In this time of transition for our country, the business community is optimistic about the year ahead—and realistic about the hard work required to make that optimism a reality. We’re optimistic because we see a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enact major reforms that could transition America from a low-growth to a high-growth economy, creating millions of new jobs and benefiting every American. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s priority for 2017 is to advance the policies and reforms required to foster this dynamic economic growth.
We are focusing on growth because it’s good for everyone. It’s good for Democrats and Republicans, businesses large and small, workers at every wage level, and for a government in desperate need of more revenue to fund its programs and pay down its debt. It’s the unifying goal our nation needs after a divisive political season.
The decisions policymakers face often come down to a choice between growth and some other priority. Too often in recent years our leaders have chosen against growth. The effects are clear. Today we remain mired in the slowest economic recovery since the 1940s, with annual growth rates hovering around 1% to 2%. These rates will never be enough to create jobs for the millions of unemployed or underemployed Americans, fuel a badly needed resurgence in business startups, or support a stable social safety net for an aging society.
The Chamber’s message to policymakers and incoming leaders is simple: Choose growth. Judge each proposal on the basis of whether it will speed or impede the expansion of our economy. And all our leaders must keep in mind the true stakes of their choices. A growing economy is not just about numbers; it’s about people. Americans are united by the common desire to leave their children with a better life than the one they were born into. But that sort of upward mobility—the basis of the American Dream—cannot be achieved in a stagnant, shrinking, or sluggish economy.
I will be detailing the Chamber’s growth agenda in the annual State of American Business speech this week. I will also outline some of the specific policy proposals discussed in the speech in next week’s column. Throughout the year, the Chamber will continue to call on our leaders in government and business to join in uniting our country around the common cause of stronger, faster, and more broadly shared economic growth for all.
THOMAS J. DONOHUE
President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce