
Our job creators would also benefit from fundamental tax reform that would simplify and flatten our Byzantine tax code. In the meantime, we can take some common-sense steps to encourage investment and job creation right now. Allowing companies doing business overseas to “repatriate” their profits at a reduced tax rate could bring up to $1 trillion back to America. Temporarily reducing the capital-gains tax rate would also free up cash for hiring and investment.
Given the right policies, American businesses will create millions of new jobs. Let’s get started!