Business Leadership

09/11/2017 09:32 am ET

The Need For Business Leadership – by Jerry Jasinowski

Recent actions by President Trump make it abundantly clear that the business community must stand up for sensible economic policies that the country needs. The President has ricocheted from taking negative actions to others that are simply difficult to understand. The President also is becoming increasingly isolated from his own party, which undermines their efforts to forge a coherent program to improve economic growth.

The list of negative actions recently taken by the President include unilaterally withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, undermining NAFTA, rescinding DACA immigration, failing to replace and reform Obamacare, and not outlining a tax reform proposal that makes sense. Most critically, the President has failed to lay out a set of economic priorities that are doable and would increase productivity and economic growth.

While the President’s move toward bipartisanship is welcome, his abrupt deal with Schumer and Pelosi for a three month debt ceiling extension makes no sense in terms of policy and undermines his working relationship with Republican leaders in both the Senate and House. It seems clear he was determined he was determined to have a deal – any deal – but did not consider the ramifications of his action. Extending the debt ceiling until the end of the year will undermine the tax reform campaign in part because he has alienated the Congressional Republican leadership, but more importantly because it jams everything into the end of the year’s legislative calendar. There will not be sufficient time to get tax reform done.

It becomes increasingly clear that the President does not have an economic program that makes sense and he has left Congressional Republican leadership floundering in confusion. Now is the time for business leadership at the corporate and association level to band together behind a bipartisan agenda for economic growth. Growth can heal many of the country’s divisions. Issues such as immigration, tax reform and trade can be folded into that envelope. Bipartisan support would ensure that it is enacted. Working with leading academic and business leaders, I have pulled together the following productivity and economic growth agenda:

· Empower and reward employees

· Improve education and worker training

· Encourage intelligent immigration

· Encourage entrepreneurship and small business expansion

· Cost effective health care reform

· Increase investment in technology and innovation

· Champion manufacturing and exports

· Reform taxes to advance productivity

· Invest more in infrastructure

· Make government more efficient

Jerry Jasinowski, an economist and author, served as President of the National Association of Manufacturers for 14 years and later the Manufacturing Institute. Jerry is available for speaking engagements. September 2017

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