Last Tuesday, after corporate groups went into effect to support the legitimacy of the November election, I wrote in this room: “Can we just go ahead now?” It should not be. The Capitol riot on Wednesday kept Donald Trump at the center of national attention wherever he wants to be.
But in nine days there will be a new president one way or another. And there is a lot to be done if the US is to “build back better”. My priority list:
– Accelerate the introduction of vaccines so the nation can get back to business as soon as possible.
– Provide additional but targeted financial support for those who urgently need it.
– Launch a bipartisan infrastructure effort that is defined broadly enough to include measures that would move the country towards universal broadband and better green energy infrastructure.
– Launch a nationwide education and training program to provide expanded opportunities for people at risk from the technological change that has accelerated during the pandemic.
– Elaboration of a coherent national climate policy around the ambitious goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
– And finally, you do all of this with some level of bilateral support to ensure that the solutions are stable and will not be reversed once the political winds change.
This is an agenda that many – perhaps most – of the business community could support and help implement. In extensive discussions with the managing directors of our CEO initiative last year capital I’ve learned that it’s an agenda that many yearn for. (For more information on these efforts and their results, Here.)
It would have helped if President-elect Biden, in his efforts to assemble a diverse cabinet, found it appropriate to find at least one seasoned CEO to add to the mix. He had many who supported him and were ready to serve. In avoiding them, he has followed the path of Barrack Obama, not Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Lyndon Johnson and John Kennedy – in other words, every other Democratic president in recent history. That’s too bad.
But he’s stuck to the center, choosing pragmatic and business-minded economic advisors like Janet Yellen, Brian Deese, Pete Buttigieg, and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo. (See this clever piece capital did on the governor last June, and this report on her comments on the CEO initiative in October). There is still the opportunity for a new era of business and government collaboration to address urgent needs. Let us continue.
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