President Obama announced an executive order in the Wall Street Journal not long ago to revisit our regulatory agencies to make sure that they promote economic growth and other public values in the areas of safety, health, and the environment. The point was widely misunderstood as an attempt to cozy up with business.
Instead, the idea is for government agencies to stop coaching from the sidelines. Government must coalesce today's unruly combatants -- progressives and teapartiers, liberals and conservatives -- into a team. This means inspiring an appreciation among members of the team of the value that our combatants in other venues bring to the table.
Nonetheless, Thursday's release of preliminary progress in carrying forth this directive makes clear that much more work must be done. We can not cut our way to prosperity, be it regulations or taxes.
Our deficit isn't going anywhere any time soon. We must learn how to move away from a vision of shared sacrifice to one of shared prosperity. This means de-levering our public balance sheet while catalyzing much greater private investment into our real economy.
We will not grow our economy and produce the needed jobs if we continue to fight over slices of a shrinking pie. Enormous sums of private capital sit on the sidelines, or our recovery in the bank accounts of pension funds, Asian sovereign funds, petrodollar funds, equity funds, and hedge funds.
The most pressing challenge of regulatory reform is to modernize our federal agencies so that they can bring this money to bear on our enormous challenges. We face an astounding shortfall in nearly every area essential for an emerging economy, oil and gas, transportation, water, clean energy, metals and minerals, manufacturing, agriculture, etc.
Today, we would rather bicker amongst ourselves than find ways of working together as a team to open up the economy, and rapidly grow our pie. As a result, we find ourselves embracing a no-jobs in our back yard philosophy.
Yesterday, I released a Guide -- Partnership Projects: Government as Player/Coach -- for federal agencies and key stakeholders to understand the challenge faced as well as a nuts-and-bolts approach to moving forward, including the proposed bipartisan American Infrastructure Bank introduced by Senators Kerry (D-MA), Hutchison (R-TX), Graham (R-SC), and Warner (D-VA).