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Lessons for our ongoing economic recovery

by Ana Lopez
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During the State of the Union Speech On Tuesday, President Biden spoke about the historic progress the country has made in recovering the economy from a pandemic that has left millions out of work and closed stores on major streets across the country. While the economy remains a work in progress, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on how far we’ve come and how we got here. Perhaps in doing so, we can discover some lessons about how to accomplish the work that remains to be done.

Two years ago, the country faced generational economic challenges. Since:

  • We’ve seen the strongest two years of new small business applications in US history
  • More than 12 million jobs have been created, including more than 750,000 jobs in manufacturing
  • Unemployment is up 3.4%, the lowest level in 53 years
  • Annual inflation falls, and real salaries are rising
  • GDP grew by 2.9% last quarter

Lesson 1: Center small businesses in recovery efforts

Here’s a truly stunning statistic: Small businesses are responsible for all net job growth in the US since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and account for nearly four out of five available jobs in today’s booming job market, according to a new study. Wall Street Journal and Jefferies analysis.

That could be a harbinger of better things to come, as historically, the strength of small businesses bodes well for the country’s economic prospects. It wasn’t that long ago that small businesses led the way out of the Great Recession by creating two-thirds of all new jobs. It is also a confirmation of economic policies that put a lot of emphasis on small businesses. The American Rescue Plan, the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPS Act, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law all create opportunities and support small businesses as they navigate a bumpy economic landscape. When small businesses thrive, we all thrive.

Lesson 2: Collaborate

Another important lesson is what can be achieved through cooperation. Much of that legislation passed with bipartisan support — a rarity in the Capitol for years. To build on this tremendous progress, our leaders in Washington must continue to work together to find solutions that foster economic growth and opportunity.

But while we saw a lot of progress in the last Congress, in the new Congress some want to return to the politics of division – to the detriment of many.

Declared goals by some in Congress to cut the tax office would reduce tax enforcement capabilities and take away resources the agency needs to get modern equipment and make the agency more user-friendly. A proposal to replace the tax law with a 30% sales tax would increase the tax burden on working-class families. And standard on the federal debt would be a devastating setback to our economic benefits. For the sake of a country and economy ravaged by a once-in-a-lifetime event, we must avoid the lure of partisanship and remain focused on creating an economy that works for everyone.

Lesson three: strong democracy is good for business

Shaken by the Capitol uprising, business leaders across the country have their to vote in support of strengthening our democracy over the past two years. Entrepreneurs know that the United States has built the most powerful economy in the world, thanks in no small part to the stability of our government and the peaceful transition of power that we have enjoyed for generations.

Research from the Business & Democracy Initiative shows that 85% of business leaders believe that capitalism in the US depends on a well-functioning democracy, and rightly so. Unstable governments are believed to be likely to interfere with free markets and to be generally unsafe global investments, wreaking havoc on the credit markets companies depend on to fuel growth. Thanks to the alarm signals from the business community, among others, voters voted at the ballot box during the midterm elections and elected politicians who took the threats to democracy seriously and promised to uphold the election results. And President Biden signed the bipartisan Suffrage Reform Act into law, strengthening the electoral process on which the economy depends. Building on that important federal action to modernize the presidential election process, business leaders must also appear at the state level to protect our democratic institutions — and push back attempts by state legislators to limit voting access.

State-level elections between now and 2024 will also play a major role in determining the resilience of our democratic institutions, such as the upcoming election for an open Wisconsin Supreme Court seat that could tip the balance from anti-democratic decisions to upholding and promoting democracy. from fair cards to expanding access to voting in the state of the battlefield.

Lesson four: Implement legislation to make sure it works for everyone

In recent years we have seen what can be achieved if there is a will to focus on the needs of entrepreneurs and employees. And while we’ve come a long way, there’s still plenty of work to do, so let’s keep pushing. In rebuilding the economy, we must ensure that everyone has opportunities. The economy is strongest when it is inclusive and built from the bottom up and from the center. The legislative achievements of the past two years provide us with the tools we need to do just that.

The implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS Act, Inflation Reduction Act and the American Rescue Plan, all of which will invest billions of dollars nationwide, presents a real opportunity for business and the private sector to work together and engage engage with mayors, governors, and communities of color to build an inclusive, equitable, and resilient economy for all. We have to grab it.

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