Is corporate America too focused on the short-term?


What ails the U.S. economy, and how could it be fixed? (Lauren Abdel-Razzaq/The Washington Post)

A rich debate is underway at this month's Wonkblog Crowdsourced discussion, on the topic of "What is America's most pressing economic problem, and what policies would you enact to try to solve it."

Here's one argument we found particularly interesting. Reader "cwsjd99" argues that there are overlooked practices in corporate America restraining the nation's economic potential:

A built-in private sector bias for the immediate quarterly profit to the detriment of the economy long-term. If companies are not looking for their product and profitability over longer cycles, then they turn into mere assets to be raided, cannibalized, and spun off to the net effect of decreasing employment and wages, leading to an overall decrease in the ability to consume.

The answer is two-fold. First, we need to return to much more stringent antitrust and banking regulations and oversight, while not limiting the ability of the public to engage in early investment opportunities. This sounds like an impossible goal, but there are opportunities afforded now through the availability of information that were not there thirty years ago. Second, we need to look at our relative tax rates across the board (income, consumption, etc.) and compare them to where we have been historically. If something is badly out-of-whack (I.e. the gas tax), then let's fix it.

There are a range of other interesting comments, focusing on everything from fiscal stimulus and jobs to political dysfunction. Read them all here, contribute your own thoughts, and upvote those you find most compelling.

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Sarah Kliff · November 13, 2013

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