The Administration and Business

Oct 4, 2010

by Pat Cleary
Interesting opinion piece and accompanying article in The Economist about the running debate playing out in Washington these days, i.e., the relative friendliness or unfriendliness of the Administration toward business.

The article begins by noting that, "Winston Churchill once moaned about the long, dishonourable tradition in politics that sees commerce as a cow to be milked or a dangerous tiger to be shot."

The Economist observes --correctly - that, "Businesses are the generators of the wealth on which incomes, taxation and all else depends; 'the strong horse that pulls the whole cart', as Churchill put it.  No sane leader of a country," they observe, "would want businesspeople to think that he was against them, especially at a time when confidence is essential for the recovery." They then go on to highlight the issue that is bedeviling businesses large and small nationwide: "The main thing that is hurting business," they say, "is uncertainty." They go on to elaborate:

"Why, for instance, should a small American firm hire more people when it still does not know the regulations on health care, especially when going above 50 workers will make it liable to insurance premiums or fines? Fiscal policy is even more uncertain, thanks to [the Administration's] refusal to produce a credible plan to rein in the deficit. Why should any entrepreneur plough money into a new factory when he has no idea what taxes he will eventually be asked to pay? These are questions that business needs answering in a businesslike way--and so does America. Otherwise," they conclude, channeling Churchill, "the horse will not pull the cart."

All of this comes as no surprise to anyone trying to meet a payroll in America today, but it inexplicably remains a debatable point to those unfamiliar with the world of business.

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