We’ve heard a lot from politicians lately about how they want to enact some tax cut or subsidy to help grow our economy. However, for small-business owners and for big-business owners and their investors — and really for entrepreneurs and innovators throughout our economy — the No. 1 thing our government can do isn’t to enact some narrowly tailored tax break or a handout, but rather to provide an assurance of policy certainty. The best way for our elected leaders in Washington to do this is to begin to reduce the deficit and start controlling our national debt.
As the leader of Louisiana’s Committee of 100 for Economic Development, I head a group of business and university leaders committed to attracting and retaining industry here in Louisiana and ensuring quality jobs for Louisianians. Unfortunately, our entire country will begin having problems attracting and retaining industry and ensuring quality jobs if our leaders continue to let our national debt pile up to unsustainable levels.
While our leaders in Washington seem to be pointing fingers and procrastinating, our national debt continues to grow. Right now, as a share of the economy, the debt is larger than it has been since the immediate aftermath of World War II.
There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel. In my work with the Louisiana chapter of the Campaign to Fix the Debt — a national, nonpartisan organization aimed at pushing a deal to reduce our deficit and start controlling our debt — it’s become apparent to me that what we need to do is widely acknowledged by members of both parties: rein-in spending, raise revenue and reform our entitlement programs. However, our elected leaders have yet to show the courage necessary to stand up to their political bases and come to a bipartisan agreement.
If our debt simply continues down the course it’s on now, it will lead to higher rates of interest, inflation and even unemployment. That’s unacceptable. Unless our leaders take action, 10 years from now, more than three-fourths of the federal budget will be devoted to just two things: our entitlement programs and interest on the national debt. All other programs — including those that support innovation and entrepreneurship — will feel a true budgetary squeeze.
As a member of Louisiana’s business community, it’s essential our leaders in D.C. come to a comprehensive agreement to reduce the deficit and control the debt, one that will establish some needed policy certainty and economic stability. I hope that you visit http://www.fixthedebt.org to learn more about the campaign, and to start telling our representatives in Washington that we need them to make a deal, for the benefit of us all.
Michael Olivier, CEO
Louisiana Committee of 100
for Economic Development