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Business Roundtable (BRT) is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies working to promote sound public policy and a thriving U.S. economy.

Listen to the full press conference here.

Washington – Business Roundtable (BRT), an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies, today released, “It’s Time to Act for America’s Future: 2013 CEO Growth Agenda,” detailing specific policy recommendations to revive the economy in the near term and ensure higher levels of growth and job creation over the long term.

“America’s CEOs are proposing meaningful steps to control the federal debt and put America on a path to robust growth,” said BRT President John Engler. “Washington faces immediate pressure to act on issues like the debt ceiling, sequestration and expiring short-term spending bill. Still, we have to do more than lurch from one crisis to another. We need action that achieves long-term growth.”

The recommendations released today are centered on two core principles:

  • Stabilize and eventually reduce the federal debt relative to the size of the economy by boosting economic growth and reducing fiscal deficits through, among other steps, comprehensive tax reform and entitlement modernization.
  • Unlock private sector investment and job creation through policy measures that capitalize on America’s strengths by opening markets for international trade and investment; realizing the promise of affordable, abundant energy; promoting smart regulations; reforming the housing finance system; and implementing more effective cybersecurity protections.

Specific recommendations in BRT’s “2013 CEO Growth Agenda” include:
Modernize and simplify the tax code by establishing:

  • A competitive corporate tax rate comparable to the average of countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The cost of these reforms should be offset as much as possible through broadening of the tax base; and
  • A competitive territorial tax system similar to those of other developed nations.

Modernize and reform Social Security and Medicare programs, including by:

  • Increasing the Social Security retirement age from 67 to 70 for those Americans currently younger than 55; and
  • Expanding competitive models of care for Medicare recipients by allowing beneficiaries to choose between Medicare’s traditional fee-for-service plan and private plans that would compete for enrollees on the basis of cost, quality and a more innovative benefit structure.
  • Enact comprehensive immigration reform so the U.S. workforce remains globally competitive. Such reform would attract the workers needed across many economic sectors, including hospitality, construction, agriculture and high-tech.
  • Promote a skilled workforce by stressing education in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), implementing the Common Core Standards and streamlining workforce training programs.
  • Streamline the federal regulatory process and expedite federal permitting for major industrial and infrastructure projects.

Reform the U.S. housing finance system to:

  • Encourage private lending and investment; and
  • Reform the Government-Sponsored Enterprises.

Take full advantage of America’s opportunity to achieve energy self-sufficiency through accelerated development of a more diverse portfolio of reliable, affordable energy resources and efficient energy use.

“The United States still enjoys enormous strengths we can build on,” Engler said. “If Congress and the Administration embrace growth, we stand poised to not only revive the U.S. economy but to lead a global recovery.”

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