Both Parties Must Focus on Economic Growth


The Business Council of Alabama’s two national partners do not endorse presidential candidates but the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers have very specific recommendations for the two major candidates.

U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said the two candidates can telegraph party priorities and a vision for the nation’s future in their formal party platforms.

“Unfortunately,” Donohue said, “neither platform— Democratic or Republican—puts a strong enough emphasis on helping Main Street and accelerating economic growth.”

The NAM’s president and CEO, Jay Timmons, said in a CNBC interview Tuesday that both candidates have a long way to go to “attract manufacturing voters in November.”

“What we really need to focus on is what they are going to say over the next three months that manufacturing is the solution to growing an economy, ensuring a strong economy, ensuring America remains exceptional,” Timmons said. “What we hope from both candidates and both parties is a commitment to those things that will … grow our economy certainly faster than the 2 percent it is now.”

The NAM has a blueprint of 11 key areas the United States needs to win, he said, including tax and regulatory reform and open overseas markets.

Donohue said the Democrats’ platform includes a “predictable grab bag of the kind of government-directed economic policies that have kept our economy stuck in second gear.”

“Most troubling, there’s hardly any mention of the dire need for greater economic growth in the entire draft document,” Donohue said.

Democrats want to expand Social Security and propose a tax increase on our most productive citizens to pay for it. Democrats support a financial transaction tax, which was President Hoover’s failed “solution” to the Great Depression, Donohue said.

And the platform renews calls for a national $15 minimum wage rate, even though history shows that mandatory wage hikes price many low-skilled workers out of the job market. Democrats also want to stick with two of the most dramatic and flawed Washington power-grabs to come out of the current administration: Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, Donohue said.

Donohue said the Republican platform has problems, too. It calls for revival of the Glass-Steagall Act, another Depression-era policy to break up banks and undermine diversity in the U.S. financial system.

The GOP platform opposes congressional votes to advance free trade agreements during a lame duck session, posing a threat to the sweeping new deal with the Asia-Pacific market. And the platform moves the party away from its historic vigorous support for sensible trade and immigration policies, he said.

Policies that perpetuate 2 percent or smaller lower growth are bad for the country and will make it harder for leaders to do their jobs, Donohue said. Focusing on growth will help them accomplish other priorities such as infrastructure investment, education reform, and wage growth.

While not endorsing candidates, Donohue said, the U.S. Chamber engages in presidential policies that affect employers and entrepreneurs to create opportunities across the nation.

“And we have a clear message to both parties and their candidates: If you want to succeed, you must focus on growth,” Donohue said.

“One of the biggest challenges that our candidates are going to face is going to rebuild America,” Timmons said. “A solid, well-funded infrastructure program will lead to very rapid growth in the economy.

“It’s about what the candidates will do to grow the economy and grow America’s future,” Timmons said. “We need to work to produce a balanced platform that enables manufacturing to be unleashed and grow to be able to attract more investment onto the shores of our country. “

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers are national partners of the Business Council of Alabama and are exclusively represented in Alabama by the BCA.