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Bill George

Harvard Business School Professor, former Medtronic CEO

Coming Home to America – Part II

Kudos to President Obama for taking the initiative to create jobs, especially in the private sector. After declaring the end of the combat operations in Iraq, he made three crucial announcements on Labor Day that will go a long way in creating jobs and putting the domestic economy on the front burner.

In rapid-fire succession on the campaign trail, the President made the following announcements:

  1. New business investment will get a 100 percent tax write-off, beginning September 8, 2010 and running through the end of 2011. This incentive should unleash a great deal of pent-up capital spending. Most importantly, it will result in sustainable private sector jobs.
  2. Research and development tax credits will be increased and made permanent. There have been R&D tax credits in the past, but they have been temporary, and their renewal has always been subject to the whims of Congress. With the President’s proposal, business leaders will feel secure making these long-term investments. The new products and ideas unleashed by this expanded R&D tax credit program will create new jobs and new companies for years to come.
  3. The Obama administration will invest an additional $50 billion in government-funded infrastructure projects, also fueling new jobs.

Most importantly, these three announcements, coming on Labor Day, signal that the President and his closest advisors recognize the depth of the jobs crisis and are prepared to act aggressively to create sustainable private-sector jobs. That’s good news for all Americans.

Thus, it was disappointing to learn that Republicans and certain leading business lobbyists are already challenging this proposal. Their preference is to extend the upper-class tax cuts pushed through by President Bush. Although no business person likes paying taxes, these targeted moves to increase jobs should be applauded by leaders throughout the business community. It’s the most important move the President has made in his 20 months in office – and he deserves full credit for taking the initiative to “invest in America.”

With 26 million Americans unable to find full-time jobs, this isn’t a time to play election-year politics. It is a time when every elected representative should support the President’s initiatives and help get Americans back to work.