Job Creation Depends on American Free Enterprise
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By Tom Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
October 20, 2009
With the economy slowly returning to form, we must now focus on a new challenge--putting America back to work. It won't be easy--unemployment is at its highest level in more than 25 years. We must create 20 million new jobs over the next decade simply to put the unemployed back to work and to keep up with a growing population. There's only one system that's proven capable of meeting this goal--American free enterprise.
Economic renewal will begin where it always does--with entrepreneurs and America's 29.6 million small businesses. These everyday heroes are unparalleled in their ability to create jobs, spur local development, and bring new products and services to market. Over the past 15 years, small businesses created almost two-thirds of new jobs and, given the right business environment, can deliver big for Americans once again.
But free enterprise is about more than just a small startup or the biggest corporation. It's a powerful idea that is inseparable from the American Dream. Free enterprise offers the opportunity to dream big--and to turn that dream into a reality.
We'll never claim that free enterprise is a perfect system. But while it has its faults, free enterprise has done more to improve the human condition than any other system ever devised. With significant challenges--including energy and health care--ahead of us, we must take advantage of the power of free enterprise to harness human talent. Nothing less than our economic competitiveness is at stake.
That's why the U.S. Chamber is embarking on one of the most important initiatives in its nearly 100-year history. Last week, we launched the American Free Enterprise. Dream Big. campaign. The goal of this comprehensive and sustained program is to remind, educate, and persuade our fellow citizens and leaders that the free enterprise values of individual initiative, hard work, freedom of choice, and the free exchange of trade, capital, and ideas that built this great country can lead us back to prosperity.
This campaign isn't about partisan politics--it's about preserving the American Dream for this and future generations through low taxation, reasonable regulations, a doubling of American exports, and free and vibrant capital markets.
Washington, by taking the steps necessary to avoid a new Great Depression, has done its part. Now, it's time for government to assume its traditional, limited role. Economic growth and recovery will come from the bottom up, not from Washington down. It's up to the American people--all 300 million of us--to outwork, outthink, and outdream our competitors. Our work begins anew.