4 ways Congress can help American businesses

The jobs report for May brought the US unemployment rate up to 8.2 percent. Meanwhile, the number of people not in the labor force – which includes those unemployed Americans who have stopped looking for work after months or years if discouragement – remains near an all-time-high of 88 million. And the Dow Jones Industrial Average is struggling to remain above 12,000. The message is clear: This recovery from the Great Recession is still fragile.

To be fair, some of the reasons are outside the control of American policymakers – chiefly, the persistence of the European sovereign debt crisis. However, the inability to generate sustained growth is also the result of some fundamental weaknesses in the economy that policymakers could be addressing – but aren’t.

Recent reforms aimed at revival – like the payroll tax cut, stimulus, and international trade agreements – certainly have brought some benefit. Notwithstanding, they have mostly just nibbled around the edges. Legislators should focus their attention on these four straightforward policy changes that have the potential to rewrite and fix the rules of the game for American commerce.

1. Cut business taxes

Ann Hermes/The Christian Science Monitor
Internal Revenue Code volumes sit in the IRS Taxpayer Advocate's office in Washington March 20. Op-ed contributor Yuri Vanetik says the 'business leaders and entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow need our legislators to show some leadership and tackle the substantial reforms this economy needs.'

Just talking about changing tax policy will not change anything. Japan recently cut its corporate rate, giving the United States the ignoble distinction of having the highest rate in of all developed countries at just over 39 percent.

A material and immediate cut would likely start drawing businesses back to America’s shores. President Obama himself has come out in support of a seven-percentage point drop. As legislators begin deliberating, that ought to be the starting point.

1 of 4

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.