November 3, 2000

Publisher’s Notebook: What business wants in a new president

No, this is not going to be an endorsement of a particular presidential candidate. The Northern Colorado Business Report does not endorse political candidates as a matter of policy.

We do come out for or against certain political issues – such as the ill-advised tax-cut and growth amendments facing voters Nov. 7 – but we do not want to be perceived as either a Republican or Democratic medium.

But that policy, which I brought to this paper from my alma mater, The Denver Business Journal, does not prevent me from telling you what I think business wants in a new president. (No, I do not presume to speak for everyone; I say only what I believe a lot of business leaders think.)

At press time, both Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore are stumping in key battleground states, trying to convince the last vestiges of undecided voters that they are the best candidates for the nation’s highest office. Whoever wins, the decisions he makes will have an intense effect on the economic vitality of the entire nation and, by extension, the entire planet.

What does business want in a president? First of all, business does not vote en masse. We are not one bloc that favors one political party 100 percent of the time, nor do we campaign for an end to all federal regulations and a return to laissez-faire economics.

Talk to business leaders in Northern Colorado, for example, and many will speak out against excessive regulation, but many also will speak out against the excesses of business. Still, we can agree on a great deal.

Here’s what I think business wants in a new president:

” Don’t over-regulate business. While the public must be protected from monopolies, potential injuries to consumers and price gouging, regulation should be kept to a minimum. A new president should commit to a review of the federal bureaucracy as it contributes to red tape. Reinventing government is not enough; we must now reinvent how government relates to the governed.

” Don’t return to the years of deficit spending. No group argued against deficit spending more vociferously than the business community. Projections call for continued surpluses in federal spending, but the president and Congress must not take that for granted. Neither party should promote unbridled additional spending.

” Likewise, paying off the federal debt should be one of the new president’s top priorities. Yes, Social Security and Medicare should be made solvent. But most business leaders I’ve talked with would gladly forgo any tax cut – both the Republican and the Democratic plans – in favor of retiring the federal debt. Many business leaders believe that the freeing up of capital now tied up by the federal debt will have the same economic stimulus as a huge tax cut.

” Protect the environment with vigor. Dirty air and water is bad for business, and no one wants to despoil fragile ecosystems. But realize that extreme environmentalism has costs in terms of jobs for living human beings. Economic effects of environmental policies must be considered.

” Reform the legal system. The cost of frivolous litigation continues to climb. Some form of tort reform is desperately needed. While injured parties should not be discouraged from filing suit, some variation of a “loser-pays” structure would go a long way to repairing the present legal system.

” Ease restrictions on immigration. No problem is as vexing to business as the chronic labor shortage, which is projected to last at least for another decade. Government should lower barriers to immigration and allow more workers, especially those in high-tech fields, to enter the United States.

Do business leaders agree on every issue? No. But I’d suspect that many will concur with the above list.

Christopher Wood can be reached at (970) 221-5400, (970) 356-1683, (800) 440-3506 or via e-mail at cwood@ncbr.com. His fax number is (970) 221-5432.

No, this is not going to be an endorsement of a particular presidential candidate. The Northern Colorado Business Report does not endorse political candidates as a matter of policy.

We do come out for or against certain political issues – such as the ill-advised tax-cut and growth amendments facing voters Nov. 7 – but we do not want to be perceived as either a Republican or Democratic medium.

But that policy, which I brought to this paper from my alma mater, The Denver Business Journal, does not prevent me from telling you what I think business wants in a new president. (No,…

Christopher Wood
Christopher Wood is editor and publisher of BizWest, a regional business journal covering Boulder, Broomfield, Larimer and Weld counties. Wood co-founded the Northern Colorado Business Report in 1995 and served as publisher of the Boulder County Business Report until the two publications were merged to form BizWest in 2014. From 1990 to 1995, Wood served as reporter and managing editor of the Denver Business Journal. He is a Marine Corps veteran and a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder. He has won numerous awards from the Colorado Press Association, Society of Professional Journalists and the Alliance of Area Business Publishers.
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