U.S. Chamber President: Debt Is Greatest Threat
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Despite some improvement in business conditions in 2012, the U.S. economy is simply not growing fast enough to create jobs, lift incomes, expand opportunities, or contribute significantly to government revenues in order to reduce trillion dollar deficits, U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue told a packed audience during his annual State of American Business address.
The exploding national debt, driven by runaway deficit spending, changing demographics, and unsustainable entitlements is the single biggest threat to the nation’s economic future, Donohue said in the January 10 speech at the U.S. Chamber’s headquarters. The speech was also broadcast across the country via a live webcast.
“We have no illusions that putting our country on a sound and responsible fiscal course will be easy. Our government is divided and conflicted because the American people are divided and conflicted. But we cannot ignore this crisis any longer. Nor can our leaders,” said Donohue.
On growth, Donohue said: “Every bill that is considered, every regulation that is written, every negotiation that is held -- everything our elected and appointed officials do or say -- must be shaped in large part by these simple questions: What does it mean for economic growth? What does it mean for jobs?”
Donohue unveiled the Chamber’s 2013 American Jobs and Growth Agenda, which includes:
1) Reducing deficits and debt by tackling runaway spending and reforming entitlements and the tax code.
2) Developing more American energy, which can help address the nation's fiscal problems and also create millions of jobs while making the country more secure.
3) Expanding American trade, two-way investment, and tourism through an ambitious agenda to open international markets and reduce commercial barriers at home and abroad.
4) Reforming the regulatory process to ease the burden of all the new capital markets, health care, environmental, labor, and other rules pouring through the pipeline.
5) Enacting comprehensive immigration reform to ensure that our economy is supplied with able workers at all skill levels.
“America needs big solutions so it’s time to put the smallness of politics aside. We call upon all of America’s leaders in and out of government to put country first," Donohue said.
Following the speech, Donohue and Executive Vice President Bruce Josten held a press conference that was covered by over 100 reporters, bloggers, and media organizations, including nine television cameras. Josten and Donohue fielded questions on trade, immigration, health care, and the appointment of Jack Lew as Treasury Secretary.
Donohue is reinforcing his message and the American Jobs and Growth Agenda in a slew of television interviews and appearances, including Fox Business’ Markets Now, CNBC’s Closing Bell, PBS’ Nightly Business Report and Bloomberg TV’s Capital Gains. He kicked off his media blitz with an appearance on Fox News' Bret Baier the night before his speech.
Watch select highlights of Donohue’s speech below. Click here to watch or read Donohue’s entire speech.