OCTOBER 2012 LCT EDITOR'S COLUMN:
LCT Magazine’s parent company, Bobit Business Media, uses a promotional slogan that reads: “In business, for your business.” Being a Presidential history buff, it often reminds me of a famous quote from President No. 30, Calvin Coolidge: “After all, the chief business of the American people is business.”
These simple statements point to a timeless truth about America: We thrive and advance as one nation based on strong business activity. They warrant repeating during this election season of contrasting visions: One in which a super-sized government controls and manipulates businesses for its own ends; or one in which government stays mostly out of the way so diverse, vibrant businesses and entrepreneurs can drive the economy forward.
The ledgers tell us that President Obama’s four years have made it much harder to go about one’s business. We've recently seen some high-profile bankruptcies in the chaffeured transportation business, due in large part to a lackluster business climate. This weak recovery is random and slow, and frankly inexcusable given the shortsighted government policies that have hampered it.
The ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan offers the only comprehensive pro-business economic plan that would benefit the chauffeured transportation and charter and tour industries, as well as the related sectors of business travel, events, and hospitality. To underscore the point, a group of top limousine industry leaders already joined a fundraiser for Mitt Romney in Boston as soon as March 7 — an industry first.
On the macro-level, the Obama Administration failed to fully resuscitate the economy, despite two full years (2009-11) of Democrats controlling all government branches. Fifteen quarters into Obama’s four-year term and after 23 quarters of his party dominating the U.S. Senate, all key indices of economic activity are going in the wrong direction. Don't be fooled by the 7.8% unemployment rate, which inexplicably fell the most month-to-month in 29 years. Most of the jobs created have been part-time, job-share, hourly type jobs, not the professional salaried jobs needed to sustain household incomes and livelihoods. Real household incomes and net worths have plummeted since Obama took office while gas prices have soared, nearing $5 a gallon in California. The U.S. credit rating has been downgraded. The 1-2% average GDP economic output tarries well below the 3% growth needed just to keep up with added population and new graduate demand for jobs. President Obama has compounded the mistakes of President Bush, most notably tripling the Bush-era annual deficits and bringing them into trillions from billions. Meager job creation has been mostly confined to his favored special interests, such as pampered unions and public sector workers to whom he sluiced much of the so-called stimulus package.
President Obama's problem is that he is beholden to a deep ideological vision that disdains free markets, capitalism and business while he stokes the smoldering jealousies of class warfare: (“I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody”; “You didn’t build that!”; and most recently, "You are not entitled to success.") Obama even betrayed his true beliefs soon after taking office in 2009 when he denigrated the corporate business travel sector and frosted the meetings mecca of Las Vegas, thereby short-circuiting business activity in the pits of the Great Recession.
Obama clearly speaks the language of loserdom.
As a result, Obama does not compromise and embrace policies that boost businesses, as did two of his predecessors, Presidents Reagan and Clinton, who each led strong recoveries following recessions.
While being bad for business is enough of a reason to vote Obamanomics out, it helps to also vote for something in its place. So why would the Romney/Ryan plan improve the outlook for chauffeured transportation and related industries?
For one thing, Romney understands the established business role of chauffeured transportation. He was a client for many years before he embarked on his national political career, sources tell me. As a businessman and investor, he can relate to limousine and bus operators, most of whom belong to the small family-owned businesses of Main Street America.
Among the specific reasons a Romney Administration would be good for business and its private sector workers:
- Roll back the hundreds of executive orders that the Obama Administration enacted via the alphabet soup agencies EPA, DOT, and DOL because its policies could not go through Congress. Result: Lower business compliance costs and insurance costs.
- Back off pro-union labor policies on gratuities, overtime wages, and independent contractors, thereby relieving fleet businesses of burdensome rules and audits while undercutting the impetus for class-action lawsuits. Result: More flexible and economically viable wage and labor business models to choose from.
- Lift restrictive “green” travel policies for government workers that prevent them from attending more conferences where they could gain the knowledge and expertise to become more productive. Result: True taxpayer stimulus that taps private-sector ground transportation and leads to smarter government.
- Deregulate the auto manufacturing sector, which under Obama has had to conform to unrealistic vehicle gas mileage requirements resulting in smaller vehicles and costly, subsidized boondoggles such as the Chevy Volt. Result: More and sensibly bigger luxury vehicles.
- Spur energy exploration to tap multiple resources, such as oil, natural gas, clean coal, and nuclear, while not wasting money on fanciful green ventures such as Solyndra. Support the construction of the Keystone Pipeline, facilitating more American energy while creating good jobs. Result: Lower energy and fuel costs for fleet businesses.
- Reform the federal tax code to make it fairer, flatter and more Main Street business friendly with fewer special interest loopholes. Result: Less corporation incentive for offshoring and more corporate investment in job creation.
The choice is clear: A second Obama term rooted in a pessimistic, blame-n-complain subculture defined by smash-n-grab, control-n-conform economic policies of the past and a condescending contempt for business — or a Romney Presidency that works to repair and reform America’s enduring engine of economic freedom and free business enterprise.
-- Martin Romjue, LCT editor
The more casual and coarse society gets, the more chauffeured service can gleam with a counter-couture-culture.