Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Prez Tells Biz to Step Up

A couple of years in the making, President Barack Obama's exhortation of American business was as spot on as overdue yesterday. Speaking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, he asked companies to drop the drivel and get with the program. He challenged them to do their part to get us out of the deep recession.

Here and at Left Ahead! in our podcasts, I've been holding forth about the need for U.S. companies to step up, stop whining, and show some, well, American spirit. Businesses big and small sit on their capital, neither hiring nor expanding. They whimper that banks have made it harder to get loans, which is true enough and something Obama has already demanded a loosening of such policies.

However, the money is there and can be had with a bit more work on the applications and banking relationships. Moreover, the big problem is the lack of courage and national spirit by companies. Being afraid to hire, even contract employees, severely limits the recovery. It is also antithetical to the American character of courage with optimism. Waiting idly for others to hire thus putting more money into the economy keeps the coffin lid closed on the whole country.

Yesterday, the President explained and expanded on what the feds were doing to make life easier for companies. Then he said:
But I want to be clear: Even as we make America the best place on Earth to do business, businesses also have a responsibility to America.

I understand the challenges you face. I understand you are under incredible pressure to cut costs and keep your margins up. I understand the significance of your obligations to your shareholders and the pressures that are created by quarterly reports. I get it.

But as we work with you to make America a better place to do business, I’m hoping that all of you are thinking what you can do for America. Ask yourselves what you can do to hire more American workers, what you can do to support the American economy and invest in this nation. That’s what I want to talk about today –- the responsibilities we all have -- the mutual responsibilities we have -- to secure the future that we all share.
All we can add to that would be the rallying cry from the ancients, "Fortune favors the bold!"

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