Burdensome government regulation slows job growth and wealth creation, whether it be of long-established industries or, as my colleague Wayne Crews wrote this week, of frontier technologies like drones, driverless cars, and spaceflight. Given the enthusiasm we’ve already seen from the new administration for regulatory reform, a lot of free-market advocates are excited about the opportunity for lifting the burden that government places on American companies and households and embracing the “liberate to stimulate” strategy for economic growth.
With that in mind, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which represents over 3 million businesses, has embarked on what they’re calling the Let’s Grow tour of events around the country, to gather information and stories from the nation’s business owners about how Congress and the White House can best drive economic growth.
When I attended U.S. Chamber President Thomas Donohue’s “State of American Business” address in January, as this tour was about to be launched, he made an important point about how we should think about setting up Americans to succeed:
…it is important to understand that growth is not just a proposal or a bill. Growth is a philosophy. You have to believe that economic growth is the foundation on which a prosperous, secure, and compassionate society rests.
Growth is a choice—and not always an easy choice. It’s tempting, especially in politics, to put other priorities ahead of growth—priorities that may please the voters or satisfy the demands of one constituency or another.
Policymakers in D.C. and around the country face complex decisions, often involving difficult trade-offs. Many politically influential groups will favor short-term stimulus strategies that involve spending ever more taxpayer money or, through policies like tariffs, taking ever more money from consumers. We know, however, that leaving competitive markets free to maximize benefits for everyone—as markets have an uncanny way of doing—will have a far more positive effect than any trillion-dollar spending plan that Congress dreams up.
As Wayne likes to say, we don’t have to teach the grass to grow, we just need to move the rocks off the lawn. While the policy landscape is far from perfect, we have the best opportunity in a long time to clear the field for growth and prosperity in the United States. I look forward to seeing the contributions of the Chamber’s Let’s Grow campaign to that effort.