Published: October 15, 2012
Detroit – The failure of Washington leaders to act on major economic and fiscal issues has created serious uncertainty for U.S. business, contributing to the halting economic recovery, Business Roundtable (BRT) President John Engler said today in a major policy speech before the Detroit Economic Club.
Engler urged policymakers in Washington to take action this year on expiring tax provisions, the looming “fiscal cliff” and the debt ceiling. The former three-term governor also detailed the policies that BRT CEOs believe Congress and the White House must enact to ensure U.S. economic growth and job creation.
“Washington has failed to deliver. GDP growth is mired below 2 percent – a level too low to support sustained hiring, a level too low to restore hope to those who have left the workforce.
Today, a record number of Americans are on food stamps. Unemployment topped 8 percent for 44 straight months until a slight drop in September,” Engler said. “Washington’s failure to work together to address our economic problems – or even do the routine business of government – has created uncertainty and chilled business investment and hiring.”
Engler cited the results of BRT’s recently released Q3 CEO Economic Outlook Survey, which showed the third largest drop in 10 years in CEO expectations for hiring, capital investment and sales.
“Those results reflect the uncertainties these leaders feel about the future,” he said.
Engler emphasized three policy priorities on which BRT CEOs believe Congress and the President must act in the post-election “lame-duck” session of Congress: extending expired and soon-to-expire tax provisions; preventing automatic spending cuts through sequestration; and addressing the debt ceiling.
“If we can finish just these items, the real challenges will still be waiting,” Engler said. “They are the long-term threats to our nation’s fiscal and economic health: uncontrollable entitlement spending, an uncompetitive tax system and unsustainable levels of debt fueled by trillion-dollar annual deficits.”
Highlighting BRT’s Taking Action for America: A CEO Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth released in March, Engler said the plan’s key recommendations will put the nation back on a path to sustained economic growth and global competitiveness. Those recommendations include corporate tax reform, streamlining permitting and curbing regulations, increasing energy development, expanding trade and improving education.
“Economic growth and prosperity can return and lift the spirits of our people. It will take leadership, the right policies, and it will take action,” Engler concluded.
Click here to read Engler’s prepared remarks.
Business Roundtable (BRT) is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies with more than $7.3 trillion in annual revenues and nearly 16 million employees. BRT member companies comprise nearly a third of the total value of the U.S. stock market and invest more than $150 billion annually in research and development – equal to 61 percent of U.S. private R&D spending. Our companies pay $182 billion in dividends to shareholders and generate nearly $500 billion in sales for small and medium-sized businesses annually.
BRT companies give more than $9 billion a year in combined charitable contributions.