Detroit Regional Chamber > Chamber > U.S. Chamber: Government Dysfunction the Biggest Threat to Our Economy

U.S. Chamber: Government Dysfunction the Biggest Threat to Our Economy

January 18, 2023

For U.S. businesses, one risk looms larger than the labor shortages and historic inflation of the post-pandemic economy – the risk of our own government brought on by polarization and dysfunction weighing heavy on the minds of executives across the nation.

“The only risk that businesses say is rising – is getting worse – is the risk that comes from our own government,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer Suzanne Clark at the State of American Business on Jan. 12. She noted that the U.S. Chamber’s board members are most worried about the lack of national leadership to solve complex problems and outcompete adversaries.

Warning the dangers posed by being locked into a cycle of hyper-polarization and dramatically disruptive power swings every election, Clark highlighted that parties are taking power focused solely on undoing whatever the previous party did rather than working together to empower business and move the country forward.

“Beyond the deep frustration, what does this really mean? It means businesses don’t have the clarity or the certainty to plan past the next political cycle,” Clark said. “It means our country won’t be able to advance an agenda that extends beyond two to four years, or pass the policies needed to position us for our future.”

Clark cited several examples of government failure. A border crisis allowing millions to cross illegally when employers cannot get visas processed for engineers and nurses they desperately need to hire. Or businesses standing ready to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure after the federal government’s historic investment but unable to approve projects.

“Let me close with a message to our partner in government today: Do your jobs, so we can do ours. Make government work so businesses can keep working … so we can keep doing the things that society needs, expects, and trusts us to do,” Clark said.

U.S. Chamber Outlines ‘Agenda for American Strength’

U.S. Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Suzanne Clark called on Congress to begin work on an “Agenda for American Strength” at the State of American Business on Jan. 12.

“We need a government that works. A government that rejects gridlock and chooses governing. A government that can partner with the private sector on our biggest challenges and can engage globally to advance America’s interests, and the world’s. A government that limits itself to the work only it can do — no more and no less,” Clark said.

Clark urged lawmakers to put their differences aside and work in five key areas: building, people, energy, global leadership, and the rule of law. In addition, she highlighted the following key actions that Congress and the Biden Administration should pursue this year:

  • Pass a permitting reform bill to deliver on the investment made in infrastructure.
  • Secure our nation’s border, protect Dreamers, and increase the number of employment-based visas.
  • Fix worker shortages by improving access to childcare and incentivizing work.
  • Accelerate permitting for new American energy exploration and production, finalize a legally required 5-year offshore leasing program, and make building energy infrastructure easier.
  • Work in partnership with the private sector to achieve climate resilience through innovation.
  • Resume free and fair-trade negotiations and pursue new deals.
  • Tackle head-on the challenges with China while maximizing the benefits America can and must derive from continuing to do business with the world’s second-largest economy in areas consistent with our national security and values.
  • End lawsuit abuse by going after litigation funders; and
  • Enact policy changes to help law enforcement and prosecutors make our communities safe and fight organized retail crime.