Dysfunction in Washington affecting businesses' bottom line

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The dysfunction in Washington has negatively affected businesses’ bottom lines. After all, how are they supposed to be able to plan and prepare yearly budgets, consider hiring more workers, or make investments for the future when they are anxious about a potential government shutdown or the effects of massive federal budget cuts? These concerns are justified with the recent trend of lawmakers running the country in “govern by crisis” mode. Given that – relative to GDP – debt is higher than it has been in over 60 years, and is on course to exceed 100 percent of GDP by the early 2030s according to the Congressional Budget Office’s latest projections, we cannot afford to neglect this problem any further. If we are to grow the economy and give businesses the confidence they need to fulfill their potential, we can no longer avoid the tough reforms necessary to stabilize and reduce the debt as a share of the economy.

And, it’s not just about fixing the debt, but supporting a strategy that increases consumer spending and contributes to America’s tax base. The Minority Business Roundtable has done surveys that show, for example, that increasing the federal government’s goal for the portion of federal contracts that are awarded to small businesses by two percent (from 23 percent to 25 percent) would add almost $10 billion to the economy and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in communities across the country – without adding a dime to the national debt. Small and minority business leaders must exhibit bold leadership and voice their views to Congress and the President on their priorities and solutions to solve this fiscal dilemma.

When it comes to addressing our long-term debt problems, we know exactly where changes are needed because all of the relatively non-controversial areas of the budget have already been addressed. What remains are the hotly debated topics of taxes and entitlements. Regardless of what each side may say, we must include reforms to these areas in any viable debt deal or the numbers simply will not add up. This means restructuring our tax code to make it more globally competitive by eliminating distorting deductions and loopholes. We also cannot ignore the much needed modifications to our costly entitlement programs so that they remain solvent for future generations. Exactly how we implement these changes remains a contentious issue, but we must begin a meaningful dialogue in an attempt to forge a compromise that is acceptable to both parties.

One group that is aware of the rough road that lies ahead if we continue on our current fiscal course is the Campaign to Fix the Debt. Its supporters understand that if the country has any hope of solving its debt problem we must give our politicians the support to make the difficult and often unpopular decisions that will result in a comprehensive deal. The Campaign has assembled leaders in business and policy but it is their impressive grassroots network spread across 23 states that has the ability to provoke significant action aimed at bipartisan debt reduction. Please visit FixTheDebt.org to join the over 350,000 signers of the Campaign’s Citizen’s Petition and to learn more about how you can become part of the solution that restores America’s economic footing.

I am certain we can come together as a nation to tackle the problems fueling our debt burden. But it will not come without collective sacrifice and hard work. In the process, we can create a stronger economy better equipped to handle an America that is constantly changing. Let’s get this done – let’s fix the debt.

Campos is president & CEO of the Minority Business Roundtable and a coalition member of the Campaign to Fix the Debt.