Obama Needs to Follow Ron Brown’s Example

Posted November 18, 2009 at 1:31pm

As Americans lose jobs and the unemployment rate balloons to double digits, now is not the time to demonize business and be adversarial. President Barack Obama needs to follow the economic blueprint set forth by the late Ron Brown, former Commerce secretary under President Bill Clinton. Brown was a proponent of utilizing the power of the market to serve the public good. He viewed business, trade and exports as a way to cultivate the U.S. economy. Brown believed that by rediscovering the hope and potential of entrepreneurship and innovation, small and medium-sized businesses could flourish in this great country of ours.[IMGCAP(1)] To be sure, Obama’s economic philosophy has not yet been defined. However, he assumed office in an economic climate rife with problems. That said, bold leaders must take bold and decisive action when the time requires it. Now is that time, Mr. President. Obama must cut the corporate tax rate in order to nurture and develop increased investment in U.S. companies. Such action is necessary to curb unemployment and bolster the job market. In order to become more globally competitive and strengthen our economy, we must lower capital-gains taxes and firmly support free and fair trade. We must extend credit to entrepreneurs and innovators that will lead us forward. Two important steps in attaining these objectives would be to cut the corporate tax rate and support a permanent research and development tax credit.The time has come for Obama to become a pro-business Democrat and support commercial diplomacy. He must highlight the role that business plays in advancing our nation and our people. He must reinvigorate a trust in business because business is the force that will create new jobs and revitalize the economy. To this end, we need forward-thinking policies that stimulate growth. We need to put aside our differences in order and work together to build a better future for all Americans.Government has the power to spur business, and the government needs to act in favor of commercial diplomacy. To achieve these ends, we need political leadership to aid scores of small businesses that are struggling to stay afloat.Competition in the market encourages innovation and growth. In order to demonstrate our country’s commitment to its future, Obama and his administration need to provoke a pro-business environment that will allow for competition. Crucial to this effort is revitalizing the partnership between our government and the private sector. We need to continue in the footsteps of Brown; we need government to be pro-worker and pro-business. The two are not mutually exclusive.Like Brown, Obama needs to become a forceful advocate for business and make opening markets to American goods, products and services a tier-one priority of his administration. Such action will bring all parties to the table. The business community will serve as an ambassador to a country where people work for one another, not against one another. In times like these, we all have a common interest in reinvigorating our economy and curbing unemployment. The time to act is now. Obama needs to lead Washington, D.C.’s economic agenda before it is too late. Morris L. Reid is the managing director of BGR Group, a leading Washington, D.C.-based government affairs, public relations and investment group. He was a senior staff aide to former Vice President Al Gore, former Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo.