A New Year's Resolution "Start The World, We Want To Get On"

Monday, January 3, 2011 - 01:00

Al Driver


As we look around, we see nothing but apostles of gloom. Why not, when our political parties are so dedicated to mutually assured destruction that they both fail to recognize the opportunities that beckon?

Let's think about the past some of us remember so clearly. Let's ratchet back to a similar atmosphere of gloom facing us, the youth of yesterday, when our country, emergingfrom the Great Depression, had lived through a total war and faced a deficit that makes today's look puny.

The parents of the Greatest Generation, who are no longer with us today, didn't say, as so many do now, "Stop the world, we want to get off." They ignored that overwhelming deficit and optimistically sent their veterans off on the most expensive stimulus plan ever - aboard the GI Bill train that took us, its passengers, into what is rightly called the American Century.

Here we are again at another station, about to wave good-bye to a new train that is about to leave destined for the developing world while we sit inside the station too paralyzed by our deficit to give serious consideration to getting aboard.

Let us resolve to counsel our clients, the greatest corporations in the world, not to let the incompetence of our politicians deny us the opportunities that providing developing countries with the goods and services they need to prosper offers to our economy.

We should resolve to create an "Opportunities Commission" to plan how we as a nation can prosper from the growing prosperity of the developing world, and which will consider what we need to do to enable our global corporations to compete effectively abroad.

High on its agenda should be the following: reducing corporate taxes, including those applicable to foreign operations, remembering that for every employee hired abroad almost two U.S. jobs are created; approving pending free trade agreements and entering into others; providing green cards to all foreign graduates of U.S. universities and to all foreigners with skills needed in the U.S.; reforming a legal system that because of the costs of litigation increases the price of our exports and deters foreign companies from setting up operations in the U.S.; incentivizing private sector self-regulation while curbing the proliferation of detailed government regulations that also increase the price of our exports and deter foreign companies from setting up operations in the U.S.; removing restraints on executive compensation that make it difficult for U.S. companies to attract the best and brightest talent worldwide; stopping implementation of proxy access rules that discourage a long-term perspective; and ceasing the use of bounty hunting and private litigation as substitutes for government enforcement.

The investments we make in implementing an "Opportunities Commission" will, as after WWII, quickly pay off the deficit and take us to a world where the prosperity that ensues will be shared by all Americans.

One Developing Country's Need For U.S. Goods And Services

(Excerpts from this month's interview with Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar)

"The U.S. is India's largest trading partner in goods and services, and India is now among the fastest-growing sources of foreign direct investment entering the U.S. This is creating jobs, growth, and higher living standards in both our countries."

"The U.S. is the largest source of technical collaboration for Indian companies(t)here are exciting opportunities to forge partnerships in the areas of research and development, innovation and high technology."

"Energy is another emerging area of cooperation. Our countries face similar challenges of dependence on energy imports and fossil fuels, and we both recognize the importance of addressing climate change. We had launched a Clean Energy and Climate Change Initiative last year during the visit of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to Washington. As a follow-up we have concluded an agreement to establish a Joint Clean Energy Research Centre. The goal is to improve the lives of the people of both countries by developing and improving access to technologies that make our energy cleaner, more affordable and more efficient. We are also promoting clean and energy-efficient technologies through the bilateral Partnership to Advance Clean Energy and expanded cooperation with the private sector. All these various initiatives are expected to enhance the ability of India and the U.S. to provide new economic opportunities for their people and create new clean energy jobs."