President Barack Obama spent over four hours last week meeting with some of America’s top CEOs. He urged them to hire more employees and invest in the economy. The issues discussed included trade, tax reform, education and ways that companies would stop sitting on cash reserves, according to The New York Times.
“Those of you around the table represent why America is unique, what is best about our entrepreneurial spirit, and I want to dispel any notion that we want to inhibit your success,” Obama told the CEOs. “We want to be boosters because when you do well, America does well.” Obama said he was going to “redouble” his “commitment to fiscal discipline.” And he reportedly said a “serious conversation about fiscal health” would take place in 2011.
Was the meeting simply a lot of platitudes or will there be real progress? Obama might not have scheduled the meeting without the defeat Democrats got in November’s election. If the meeting is a single event, designed for photo ops, it will be meaningless.
Obama needs to work closely with business to help improve the economy. Business leaders have been pretty upfront what they want. Some of these measures include: less regulation, lower taxes, lower deficits, more free trade agreements, more incentives for research and development, and a health insurance plan that helps rather than hurts their companies. Education needs to meet the needs of the 21st century workforce, too.
It is true that Obama recently got praise from CEOs for advocating the free trade agreement between the United States and South Korea and backing the Bush-era tax cuts. These are starting points. But more action needs to follow.
For about Obama’s meeting with the CEOs, as reported by The New York Times, please click here.
Chief Executive Magazine’s upcoming issue cover story will delve into why many CEOs feel Washington has been making it harder, not easier, to grow their businesses and create jobs, and what can be done to get our economy back on the right track.