Letter to President Obama in Support of the Jobs Summit
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The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
On behalf of the many members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce throughout the country, I would like to lend our enthusiastic support to this week's White House jobs forum. No issue is more important to the American people right now than renewing our country's economic prosperity. We must have a laser focus on creating the jobs Americans want and need.
Over the next decade, our economy must create more than 20 million new jobs to replace those lost in this recession and keep up with our growing population. While government can help support some jobs in the short run, the only way to meet this challenge over the long term is through a vibrant and dynamic free enterprise system, which has created more jobs than any other system in history.
The Chamber stands ready to help. Through our "Dream Big" free enterprise campaign, we are asking citizens and leaders to embrace the free enterprise principles that created the world's greatest economy and can lead us back to prosperity. America's workers, entrepreneurs, and companies are the best in the world. They can outwork, outthink, and outproduce anyone if they have the freedom to pursue their dreams and if government policies encourage and reward their success.
In your deliberations this week, we urge you to focus special attention on the following goals and initiatives:
Double U.S. Exports in Five Years.
Ninety-five percent of the potential consumers of American goods and services live outside the United States. We can create millions of good American jobs by pursuing the achievable goal of doubling our exports to those consumers in five years-and then doing it again. To succeed, we must enact pending trade pacts, pursue new commercial arrangements in emerging economies, modernize export controls, insist on fair treatment in foreign markets, help smaller firms export, and lead the global community to a robust Doha agreement.
Unleash Private and Public Infrastructure Investment.
We have an extraordinary opportunity to modernize the economic platform of our nation and reemploy many jobless Americans by expanding both private and public sector investments in our transportation, energy, water, and broadband systems. The private sector is prepared to pour billions of dollars into new infrastructure projects if the government would clear away many of the costly, time-consuming regulatory, legal, and financial impediments.
Promote Healthy Credit Markets.
We urgently need to find ways to ensure that businesses, especially small businesses, can get the credit they need to expand and create jobs. For generations, America has been better than any other country at connecting an investor and a person with a new idea. We must overhaul our financial regulatory system with intelligent regulations while avoiding harmful new rules that will hinder innovation and job creation. We must also recognize that current policy deliberations in Washington are adding to the uncertainty that inhibits financial institutions from lending and businesses from investing.
Restore Fiscal Responsibility.
We strongly agree with your recent warning, "If we keep on adding to the debt, even in the midst of this recovery, that at some point, people could lose confidence in the U.S. economy in a way that could actually lead to a double-dip recession." Projected budget deficits are clearly unsustainable and could drain capital markets of funds that are badly needed for innovation, new business startups, and other job-creating investments. We must restrain the growth of government and take major steps to reduce projected deficits.
Advance Pro-Growth Tax and Regulatory Policies.
Under current plans, American entrepreneurs will see their taxes rise well beyond today's high rates. Unless Congress acts, a wide range of further automatic tax hikes will take place at the end of next year. We must begin retooling the tax code to reward achievement, encourage investment, and compete globally. As you address the many important challenges facing our country, we hope that your administration will continually evaluate the cumulative impact of both current and newly proposed regulations and mandates on the private sector. If we are not careful, the combined burden of such requirements could not only damage new job creation but also jeopardize existing jobs.
Reduce Excessive Litigation.
Companies of all sizes tell us that excessive litigation costs are sucking the vitality out of American enterprise, inhibiting job creation and retention. We must strive for a legal system that affords justice to genuine victims without undermining American competitiveness.
Better Educate and Train Americans for 21st Century Jobs.
Creating new jobs is not enough. We must have adequately trained workers to fill those jobs. Nearly a third of American students fail to graduate from high school, and those who do are often ill-prepared for college or jobs in the modern economy. It is time to refocus on the basics of learning while reforming our training programs so that they prepare workers for jobs that are actually going to exist. We must change the way we train our teachers, strengthen standards and accountability in the classroom, and encourage a spirit of innovation throughout our education system.
We approach this jobs challenge with our sleeves rolled up, not our hands held out. We are not asking what our country can do for us. We are suggesting what American business can and must do to meet its responsibilities to the American people-to create good jobs and responsibly grow our economy. We commend you for your leadership and look forward to working with you to meet America's jobs challenge.
Thomas J. Donohue