Midterm Election Results: Where is the Business Community in All This?

The business position on politics is that most vote pragmatically, with an eye towards what the next Congress would do to make doing business easier. The comments from Mitch McConnell, likely the next Senate Majority Leader, included a commitment to expanding trade—that may be an area of common ground between the White House and Congress. He also focused on tax reform plans that would make the US more competitive, infrastructure plans that would both serve as an economic stimulus as well as bring the US system back to world standards and plans to develop the energy opportunities in the US. All are considered urgent needs by business community and the hope is that attention starts to focus on these areas.

The first area of compromise is the trade issue that the president has publicly supported. Now there may be more pointed interest in salvaging the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral free trade agreement as well as the stalled pact with Europe.

The issue of tax reform may be another place for some compromise and cooperation. The corporate tax rate in the US is among the highest in the world, but the tax take is often offset by a welter of complex tax breaks and incentives. These tend to distort the system and favor the bigger companies at the expense of the small and mid‐sized operations. There is nothing to suggest that reform will be easy, but there seems to be support for a serious attempt and one that elements of both parties could get behind.

A third area of compromise might be immigration. The business community generally supports some rationalization of the immigration system, as there is a need for the workers who are already in the US and those who would like to come to work. The labor shortage in the US is acute and grows worse as the population grows older.

One of the more interesting areas of potential compromise has been infrastructure development. For the last few years, there has been no money for these projects amid constant budget battles. There is hope that the need to boost the economy and provide jobs will trump the concerns about debt and deficit to a degree and that both sides will be able to get behind some additional projects to bolster the nation’s infrastructure.

The majority of those who have been elected to office are experienced legislators from the US House of Representatives or state legislatures. There is hope, though possibly faint, of renewed cooperation and an end to gridlock.

- Armada Corporate Intelligence

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