The Wrong Debate on Immigration

The immigration debate needs some independent thinking, so it was refreshing when New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently visited the U.S. Chamber of Commerce with some recommendations for a new approach to immigration reform. His comments resonated with the very pro-business, pro-growth audience. He advocated that the U.S. should ease visa restrictions on highly skilled workers, business representatives and graduate students. As an entrepreneur investing in American manufacturing companies, I could not agree more. If you visit our company, you will find people of numerous nationalities working together for a common goal. Everyone has been chosen for their abilities. The positive contribution of immigration to our workforce can be found everywhere. This is the beauty of America.... Read More

Bringing It All Back Home: Made in the USA

What do American companies producing ATM machines, auto parts, camping equipment, musical instruments and mattresses have in common? They are bringing their production back to the United States after relocating to Asia. And this is only a smattering of products that have traversed the long and winding road of global trade and are finally back home where they should be. American manufacturers are increasingly stunned by the new math of off-shoring. They are concluding moving half-a-world away to manage a work force in a topsy-turvy, ever-changing environment, brings with it unimaginable hidden costs that eventually erodes any perceived advantages. After years of investing in what they hoped would be profit-soaring overseas operations, they are instead finding their dreams have been built on... Read More

The Land of the Free, Not Freeloaders

Many people are comparing the Occupy Wall Street movement to the Arab Spring uprisings and even the French Revolution. There’s a big difference. America is a Democratic Republic — no such government existed in France at the time or in the Arab countries where enraged mobs took the place of civil order. In this country, we make our voices heard through voting, not rioting. If the government isn’t working for you, elect a new government. That’s what drives the Tea Party movement. Most Americans have no idea what the Occupy Wall Street movement wants, and truth be told, neither do they. They are protesting against and for everything: global warming, gas prices, corporate “greed” and free college education. The Constitution does not guarantee that U.S. citizens will be rich. But it... Read More

Obama Cronyism Destroys Job Creation

To paraphrase an old adage, “You can take Obama out of Chicago, but you can’t take Chicago out of Obama.” As President Barack Obama plied the streets of his Southside Chicago neighborhood rounding up votes for the “Chicago Machine,” he became a quick study of the “Chicago Way” of unbridled cronyism. This is perhaps the most important period of his “hands-on business” education. There’s a Chicago saying that goes: “Nobody wants to talk to anybody that nobody sent.” In other words, if you don’t have political connections with the Mayor’s office, don’t bother to ask for a favor. This was Obama’s orientation to politics, as well as that of his top advisers, most of whom have strong Chicago roots. Obama’s crash course in cronyism now permeates his administration. The... Read More

Obama’s Energy Program Lacks Any Real Spark

In a speech delivered earlier this year at Georgetown University, President Barack Obama proclaimed the United States would adopt a clean-energy standard that requires 80 percent of electricity be generated from clean sources by 2035. His administration defines “clean energy” as nuclear, natural gas and clean coal, as well as renewable sources such as wind and solar. Since the solar panel manufacturer Solyndra has put solar energy in the news for all the wrong reasons, it’s baffling to hear the Department of Energy boast that “solar power will grow steadily, producing nearly a quarter of the world’s electricity within four decades. In the past year alone, grid-connected photovoltaic installations in the U.S. have increased by 69 percent.” So if solar is going gangbusters,... Read More

Memo to Obama: Class Warfare Always Loses

Congressman Paul Ryan has rightfully identified President Barack Obama’s deficit plan as the lead-up to class warfare. While Obama has suggested his plan isn’t class warfare, but rather “simple math,” you may recall that Wisconsin Democrats actually tried to incite class warfare when they attempted to recall three Republican representatives for voting for necessary budget cuts. Unions rallied around the state capitol for weeks accusing Governor Scott Walker of subverting the economic security of working people in favor of the wealthy — in other words, condoning class warfare. Their seditious rhetoric didn’t work and Wisconsin’s economy is now heading in the right direction while unionism has never been more irrelevant. Inciting class warfare won’t work on the national level... Read More

Obama Must Play ‘Big Ball,’ Not ‘Small Ball’

When the President of the United States plans to deliver what should be a landmark speech on job creation but has to change the timing so the speech doesn’t compete with a football game, you know he’s lost most of America. This is a sure signal that people are tuning out his oft repeated messages because they no longer believe he can change the course of this country’s unemployment. I read an interesting piece from a San Francisco journalist that found there have been only seven presidential speeches about economic and business issues before a joint session of Congress since the Great Depression ended. Based on an analysis of these speeches, none of them ever had any “measurable effect on the economy, despite offering ambitious proposals.” Harry S. Truman gave three such speeches... Read More

Five Economic Solutions Obama Won’t Address

President Barack Obama once again will make his tired pronouncements about fixing the economy and creating jobs. Obama’s leadership on the economy has been about as sturdy as the faux Greek columns providing the backdrop to his acceptance speech in 2008. So, what should the president say and do? The quickest way to attack the crisis of confidence in our business community is by lowering taxes on our job creators. Obama believes when a company makes money the owner stuffs the money into their pocket. That’s not the case. Profits are reinvested to grow their business and retain workers. America already has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. If our states were countries, 23 would be the highest taxed countries in the world. The government has plenty of room to cut taxes... Read More

Even Labor Unions Giving Up on Obama

In 2008, then AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said in an interview: “I think that workers are angry and don’t think they’re getting a fair deal and are going to be very, very receptive to the Obama campaign.” The AFL-CIO got behind Obama in a big way deploying more than 250,000 volunteers that made millions of phone calls, distributed millions fliers that resulted in millions of dollars of contributions. That was then. This week, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka told a crowd that without bolder action by President Barack Obama on the economy: “I think he doesn’t become a leader anymore, and he’s being a follower.” During a recent appearance on The Willis Report on Fox Business Network, I said Obama was “too timid, almost child-like” in his initiatives concerning... Read More

Job Creation Starts With Skills Training

As the unemployment rate shows no sign of ebbing, the irony is that there are thousands of good paying job openings; unfortunately potential job candidates are woefully under trained. The term bandied about is the “skills gap” which refers to employees that lack those skill sets sought after by employers. For a stark illustration take a look at the relationship between unemployment and education. Among job seekers that lack a high school diploma, the unemployment rate is 14.7 percent. The unemployment rate for high school graduates but with no college is 9.5 percent. Job seekers with some college or an associate degree are 8.0 percent, while the unemployment rate for college graduates is 4.5 percent. In a recent comparison of academic performance in 57 countries, students in Finland came... Read More