A Dialogue Between The Administration And Business Resumes - And You Can Help.

Monday, October 4, 2010 - 01:00

Al Driver


Faced with the harsh reality of slow business growth and lack of job creation, there are clear signs that the Administration is more aware of the need to unleash the job-creating potential of business growth - and is taking steps to better understand why that is not taking place with sufficient momentum to reduce unemployment.

The Administration took a giant step forward when Peter Orszag, then Director of Management and the Budget, invited the Business Roundtable and Business Council to survey their memberships to identify legislation and regulations that dampen business growth and job creation.

By letter dated June 21, 2010, the BRT and BC transmitted to Mr. Orzsag an Executive Summary and Report based on the survey. See: http://www.metrocorpcounsel.com/dl/BRT_BC_Letter.pdf

The Dialogue Continues

Although Mr. Orzsag has left the Administration, the opening of communication lines is continuing. Mr. Orzag's replacement in this developing dialogue is Austan Goolsbee, the new chairman of President Barack Obama's Council of Economic Advisors.

In a recent meeting with 18 chief executives representing the Business Roundtable, Mr. Goolsbee opened the door to a new beginning in the relationships between the Administration and business. At his suggestion, the meeting focused on a Democratic proposal that would increase U.S. taxes on the foreign earnings of global corporations.

A member of the Roundtable's staff present at that meeting was quoted as saying that the meeting "represented a fresh start for the Administration on economic matters."

There has also been increasing speculation in the press about Administration interest in filling at least one of the vacancies on the President's economic team with a business leader. Also, businesses were delighted to learn of Administration proposals that corporate capital assets be 100 percent written off the first year and that the R&D tax credit be made permanent.

How We Have Been Helping

We have in each issue of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel going back even before the BRT-BC letter covered matters that were identified in the attachments to that letter as of concern to business and plan to continue that coverage so long as that appears to be useful.

This issue of MCC is typical. Our Special Section on Hot Issues Alerts contains relevant interviews and articles from members of leading law and accounting firms, including discussions of Administration proposals to increase taxes on the foreign source income of our global corporations. The cover of our Hot Issues Alerts Section describes how a provision in the Dodd-Frank Act that provides for a bounty for whistleblowers to the SEC can be implemented without unduly undermining corporate compliance systems. An article on the cover of our International Trade Special Section describes why our exports have not thrived. Our Issues and Overviews column describes an effort that is underway to persuade the IRS to amend its regulations to permit plaintiffs' counsel to deduct their expenditures in contingency fee cases.

How Your Company Can Assist the BRT-BC Effort

The dialogue with the Administration will be most successful if CEOs throughout the country speak out about their concerns with respect to legislative and regulatory issues identified in the BRT-BC letter and its attachments. Some general counsel may feel more comfortable in encouraging the CEO to do this if they are supplied with information from law and accounting firms and business organizations on which they feel they can rely. For your convenience, see the following link to a useful booklet compiling such information from this and previous issues of MCC by subject matter (which will be updated to include the relevant contents of future issues of MCC): http://www.metrocorpcounsel.com/BRTcoverage.pdf.

Harness The Power Of Many

Your company's concerns are most likely to be addressed by the Administration if those concerns are also expressed by the CEOs of many other companies.

Because we reach over 22,000 corporate counsel at over 9,000 corporate law department locations, an interview or article by one or more of your outside counsel or accounting firms can help assure that many other corporations across the country will join in speaking out about your company's concerns. You can help your company succeed in this vital effort by encouraging your law and accounting firms to submit interviews and articles dealing with those concerns for publication.

A small contribution for each interview or article covers a firm's pro rata share of our out-of-pocket publishing costs. If your law or accounting firm wishes to contribute an article or arrange for an interview or if there are questions, they should call Al Driver, Martha Driver or Idelle Howitt at (908) 654-4840 or email them at info@metrocorpcounsel.com.