Engler on the Economy, Jobs, Uncertainty and Working Together

By September 20, 2010Economy, Regulations, Taxation

John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, was on CNBC’s Squawkbox this morning, part of the cable channels discussions leading up to today’s “Town Hall” meeting with President Obama, “Investing Investing in America.” In his interview with CNBC’s Becky Quick, Engler made these observations:

We’d like to hear the President say, “Look, there aren’t going to be new taxes ….” No new taxes at a time when we’re still trying to get the economy moving. Let’s call a halt to all the regulations. There are Senators and members of Congress saying let’s put the EPA on hold for a couple of years. George Schultz and a number of economists writing last week said the same thing. It’s all about jobs. We want to go back to work. We want to have that two trillion dollars that’s on corporate balance sheets to find that the U.S. investment environment is conducive to spending, to investing, and see confidence come back.

I saw in Forbes magazine, Becky, where we’ve actually dropped from second best business environment to ninth in the world. Why is that happening? (It’s) because of the uncertainty and the risks that we’re stacking one on top of another.

On U.S. global competitiveness:

I was in Houston, Becky, last week, talked to an executive of a company. He had been visited by the Singapore government economic agency. They came to Houston, Texas, and said, “Look, we’ve looked at your business. We think you ought to be building in Singapore. Here’s why it’s a good investment. Here’s what we can do on land, here’s what we can do on these incentives.”

And it was amazing, that kind of outreach. Our government doesn’t pay any attention. In fact, I think most of the people would like to know that their government is neutral as opposed to being hostile to them.

And on what the President will or won’t say on TV today:

This is what he won’t say, but we ought to look for this in the tea leaves is that November is going to bring a Republican House, it looks like, according to all the data. I saw some of the polling you showed earlier today. I mean, the people are so unhappy, they’re voting for a change.

Probably going to be split government, and it will be narrowly divided government. You’d like to hear the President say that two years ago when I was a candidate, I talked about working together, and I’m going to recommit myself to doing that. The meaning of that is after November, people are going to be have to be looking to Washington, and seeing things done together. That’s very hard, very rare, but it’s really what the country needs, and I think that’s what so much of the unrest is all about, they’re tired of leaders not working.

We’ll post the video clip when CNBC puts it up.

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