The Corner

Who Takes America’s Competitiveness for Granted?

In a speech to corporate CEO’s yesterday, President Obama made the following comments

We’ve been a little bit lazy over the last couple of decades.  We’ve kind of taken for granted — ‘Well, people would want to come here’ — and we aren’t out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new businesses into America.

Some have keyed on the President’s decision to call the nation “lazy.”  More significant — and revealing — is the President’s comment that “we’ve kinda taken for granted” that companies want to do business in America.  Precisely.  Too many political leaders, including the President, fail to consider how higher taxes, regulatory burdens, failing schools, and deteriorating infrastructure affect corporate decisions about where to invest or do business.  If there’s laziness here, it’s in the lazy thinking that ignores that corporate decisions are motivated by economic concerns, and not patriotic attachments or warm fuzzies about “hope and change.”

Jonathan H. Adler is the Johan Verhiej Memorial Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Business Law and Regulation at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

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