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Open letter to President Trump

By Bill Yeargin

Dear President Trump,

First, congratulations on your victory in last year’s hard fought campaign. You connected with tens of millions of American who have trusted you with their hopes for the future.

As CEO of one of the boating industry’s largest companies with manufacturing across the USA, over 1,000 employees, and distribution in 70 countries, I want to do my best to be helpful and constructive. With that in mind, the following are some thoughts I believe will help our country continue to grow even stronger than it is today; I hope you will consider the following:

  • Rise above partisan politics – Mr. President, I have spent time with both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill and in the White House and am disheartened by partisan politics. When I meet with members of either party I realize there are many items (that would be good for our country) on which we mutually agree. However, unfortunately, many seem to focus on the periphery where we disagree and appear to be more interested in their team (party) than making progress. I hope you will step above this and help us all focus on the areas on which we can make progress.
  • Embrace the inevitable aspects of the global marketplace – Mr. President, the world is changing fast and will soon be much different than the world we have experienced the past few decades. I have been privileged to visit over 100 countries and the economic growth I have seen around the world is not only impressive but also provides many customers and great opportunity for the U.S. If we become protectionist the 95 percent of the world who are not in the USA can grow without us. We can compete with anyone so let’s not be afraid to use our influence to develop trade agreements that lower tariffs on U.S. products and level the playing field by requiring other countries to accept reasonable labor and environmental regulation. With this in mind, I respectfully ask you to take another look at the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP); I believe it is an agreement that helps US businesses, will help protect jobs in the U.S., and sets rules that are beneficial to U.S. businesses.
  • Ensure reasonable regulation – Mr. President, the travels I mentioned have taken me places that have no, minimal or unenforced regulations and it is not good. I have been in countries where you are smart to wear a mask to breathe and would never go in the water. Actually, this is how many U.S. cities were during the industrial revolution (before reasonable regulation). As a CEO I don’t want burdensome regulation and can assure you our company will do our best to be responsible corporate citizens and treat our employees and environment right, with or without regulation. However, both history and examples around the world today show us that without some reasonable regulation people and the environment suffer. I hope you will work hard to find the right balance.
  • Help CEOs with our biggest problem: Finding good people – Mr. President, as you know, 10,000 baby boomers retire every day. If you get any 100 CEOs together I’ll bet that at least half of them will say that their biggest challenge is finding good people. The U.S. economy is at risk of being throttled in the years ahead because of this problem. We need an effective immigration policy that will allow good people into the U.S. to help us fill these jobs; immigration has fueled our country’s economic growth for over 200 years and it is in our country’s best interest today.
  • Address income inequality – Mr. President, I fully understand and embrace the model of nicely rewarding those who work hard and take risks; it is the American way. However, income inequality is going to be a huge problem in the U.S. if we don’t address it soon. I have been encouraged to read about Henry Ford’s view on this and more recently David Green of Hobby Lobby’s perspective. U.S. employers can pay fair wages and benefits and still make a reasonable return to their shareholders; in fact, I believe in the long run they improve that return by treating people well.
  • Leverage energy advancement to our broader benefit – Mr. President, as you know technological improvements in both carbon based and photovoltaic energy development will provide the U.S. with a significant energy windfall in the years ahead. I hope we can develop national policies that (instead of exporting that energy) will encourage U.S. manufacturers to use the windfall to process U.S. goods less expensively which will make our products even more competitive in the global market.
  • Embrace technological changes – Mr. President, the technological changes in the years ahead will be more than we can imagine today. While most of these changes will be hugely positive overall, they will be understandably scary to those who will be displaced or lose their livelihoods because of the changes. I encourage you to fully embrace those changes even though they may cause disruption. While we need to assist those disrupted and help them transition to different roles it would be a long-term mistake for our country to take a protective role and slow technological change.
  • Fix our infrastructure – Mr. President, based on your comments during the campaign, you clearly understand the need to improve our infrastructure. I agree and believe we can make these improvements without increasing our national debt. As you work to fix this big problem I encourage you to remember our national debt problem when considering funding alternatives that make the most progress at the least cost.
  • Execute tax reform – Mr. President, as you know, we have big problems with our corporate tax laws. We need corporate tax rates that are globally competitive. However, we all remember experiences in the last few decades where tax reform that was supposed to shrink our deficit actually significantly increased it; I encourage you to look at those examples and determine what we can learn from them. We also need tax reform that will bring to our country the trillions of dollars U.S. businesses hold overseas because of onerous tax rates; these dollars could even be used for the infrastructure improvements we need.

Mr. President, I know you have much more on your plate than just these items but I hope you will consider what I have suggested. You have a unique opportunity to be a different President; one who gets things done. I believe the above will help our boating industry which provides good jobs, will help the overall U.S. economy, and go a long way to ensuring your successful presidency.

Bill Yeargin is the president and CEO of Correct Craft.

7 comments

  1. Well done Bill. I like your stance on inequality of employee pay, that companies can still gain profits for shareholders because employees have been treated well. So much to be said for a happy employee producing the highest results. Work Culture is a huge problem that needs address in many many market places.

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  2. Well penned Bill....thank you for sharing you ideas for growth. Washington should look to corporate cultures like those of CC for both inspiration and our economic heath and wellness.

    Chris

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  3. Bill, you are more statesman than most of those in congress. I do hope you and other businessmen have the chance to dialogue face to face with the president. He is a negotiator and appears to view every challenge as an opportunity to win. If you can continue to make your case while showing him how he wins, how America wins, then perhaps you will get a real hearing with him.
    Thank you for taking the time to clearly articulate sensible challenges to early proposals!

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  4. Bill, your letter is outstanding. I think you have a done great job of expressing the main points / concerns in a very lucid manner. I too have had the opportunity to travel to several countries around the world while heading different regions around the world in a MNC and I share your thoughts 100%. You have hit the nail in the head by stating the most common / biggest problem faced by CEO's of "Finding Good people".

    Well done!

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  5. Outstanding letter. I hope that it reaches the President for it represents the feelings of most individuals that are concerned about the welfare of this country.

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  6. Bill,

    I am a little confused. How much do you make per year? How much do your fiberglass workers in Mississippi make per year. I already know you pay them a little over minimum wage because you have to compete with cheap labor overseas.

    I don't believe it is the government's job to fix income inequality, it is ours, your's and mine.

    Good people rise up when they are rewarded for their work. You are right paying them minimum wage it is hard to find good people.

    As you rightly pointed out Henry Ford was an advocate of his corporation taking care of the small worker because he found out it was cheaper to pay them well than to train new workers.

    As you already know, it is hard to compete when there is a one thousand percent pay differential, that is if you pay a living wage like $20 / hour in the United States of America.

    Yes, new border laws will upset the trade programs that have this country loosing the trade wars we have been loosing for the last 40 years causing the income inequality.

    It is not possible to maintain the standard of living that we in the United States of America have become accustomed to when we are forced to compete with labor at 10% of the cost of labor in this country.

    There is no magic here, we either have to continue on our path to bankrupting the United States of America or we have to fix our financial borders.

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  7. Sorry Bill. You make a great boat, stay out of politics. You clearly do not understand half of it.

    The letter, in some cases is accurate but others, sorely off base.

    Take another look at TPP?? From this I assume you're more liberal which is amazing, but ok, even the leftist rag (not a typo), Huffington post doesn't like it. This is a bad deal for America.

    http://inthesetimes.com/article/18695/TPP_Free-Trade_Globalization_Obama
    Worth the read. This isn't the only article against TPP, there are many.

    -"it gives foreign firms the right to circumvent our courts and attach laws we rely on.There is no limit on the amount of our tax dollars the government can be ordered to pay when foreign corporations successfully argue that their TPP rights have been undermined"

    -"Between 1997 and 2014, America lost more than 5 million manufacturing jobs. The vast majority, according to the Economic Policy Institute, vanished as a result of growing trade deficits with America’s free-trade and investment-deal partners. Some 850,000 jobs were lost to NAFTA after it took effect in 1994. But the numbers on the TPP look even worse. The Wall Street Journal calculates that by 2025, the deal would increase the U.S. trade deficit in manufacturing, car assembly and car parts by $55.8 billion a year. At that rate, based on the U.S. Department of Commerce formula for jobs created by exports, the TPP would cost another 323,000 American manufacturing workers their jobs. That’s almost a million jobs every three years."

    THIS SOUNDS GREAT FOR AMERICA!!!! //SARC

    Help CEOs find good people? Do you know WHY you cannot find good people anymore? Because people are unwilling to do the work.
    They go to school for made up degrees, subsidized by the government with guaranteed loans to walk away with a piece of paper that says...I have debt. And the colleges continue to raise the cost because they know the government will pay the loan and if it defaults it will fall on the student who thought, "Underwater basket weaving" was a great future.

    Furthermore, people are weak today. They won't go into the trades, because for some reason it has been taught that those are looked down upon. I work as an engineer, and 85% of the engineers I work with, cannot turn a wrench. They can do high level math that isn't needed, but when they actually interact with a real part they cannot understand why something happened. "Well FEA said it would work!" Yeah, well guess what, it didn't. Meanwhile, I could build a complete engine that makes ____ insert whatever HP number you want, in a weekend.

    You want to find good people. I can't argue that. But to suggest that it is the governments responsibility for you to find those people, that's ludicrous. How is that the governments responsibility? They're actually the cause of this. The only way the government can help is to stop financially supporting degrees that are meaningless in life.
    Capitalism will work the rest of it out.
    Keep in mind Mr. Yeargin, these immigrants you speak of that have made this country move forward for 200 years were vetted. Well, they used to be. They HAD to come through ONE port at the beginning. They had to bring something to this country, they couldn't be a debt, they had to be an asset. Why should that be any different than today?
    Why should someone coming from overseas on an H1-B visa be allowed to take MY job simply because he/she is willing to work for a lower wage? Granted I am a capitalist, but I am also a natural born citizen of these great United States. With that mindset, you're telling me this person is better than I am. I worked my way up by working in this country and in small part, helped move it forward. Now you put me out of a job and on the government handout, until I can find another job, for hopefully the same money.

    Income inequality...are you referring to male/female? Are you referring to someone that has 17 years experience vs someone walking on the market with their underwater basket weaving degree?

    If, lets say you are referring to the supposed 77cents on the dollar for men to women then all these CEO's you reference are not very good at finance. Because you'd be hiring all women and sitting on your G25 with a cigar and bourbon laughing all the way that you just saved the company 23% just for hiring all women. The fact is, the income gap is a joke. More women today are actually studying STEM, which is why the gap, when COMPARED TO PEOPLE WITH EQUAL experience is marginal to non nonexistent. Even in that light, women, tend to have children, men, not so much. They take off months, to which I agree with and support, but they take this off with income and nothing put back into the company that they work for.

    I don't hear anyone complaining about the WOMEN CEO of GM making 16.2mil a year. She should lower her pay so people beneath her make more money.
    Oh ok. Lets distribute her entire income to every employee of GM, according to google, that's 202,000 people. So each person gets 80 bucks. A year.

    Food for thought.

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