The largest business federation in the United States is calling on leaders in government, business and labor to unite around an ambitious goal of creating 20 million jobs over the next decade. In his annual state of American business address Tuesday in Washington , U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue noted encouraging signs for American businesses in 2010 but said the biggest obstacle is "uncertainty."
Despite signs of a gradually improving economy, job growth continues to lag in the U.S. Unemployment remains high at 10 percent - after the economy shed another 85,000 jobs last month.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue says the reason is obvious: uncertainty is causing large and small businesses to think twice before hiring new workers. "If you were in their shoes today, would you jump quickly into new investments and hiring? Or would you wait for some clarity and common sense to take hold first?," he said.
At the Chamber's annual state of American business address, Donohue outlined what he called an "achievable plan" to create 20 million jobs in 10 years. The five point plan includes expanding U.S. exports around the world, rebuilding the nation's infrastructure and maintaining taxes at current levels.
Donohue says introducing new taxes now would further slow economic growth, or worse, bring about another period of decline. "Congress, the administration and the states must recognize that out weak economy simply could not sustain all these new taxes, regulations and mandates now under consideration. It's a surefire [certain] recipe for a double-dip recession, or worse," he said.
Donohue was particularly harsh over a proposal by the White House to tax bank transactions in order to recoup some of the money used to bail out troubled banks. Donohue said it was a bad idea because the costs would simply be passed on to consumers. "There are so many unintended circumstances when you try and 'gerrymander' [redrawing boundaries to gain political advantage] the economic system to try and meet your political objectives. It's a bad idea. Fortunately, the congress would have to approve this," he said.
Donohue's speech comes as President Obama prepares to deliver his first state of the union address and Congress considers additional stimulus measures to create new jobs.