Obama, Congress Must Focus on Job Creation

In solving the fiscal cliff, government officials need to address the long-term structural problems that serve as hurdles to job creation.

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Robert Luddy is president of CaptiveAire Systems, Inc. and a Job Creators Alliance member.

Ever since this last week's presidential election there has been no shortage of ink (digital and actual) spilled on how President Barack Obama won and what implications his victory has for the future of the American economy. This comes as no surprise: No matter who would have won the election, the top priority must be getting the economy growing again and creating jobs.

While many pundits were quick to point out that there was no mandate for President Obama's second term, or that there were dual mandates posed by the strong re-election of the Republican House and President Obama such that it was essentially a status quo election that kept things as they were. But most Americans know that the status quo is unacceptable and unsustainable: Trillion-dollar deficits, increasing regulations, and bad tax policy will only lead to more anemic economic growth.

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

I believe that there was a mandate issued by the American people: Fix the economy. If there was any mandate at all, it's for a progrowth policy that will empower entrepreneurs and small businesses, encourage investment, and allow American businesses to compete on a global scale.

Indeed, according to the most recent JCA/YouGov poll taken just prior to Election Day, two-thirds of Americans voted based on who they trusted more on the economy and job creation—underscoring the critical importance of these "pocketbook issues."

As a new Congress and President Obama's second term kick off, job creators will be looking to them for real leadership that will set aside petty partisan bickering and come together to address the very real challenges facing our nation.

[Read the U.S. News Debate: Does Barack Obama Have a Mandate?]

Aside from figuring out a way to avert the fiscal cliff, an impending economic disaster, our government must solve longer-term, more structural problems that serve as hurdles to job creation. Things like commonsense regulatory reform, comprehensive tax reform and competitive immigration policy come to mind. There ought to be a moratorium on any new regulations and a stringent process for identifying and eliminating burdensome regulations put in place. Both sides of the political aisle agree that having the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world is bad for business and global competitiveness. Reducing the weight of our nation's debt by reducing the size and scope of the federal government and ending the economic uncertainty that has been fueled by Washington's partisan gridlock are ideas with bipartisan support and national significance.

Clearly, there is a lot of work that need to be done—and must be done. The reality is that these issues will not be solved by just one president, or one political party. Our elected leaders have a real opportunity to chart a different course to renewed prosperity. By empowering small business owners, encouraging entrepreneurs, and unleashing the dynamic potential of the free enterprise system, we can ensure that the next four years will be better than the last.

  • Read Robert Hahn and Peter Passell: Why Social Impact Bonds May Be the Future of International Aid
  • Read Antony Davies and James R. Harrigan: Solve the Fiscal Cliff With a Spending Cap
  • Check out U.S. News Weekly: An insider's guide to politics and policy.