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What the election means for business — Four views

November 3, 2010

What the election means for business — Four views from four business commentaries and reports from The Wall Street Journal, Chamber of Commerce, Forbes Magazine and BusinessWeek.

Wall Street Journal
in “Businesses Seek to Sway Incoming Wave of Republicans”
“Executives at the Business Roundtable, a group made up of the chief executives of the nation’s biggest corporations, have scoured the public utterances of every Republican candidate to determine their stance on the group’s priorities: corporate tax cuts, rollbacks of environmental and some financial-markets regulations, and free trade.  But the group came up mostly empty. “Many candidates have not articulated their business stance at the level we’re interested in,” said Roundtable Executive Director Johanna Schneider. “Relationship building is going to be a big job.”  The head of the National Association of Manufacturers, John Engler, said his group’s members want an across-the-board extension of the Bush tax cuts plus new cuts to stimulate hiring; a rollback of selected pending regulations unfriendly to manufacturers in the Environmental Protection Agency, labor, and energy departments among other moves. Mr. Engler and Ms. Schneider said big GOP gains would force a change in approach and tone at the White House. Mr. Engler said he hoped that would include a housecleaning at regulatory agencies.  Roundtable members like International Business Machines Corp., Merck and Company Inc. and Caterpillar Inc., could get a reprieve from higher taxes on overseas profits and potential penalties for moving jobs to overseas under a GOP-led Congress. Roundtable executives said they saw evidence of a more conciliatory approach from the administration in the run-up to the Tuesday vote. In a White House briefing on President Barack Obama’s trip to India this week, Mike Froman, deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, suggested that the U.S. would portray the outsourcing of some U.S. corporate operations to India as part of a broader, mutually beneficial economic exchange. “

U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Press Release

“Today Americans sent a powerful message to Washington: Focus on job creation and economic growth. Voters have resoundingly rejected more government spending, higher taxes, and more burdensome regulations that have caused crippling uncertainty for businesses. We agree with voters across the nation who clearly stated that a strong and vibrant private sector is critical to reviving our economy, creating jobs, and putting us on a path to long-term growth. We will work with members of both parties who support policies that enable businesses of all sizes to do what they do best—create jobs, opportunity, and prosperity.  Congress will have another opportunity to make restoring economic growth its top priority and, with more balance, they will have to work on a bipartisan basis to achieve it. This time, they must take advantage of it.”

From Forbes Magazine

“Small businesses seem more concerned about customers not being their to buy their stuff than they are about lower tax rates. More than half don’t feel that health care costs will swamp them, at least right now. Still, the hiring picture remains bleak. Something for new lawmakers (or re-elected veterans) to think about …”
BusinessWeek,
Win complicates business over immigration
“Lawmakers who will lead the debate in the new Republican- controlled U.S. House say they want to focus on securing the border and cracking down on illegal immigration, rather than other matters. Only after it is shown that fewer illegal immigrants are coming across the U.S.-Mexico border will they consider the revisions to immigration law sought by businesses, they say. ..Corporate officials and lobbyists must deal with midterm election results, in which the Republicans have won a majority of seats in the House, according to network projections. “We’re as anxious as anyone else to see how it shakes out and whether this will be on the agenda next year,” said Peter Muller, director of government relations at Intel Corp.  Technology companies such as EBay Inc. and Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. want Congress to lift the cap on H-1B visas for skilled workers. Since the start of the 2004 fiscal year, when a three-year temporary increase in the cap to 195,000 expired, the annual limit has been at 65,000. In fiscal 2010, the cap was reached in nine months. Companies also want to lift the limit on employment-based green cards, now set at 140,000.  At Intel, about 6.5 percent of the company’s 40,000 U.S.- based employees hold temporary visas granted foreign workers, and the company helps those workers apply immediately to get green cards. “We want to keep them ideally for their entire career,” Muller said.  Still, the wait often is eight to 10 years, causing uncertainty both for the workers and for their employers.”

  
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