Anheuser-Busch Briefing Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
1615 H St NW, Washington, D.C.
Registration and Breakfast: 8:00 a.m.-8:30 a.m.
In The Economist’s “World in 2013,” Michael Porter of Harvard University presents national policymakers with a compelling action list for reinvigorating American competitiveness. While the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling imbroglios exhibit how much politicians can disagree on, there is ample bipartisan accord on a basic economic truth. That is, without a more competitive American economy we will be unable to create better paying jobs and stimulate growth necessary to defuse the ticking time bomb of fiscal imbalance that so gravely threatens America’s long-term prosperity and security.
Porter’s common sense roadmap is one that the second-term Obama administration and newly-minted Congress ignore at the country’s peril. His prescriptions closely align with the key recommendations in the Forum’s “Eight Factors of American Competitiveness” report previewed last fall.
Both analyses reflect a strong and non-partisan consensus that attracting employers, stimulating investment, and fostering innovation requires three strategic lines of effort:
The essential reforms needed to refresh U.S. competitiveness share something greater than their contribution to a stronger economy and country. To be achieved, each will require leadership, bipartisanship, courage, and principled compromise—commodities that have been in epically short supply in Washington.
This is not to place the onus on our elected officials alone. America is, after all, a democracy, and public opinion, in all its diversity, will prevail. It is with “we the people” where the buck in fact stops—an obligation that we as citizens must take more seriously. It’s our job to reject the short-termism, irresponsibility, and culture of inaction that block us from taking the steps we know we must take for our own good. Unless we find the urgency to do so, the buck we pass to our children is one in that we’re not likely to be proud of.
In his second inaugural address, President Obama observed that “America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive, diversity and openness, of endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention.” Harnessing these assets will require that we reinvent our politics, our policies, and ourselves to meet the new and evolving challenges in an exciting and opportunity-filled age. It will require what America has done so often in the past, rising past our political squabbles and parochial interests to improve the prospects for our nation and the world. Let’s do it again.