By Bill Yeargin
2020 is a U.S. presidential election year with the first caucuses and primaries right around the corner. Before we know it, November will be here, and the citizens of the U.S. will be voting.
Election years in the U.S. are interesting because they result in a unique and intense focus on political topics that is beyond the usual political discourse.
Below are some issues I hope our current and potential leaders will consider in the months ahead:
- Future technology – The world is changing incredibly fast and new technology will dramatically impact everyone on the globe. New energy sources, new energy storage, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, IoT, quantum computing, virtual and augmented reality, robotics, 3D printing and a host of other technological developments, driven by exponential increases in computational power, will change our world and reset the global stage. The U.S. is in a unique position to embrace these changes and lead the world economically for many more decades, however, if instead we decide to cling to the past, the results will not be good. I hope our leaders will be forward thinking and embrace the inevitable changes. If our leaders challenge the U.S. to be the global leader in each of these areas (think moonshot), the benefits will be huge and last for decades.
- Immigration – In the past year our company lost two valuable employees who went to universities in the U.S., but, were made to go back to their home country shortly after graduating. These were uniquely talented people who wanted to be contributing citizens in the U.S. We need an immigration system that allows smart people who will not only be contributing taxpayers but will also make the U.S. stronger, to stay and be part of our society. Making smart people who are happy to work hard, pay taxes, innovate, and make us a better country leave the U.S. seems to be against our national interests.
- Budget deficit – It’s hard to believe that 20 years ago our government was running budget surpluses with paying off the national debt in sight. Unfortunately, the federal budget deficit skyrocketed when the U.S. decided to fight two wars on a credit card and then the deficit exploded with the Great Recession. After the Great Recession, the federal budget deficit was steadily decreasing until tax cuts and significant spending increases have caused it to rise steeply once again the past couple of years. Sadly, our annual deficit has increased back to $1 trillion and the federal debt is now over $20 trillion. We must implement discipline into our federal budgeting or risk leaving a huge mess for our kids and grandkids.
- Trade – Over the past three years, the U.S. has been working to fix difficult problems imbedded in the global trade system. For two years I co-chaired a trade and tax committee which advised the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, so I fully understand and agree that there are trade problems that need to be addressed. However, we need to work hard to get a deal complete (particularly now with Europe) and give U.S. businesses some relief from the challenges of dealing with a global trade war. Higher costs from product tariffs, retaliatory sales tariffs, and lower global sales are hurting many U.S. businesses. I have been to the White House to discuss this and understand what we are trying to accomplish; but we need to speed up the process.
- Inequality – This election cycle has focused significant attention on the gap between our country’s richest and poorest people. There is a concern about inequality that many people consider justified. I certainly understand this concern and we have plenty of problems that you would not expect in the world’s richest country. However, we need to figure out how to fix the problems without destroying the system that creates the wealth needed to solve the problems. The wealthiest Americans don’t have enough money to fix our problems; if we took ALL the money held by U.S. billionaires it would only fund the federal government for a few months. Let’s be sure we figure out how to help those who need help without destroying the system that creates the wealth needed to fix the problems.
- Environment – The U.S. needs to find the right balance on environmental regulation. We clearly need a clean environment, not only for our enjoyment and health but also to maintain a good business atmosphere. The reality is that businesses left unregulated have proven they fall short on environmental stewardship. We need regulatory balance that protects our environment while allowing employers to create jobs we all need.
Obviously, there are more issues being considered this election year than I have noted above. However, I hope each of the issues above will be fully considered by our current and potential leaders running for office. How we handle them will significantly impact our future.
Bill Yeargin is the president/CEO of Correct Craft, and a long-time contributor to Boating Industry.