Middle Market Growth recently interviewed Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, on the state of the economy and the current pace of U.S. growth.
After assuming his leadership role at the Chamber in 1997, Donahue has built the Chamber into an influential powerhouse advocating on behalf of the business community both domestically and abroad. Most recently, he worked to advance the American Jobs and Growth Agenda, a plan that outlines a roadmap for U.S. economic recovery that includes policies to reform the tax and entitlement systems, expand trade and domestic energy production, strengthen American infrastructure and fight an onslaught of new regulations that hinders rather fuels economic growth.
Middle Market Growth: The Chamber’s American Jobs and Growth Agenda outlines ways to spur economic growth, create jobs and fix policies in Washington that are holding back American prosperity. What do you believe is the most immediate issue to fix in 2013?
Tom Donohue: The overall lack of economic growth. We’re growing too slowly to significantly drive down the unemployment rate, provide opportunities to young people entering the workforce, or get the long-term unemployed off the sidelines and back in the game. We’re not growing fast enough to generate the revenue we need to reduce the deficit, fund social welfare programs or invest in things like infrastructure, which we desperately need. We’re not growing fast enough to maintain American leadership around the world.
Growing at our long-term potential of 3 percent—or better—doesn’t involve one single issue; it involves all of the issues we address in our American Jobs and Growth Agenda: expanding trade, spurring an American revolution in energy, reining in excessive regulation, encouraging innovation, and getting our fiscal house in order. Growth won’t solve all of our problems, but we can’t solve any of them without it.
The imperative of economic growth should not be an afterthought in Washington. It has to be job one.