We Need a Bipartisan Effort to Fix the Economy

As the latest jobs report shows, the U.S. economy is still in dire need of improvement.

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Richard L. Jackson is a Job Creators Alliance member and the chairman and chief executive officer of Jackson Healthcare.

Since we turned the page on 2012, monthly jobs reports have punctuated a growing trend of economic pessimism. This month's report was no different.

While there are many reasons for the job market stalling, one factor that has generated a lot of media attention and is often cited by business leaders is the prevailing uncertainty in both the private and public sector.

Fears of the so-called "fiscal cliff" here at home and the debt crisis in Europe have paralyzed some businesses and cast a pall over financial markets. Third-party observers like the Congressional Budget Office have issued dire warnings over our own country's future if Washington does not move with urgency to address our fiscal challenges. Policymakers and politicians, for their part, have continued to make promises of "tough decisions" in support of small businesses and working families. But like a car running on empty, markets and businesses can't move solely on promises of future action.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the economy.]

The reality for job creators all over this nation is that the prospect of growing their business is a tall one, much less keeping theirs doors open and the lights on. Why? An unprecedented wave of regulations from Washington have made direct contact with their bottom lines—a particularly deadly problem for small business that lack the same resources and political connections to navigate the new rules. In addition, community banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions have sharply diminished the level of small business loans, thereby crippling those businesses or would-be entrepreneurs who are poised to launch new ventures or grow existing enterprises.

Job creation is not just of economic importance, but—in this political season—it has tremendous electoral implications as well. Now more than ever, people are tuned in to news in hopes of hearing a realistic plan from either political party that could save U.S. jobs. Former President Bill Clinton once said that the public's vote should go to "the candidate most likely to return us to full employment." And there has been no shortage of commentary suggesting that the economic headwinds may prove too difficult of a political liability for this current administration to see its second term. Either way, both parties are desperately scrambling to position their candidates as the source of ideas and real plans to fix our ailing economy and turn our nation's job creation around.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the budget and deficit.]

They have their work cut out for them: Nearly 60 percent of Americans think the economy is getting worse. But this challenge can also be viewed as an opportunity.

Finally, with the nation attuned to the national debate over policy that will stimulate growth and jump start the economy, our political class has an opportunity to rise to the occasion, come together in a bipartisan way and enact the kind of commonsense reforms that will empower our nation's most productive and incentivize investment.

Until our elected leaders truly face the problem of uncertainty and the political gridlock that is helping to perpetuate it, it will be a long time before the monthly jobs report is something to celebrate.

  • Read Eileen Appelbaum: What Jobs Report Means for Voters, Congress, and Federal Reserve
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