President Obama went into the lion’s den last night. Speaking to the US Chamber of Commerce he urged business leaders to hire more Americans and invest in America. Based on the less than enthusiastic response of his audience, the President still has a ways to go to win them over.
To say that the Chamber has not been a friend to the President is an understatement. The Chamber aggressively lobbied against the President’s health care legislation and financial reform initiatives and spent over $32 million dollars in campaign ads against Democrats in the 2010 elections. They argued that he was anti-business and that his economic policies were particular hard on small businesses. They point to a sluggish economy and nagging unemployment as validation for their beliefs.
Tough crowd! And one that has unfortunately been misinformed by the spin doctors on the right. The fact is that Obama has done everything in his power to promote the interests of the American businessperson. He has been pro-business since day one.
People tend to forget that when Obama took office the American economy was like a Manhattan train wreck at rush hour. The economy was in a freefall, major banks were closing and the automobile industry was on the verge of collapse. The situation forced the President to take actions that he would have not otherwise taken had the economy been healthy.
By authorizing the second installment of the Bush Bank bailout he stabilized the banking industry allowing credit to flow. Imagine the effects on American business if he would have allowed the banks to fail. How would businesses operate without the ability to finance their operations?
He bailed out the auto industry. Imagine the effects on American business if he would have allowed this major industry to fail, closing thousands of small business suppliers forcing 3 million more people into the unemployment lines.
He authorized the stimulus package which poured hundreds of billions of dollars into the sagging economy and funded tens of thousands of projects for American businesses. Imagine the effects on American business if he would have allowed the economy to go into a depression.
He negotiated a favorable trade agreement with South Korea paving the way for increased commerce between our two countries.
In spite of being falsely hailed as another tax and spend liberal, Obama has reduced taxes. According to the Congressional Budget Office Americans will pay less in taxes this year than any previous year since 1950. For the third straight year Americans will pay less in taxes than they did under former President George W. Bush. And corporate taxes in 2011 will be 33.3 percent lower than 2008.
As a result of his efforts the economy is no longer in freefall but growing. The stock market is rising and unemployment is steadily decreasing. The only thing holding the economy back is the unwillingness of the business community to unleash the $2-$3 trillion dollars they have sitting on their balance sheets.
This President has done everything he can under extraordinary circumstances to right this economy. He has done his part. It is time for the American business community to do theirs.