The strength of the American economy depends on the security of the middle class and a globally competitive private sector. This year, we face the clearest choice in a generation. Americans can choose to revert to the outdated, failed policies of the past that threw our economy into the worst crisis since the Great Depression—or we can choose an approach that allows American businesses and the middle class succeed in the 21st century. To continue moving forward, the government must work in a way that supports American businesses—large and small—as they compete in a global economy. And that’s exactly what President Obama plans to do.
Currently, the government agencies that support businesses operate in a way that is duplicative and unnecessarily complex. As the President has noted, no business or nonprofit leader would allow such counterproductive operations, so “why is it okay for our government?” To save taxpayer money and help bolster competitiveness, President Obama called on Congress earlier this year to restore authority—last held by President Reagan—that would allow him to consolidate all the departments and agencies that focus on business and trade into one more efficient department. This authority would give him the same ability as any business owner to streamline operations to meet changing circumstances and the demands of business. Far from creating more red tape, President Obama’s proposal would require any reorganization to either reduce the size of government or cut costs.
The Romney campaign mocked the President’s proposal to create a Secretary of Business, and launched an ad that claimed the President’s “solution to everything is to add another bureaucrat.” But, as FactCheck.org notes, Romney “misrepresents the president’s proposal … In fact, Obama’s plan actually seeks to consolidate more than a half dozen agencies, trim the federal workforce by as many as 1,000 to 2,000 employees and save $3 billion. In short, it specifically seeks to reduce bureaucracy.”
Here’s exactly what the President plans to do:
Eliminate unnecessary layers of federal bureaucracy: The President has been clear that he’d use his reorganization authority is consolidate six agencies and departments that deal with business and trade, including the Commerce Department, the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, into one more efficient agency with four divisions: Small business; trade and investment; technology and innovation; and statistics. As the President said, the government would now offer “one department, with one website, one phone number, one mission: helping American businesses succeed.”
Cut $3 billion in unnecessary spending: By reducing the size of government; cutting waste; and eliminating duplication, overlap, and unnecessary overhead costs, President Obama’s plan would save taxpayers $3 billion over the next ten years. In fact, the President’s proposal requires that any reorganization plan moving forward must save money or reduce the size of government.
The Obama administration first proposed this plan in January after extensive consultation with the business community. That is why so many business leaders are backing the President’s request for reorganization authority:
Business Roundtable: The head of BRT, former Michigan governor John Engler, supports the President’s request for reorganization authority “to strengthen accountability, improve government efficiency, and produce significant budget savings.” “In the federal government, the President should have the same ability that CEOS and many governors have,” he added.
Entrepreneur Steve Case: “There is broad bipartisan agreement that our government needs to be more efficient and more effective, and the proposal announced today is an important step in that direction. The current fragmented approach to serving the needs of business hurts our ability to compete as a nation, and it makes it harder for entrepreneurs to start and expand the high-growth companies that will fuel our economic recovery. This plan will streamline government, reduce cost and improve effectiveness, while helping to ensure that businesses can compete in the global market.”
Erskine Bowles: As the former co-chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, Bowles said the President’s plan “will make it easier for small businesses to access markets here and abroad” while eliminating “unnecessary barriers, overhead and duplication to make government leaner and smarter.”
Even Republicans would be hard pressed to find a reason they should oppose the President’s request. As the Denver Post noted:
“President Obama’s proposed merger of six large agencies seems like a prudent cost-cutting move in financially trying times ... The plan is designed to give businesses, large and small, better access to government. It is intended to help U.S. businesses export more goods and to grow the economy.”
Read more about the President’s plan here, then share the facts with your friends.