Published: October 30, 2013
Washington, DC – With Washington gridlocked and the U.S. growth rate stuck in neutral, Business Roundtable President John Engler called for Washington to act on critical economic and job creation policies in a pair of keynote speeches in Chicago and Detroit this week. Engler told business and civic leaders in both cities that America’s leaders must tackle comprehensive tax reform, immigration reform, energy development and trade agreements to get America back on track toward 4 percent annual economic growth.
At the Chicago Council on Global Affairs on Tuesday, Oct. 29, Engler said:
“Above all, the United States – and the world – needs stronger economic growth. To achieve that growth, our nation’s leaders must … move forward in such areas as energy development and tax reform. And, we must avoid the kind of fiscal and political failings we recently saw in Washington.
“For elected officials at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue: If America wants to be one of the world’s economic leaders, and if America wants its opinions respected, then America’s elected officials must act more responsibly. …
“[T]he United States remains stuck with a growth rate about half of what might be normal coming out of the kind of deep recession we encountered in 2008 and 2009. GDP growth of 4 percent instead of the current 2 percent growth would go a long way in fixing the problems our country faces. … Even a 1 percent increase in GDP would mean $3.5 trillion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years. …
“Passing immigration reform would also be helpful because of the creation of a modernized employee verification system. Such a system would reduce the role played in our economy by those who are in the country illegally.”
At the Business Leaders of Michigan CEO Summit today, he said:
“The case for modernizing our system of corporate taxation is powerful. The United States today has the highest business tax rate of any OECD country, making it difficult to compete in global markets. …
“America – and the world – would be well-served by the United States adopting a system that encourages a more rational investment pattern by U.S. companies. Let them bring money home, invest it here and drive global economic growth.
“Trade is another area where America has just not made enough progress. We’re getting beat to the punch. …
“Canada and Mexico have … joined in [an] important trade negotiation that’s under way – the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. The 11 other TPP countries represent critical markets for U.S. goods and services exports. They account for a combined population of 482 million people and represent roughly 15 percent of global trade. In 2011, our exports to these countries supported an estimated 14.9 million American jobs.
“The United States recently surpassed Russia as the number one oil and gas producing nation in the world. New shale gas resources in states like Pennsylvania and Texas have brought stability to once volatile natural gas prices. …
“The next, immediate step in that integration is U.S. approval of the Keystone XL pipeline to bring Alberta oil south to U.S. refineries.
“I believe that the United States is well-equipped to lead the world in an economic revival, but for that to happen, they must meet, work and compromise. In Washington, ‘playing to win’ should mean bipartisan cooperation, action and leadership.”
Click here to read Engler’s Chicago speech.
Click here to read Engler’s Detroit speech.
Business Roundtable (BRT) is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies with $7.4 trillion in annual revenues and more than 16 million employees. BRT member companies comprise more than a third of the total value of the U.S. stock market and invest $158 billion annually in research and development – equal to 62 percent of U.S. private R&D spending. Our companies pay more than $200 billion in dividends to shareholders and generate more than $540 billion in sales for small and medium-sized businesses annually.
BRT companies give more than $9 billion a year in combined charitable contributions.