The economy has stalled, and stimulus measures do not seem to help. Unemployment numbers have not been encouraging and consumers are reluctant to spend. Many companies have become profitable as a result of increased productivity resulting from layoffs and reliance on better technology.Yet, the cash they have accumulated has not been spent on expanding U.S. production and creating new jobs. It is being retained in their treasuries, used to do stock buybacks or for making acquisitions. This has resulted from the uncertainties created by the current economic climate and by the flood of laws and regulations that has made business reluctant to expand.
The Administration, obviously troubled by the current situation, took the initiative and speaking through Peter Orszag, then director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, asked the Business Roundtable and The Business Council for examples of pending legislation and regulations that have had a dampening effect on economic growth and job creation. The BRT is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies with nearly $6 trillion in annual revenues and more than 12 million employees. The BC is an association of the chief executive officers of the world's most important business enterprises. Pursuant to this request, the BRT and BC responded by letter dated June 21, after surveying their membership to get their views. Attached to the BRT-BC letter was an Executive Summary as well as a Report containing a detailed description of what their members see as government initiatives that will cause slower rather than faster growth. TheBRT-BC letter and the Executive Summary are featured on the cover of this issue and a link to the Report is available on our Web site version of the cover feature.
One important way to stimulate recovery is to reduce the uncertainties created by legislation and regulations identified in the BRT-BC letter and its attachments. The recovery that follows will benefit all companies.
This effort will only be effective if many corporations speak out about the issues so that the voice of business is heard by policy makers in Washington. The BRT-BC has provided the roadmap; it is important that as many CEOs as possible speak out now on the issues addressed in the BRT-BC letter and its attachments.
The front cover of our October issue will again discuss Administration initiatives that hinder business growth and job creation. October's Special Section will include interviews with law and accounting firms that will provide general counsel with the information they need to urge their CEOs to contact their elected representatives in Congress to explain their companies' concerns.
The best way to encourage CEOs to speak out is for their general counsel to brief them on the impact of legislation and regulations on their businesses. In his interview on page 7 of this issue, Randy Milch, executive vice president and general counsel of Verizon, encourages general counsel to provide their CEOs with the input they need to effectively urge changes in legislation and regulations. General counsel will feel more comfortable about undertaking this responsibility if they are supplied with information from a specialist. For examples of how effective such information can be, see pages 8, 10, 11, 12, 16 and 18 of this issue.
We are in a unique position to help in this effort. Law and accounting firm interviews in our October issue will get close attention from our 22,000 corporate counsel readers at 9,000 law departments nationwide, and our busy website gets about 900,000 hits monthly.
You can help put the economy on the road to recovery by emphasizing to your law and accounting firms the importance to your company of their providing us with articles or interviews on issues of concern to your company identified in the BRT-BC letter and its attachments. If they wish to participate, they should call our publisher, Martha Driver, at 908-654-4840. Because we are a no-profit public service, a small financial contribution will be requested from them that represents their pro-rata share of our out-of-pocket cost of publication.