Now the People Have Their Say
Regarding "Obama's Corporate Messaging" (In Depth, Feb. 22): I thought Obama came across as sincere about how he views his Administration's support of business. However, he misses a much bigger picture about why his Administration is viewed as anti-business. There are three big reasons why businesses, especially small and medium-size, are worried.
First, there is all the uncertainty raised from the vast legislative agendas his Administration proposes, whether it be health care, energy policy, trade, unionization, increased regulation of the financial sector, or increased OSHA, IRS, and EPA rules. How can any business plan for the future in this environment? If Obama wants to be more friendly to business, he needs to change the legislative process from one of advocating major overhauls to one of incremental improvements that can be digested by the business community.
The second issue is local, state, and federal deficit spending. While the U.S. has always been a debtor nation, we have reached the tipping point in two realms. One is the level of debt to GDP, which is at the point where most economists predict slower growth. Though we have hit this point before, mostly notably during and after World War II, that was a unique time in history where postwar growth was all but assured because the number of developed nations was much smaller. Now we are back to the same levels of debt, but in a world with a much greater number of first-world economies.
Lastly, while the Administration and Congress frequently lament the loss of manufacturing jobs to overseas countries, they have no trouble with offshoring our most basic material needs, oil and minerals. With the vast prohibitions against oil and mineral extraction, we take away a fundamental part of our economy and hand it over to others.
All these issues leave me with a view of the future that has less opportunity for us than we had in the past. If Obama truly wants to be a pro-business President, he needs to better discern the type and quantity of legislative proposals that create or diminish opportunities and risk-taking. Until then, my money is on places like Singapore, Australia, and Vietnam, which are becoming better structural models for business development than the U.S.
Arthur Leman, Harleysville, PA.
As a small business owner, I am very nervous about making key business decisions (capital investment, hiring, new product development, etc.) given the high uncertainty over the Administration's proposed tax policies: a tax on private health insurance, a bank tax (or Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee), raising top income tax rates, a value-added tax, increased Social Security taxes, taxing employer-provided health benefits, cap and trade, restoring the estate tax, raising taxes on overseas corporate earnings, an income tax surtax, and the list goes on. Mr. Obama's quote, "we are pro growth," perplexes me. The disconnect with the American people lies in the fact that his actions speak so loudly, we can't hear what he's saying.
Gary Medved, Lyndhurst, Ohio
Can you stop the Obama lovefest? How many times is his picture going to be on the cover of Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and how many more "exclusive" interviews must we read? Enough already! I thought you were business journalists, not Obama groupies.
If I want an Obama lovefest, I go to CNN. If I want business news, I go to BusinessWeek. Or at least I used to.
Calvin Miles, Boca Raton, Fla.
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