President Calvin Coolidge famously said, “The business of America is business.” There was a President who understood the linkage between a healthy economy, a favorable business environment, and jobs. For those of us starting, building, or growing businesses, the choice of who to elect for our (next) President has never been more clear and the contrast between the candidates has never been more striking.
Those focused upon fairness of outcome rather than fairness of opportunity bemoan that the U.S. has only about five percent of the worlds population yet uses about 25 percent of the worlds energy.
What they won’t acknowledge is that the U.S. has generated approximately 25 percent of world GDP each year for over 40 years.
They also won’t acknowledge that American ingenuity and innovation has improved the quality of life for the entire world. Growing food, life saving medical technology, construction techniques, access to information and education, transportation and communication have never been so broadly available and affordable for so many.
What the nearly constant rate of U.S. contribution to world GDP shows is that so goes the U.S. so goes the rest of the world.
But the economic engine that is the United States of America is in jeopardy.
- The Federal Government has taken on unheard of amounts of debt.
- Unemployment is at record levels and for a record period. (I am referring to the U6 rate of ~15 percent which includes all the unemployed rather than the media approved U3 level of 7.9 percent which includes only those still qualified to receive unemployment aid and seeking employment).
Source : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Companies are saving cash, minimally investing, performing rolling layoffs, preserving their ability to weather the ongoing storm.
Our President’s actions have not lived up to his inspirational rhetoric during his 2008 campaign the most egregious of which included:
- the “most transparent administration in history” has become one which rushed legislation through before it could be reviewed or discussed, hired lobbyists but met outside the White House, and exercised executive privilege to protect his office from the investigation into “fast and furious.”
- “cutting the deficit in half” became adding $ 6 trillion in new debt
- “fixing the economy” turned into record unemployment for record time
Our President more and more often exhibits behavior not befitting the leader of our country. Were he the leader of a public company, he’d long have been removed for:
- misrepresentation of his actions and those of his direct reports;
- inappropriate use of funds;
- making excuses and blaming others for poor performance;
- just poor leadership.
Our President has seemed more interested in maximizing his personal experience in the job rather than serving the American people. Numerous and expensive vacations and a record one hundred rounds of golf (achieved June 2012) during a time of record unemployment and deficits hardly sets an example.
Four years after the “Hope and Change” movement, we are more divided, more fearful for our livelihoods, and for our families than anytime in my memory.
We need strong and principled leadership. We need leaders who are unafraid to tell us the truth and take action to avoid economic disaster. We need leaders who support the military which protects us. We need leaders who put the people before themselves. We need leaders who will bring us back together rather than highlight our differences in an effort to create conflict, anger, and fear.
Much has been made of the strength, sacrifice, and self-reliance of the greatest generation of World War II (my grandparent’s generation). It is time for a change to that kind of leadership – leaders who exemplifies hard work, the delay of gratification to improve our country for our children, discipline, responsible financial policy, and honesty.
John J. Alexander
John J. Alexander is President of Business Development Advisors, Founder and Chair of the Twin Cities Angels, and business author of the Angel Investment Tax Credit. Email him at: John@BusDevAdvisors.com