Thursday, November 1, 2012

Supercharging the U.S. Economy: Where Both Parties Agree

According to the 2012-2013 Global Competitiveness Report released in September by the World Economic Forum (WEF), the U.S. fell two positions down to number seven in the global competitiveness ranking. That’s our fourth straight year of decline. With all the pre-election rhetoric, it’s sometimes easy to forget that ultimately, we’re all on Team USA.

Beneath the finger pointing and talking points, both parties agree on some very crucial policy issues that, if addressed, would help secure our nation’s legacy of greatness by enhancing our competitiveness in the global economy. Let’s put aside the assertions that the path to achieving our nation’s goals is split down party lines, and take a look at our commonalities. This is the first and necessary step to supercharge the U.S. economy.

A side by side comparison of the Democratic and Republican platforms reveal shared perspectives in the areas of corporate tax reform; manufacturing; education reform; small businesses; Internet freedom; technology; and infrastructure.

These issues have one thing in common; they all have a direct impact on our country’s ability to remain a competitive player in the 21st century global economy. Let’s start by examining the current U.S. corporate tax code. Not only is our corporate tax rate the highest among developed nations, the U.S. operates under a worldwide tax system while most of our trading partners have adopted a territorial system so that profits earned and taxed abroad may be repatriated for job-creating investment at home without an additional tax penalty.

Both parties agree the playing field for American companies must be leveled by way of corporate tax reform. The Republican platform supports the Administration’s Export Council’s proposal of switching to a territorial system of corporate taxation, and both platforms favor lowering the corporate tax rate for American companies is an action both parties advocate.

Furthermore, both platforms highlight the importance of strengthening U.S. manufacturing for job creation and spurring American innovation. Both want to provide relief for manufacturers by creating a climate more conducive to research and development through tax relief.

While corporate tax reform is vital, both parties have championed small businesses as the backbone of the U.S. economy. Republicans and Democrats alike have pledged to encourage American small businesses and entrepreneurship by allowing them to generate the capital they need to grow and create jobs.

American entrepreneurs are responsible for some of the greatest innovations of our lifetime, but we cannot maintain this record of achievement without properly educating the next generation of Americans. Education reform is needed from kindergarten through college. Republicans and Democrats recognize the importance of maintaining a world class education system and both agree on the expansion of public school options for low-income youth whether through charter schools, or career centric programs.

While ensuring the upcoming generation of Americans has the skill set to succeed in the 21st century economy, our nation’s infrastructure must also be reflective of advances in information technology. Both parties propose expanding America’s digital infrastructure - robust and wireless broadband capability, a smarter electrical grid, and upgraded information technology infrastructure in key sectors such as health and education - so that every American can fully participate in the global economy.

We are living in a new digital age, and are witnessing the evolution of revolutions. The Internet has empowered the global community to embrace freedom of expression and assembly more than any other technological advancement in human history.

Democrats and Republicans want to preserve Internet freedom and both take a multi-stakeholder approach to Internet governance and pledge to resist efforts to put governmental controls of the Internet in place.

The world is changing, and so must the U.S. We cannot afford to let stagnant policies shape the future of our nation. Both parties agree on corporate tax reform; manufacturing; education reform; small businesses; Internet freedom; technology; and infrastructure. Adopting these shared policy perspectives will supercharge the U.S. economy at a time when the American people need it most.

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