2. Create a positive climate for business investment, like we had in the 1980s and 1990s under Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush and Democrat Bill Clinton.
3. Restructure the corporate tax code by eliminating complex deductions and credits in exchange for a globally competitive corporate rate of 20 percent.
4. Expand the portfolio of John Bryson, President Obama’s nominee for Commerce secretary, to focus on innovation and job creation. Charge him with working with business to expand exports and new company start-ups, along with leading job growth in large and small companies.
5. Ease the constraints of government regulation, legislation and litigation. For example, get Boeing's dispute with the National Labor Relations Board settled so the company can add 10,000 new jobs to build the 787 Dreamliner in South Carolina.
6. Declare a one-time repatriation tax holiday through 2012. This would enable companies willing to commit to firm investments in factories, research and job creation to bring back the $1 trillion in cash trapped off shore.
7. Pass the free-trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Chile. President Obama must become the advocate for exports and get behind free trade globally.
8. Increase the number of H1-B visas, travel visas and green cards to make America once again an attractive place for immigrants to visit, work and start companies. With thousands of jobs going unfilled in Silicon Valley, we’re encouraging companies to move skilled worker jobs to India and China.
All of these steps are doable without increasing deficits. What they will take is courageous leadership from President Obama to ignore the extremists in both parties and commit fully to economic and jobs growth as his No. 1 priority, even if he has to expend some of his political capital.
President Clinton did so in 1995 in the face of strong Republican and Democratic opposition. He was re-elected, and the nation added 23 million jobs. Now President Obama needs to move from rhetoric to action to restore America's fiscal stability and put Americans back work.
Bill George is a professor at Harvard Business School, the former chairman and CEO of Medtronic, and author of four bestselling leadership books, including
From the roundtable:
Paul O’Neill: Only presidential leadership can restart America’s engine
Bill George:Enough talk about jobs—where’s the action?
Michael Useem: Revising investor capitalism’s mantra
Katherine Tyler Scott: A moral imperative on unemployment
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