From FDR's playbook, how about a reset with business?

  • Article by: STEPHEN L. CARTER , Bloomberg View
  • Updated: November 23, 2012 - 6:31 PM

Here's my advice for President Obama as he embarks on his second term: Follow the example of one of your heroes, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Not the Roosevelt of the first two terms, but the Roosevelt of the next two. The Roosevelt who won the war.

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nonewtaxesNov. 23, 12 8:01 PM

But all profits are evil.

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pitythefoolsNov. 24, 12 7:04 AM

During WWII US Corporate Tax Rates grew and peaked at 53%. Which meant the government could afford to subsidize private businesses like Ford's. Now the US has the lowest effective corporate tax rate of any industrialized nation. Privatization is not better or cheaper than government when the profits are privatized as well. Money must circulate for a healthy economy. Not sit in corporate titans off shore accounts.

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cstoney48Nov. 24, 12 9:51 AM

Gee, cooperation and compromise as a philosophy for governing the country. What a novel, revolutionary idea!

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hobie2Nov. 24, 1210:14 AM

"Everyone agrees that the economy is recovering from the recession far too slowly." WRONG!! First, the last fiasco was deep and structural. If we hadn't had Social Security to break the fall, it would have been a Depression (remember that Social Security was put in place as a steady base money supply for the US economy - and for most economies at the time - to prevent slamming into the bottom in a fall to drastically reduced money supply and creating a depression.), and the 2007-2011 recession was not some 18 month over-reach-in-a-sector blip recession. It was a structural recession of wealth imbalance, and it is moving back fairly well for that kind of recession... Second, if we come back too fast, we have serious inflation, which would break the back of the economy. Economists fear high inflations far more than depressions - some countries are still recovering from hyperinflations, decades later... The economy is coming back just about right given the systemic disasters of 2001-2008, thank you

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luzhishenNov. 24, 1210:59 AM

"Roosevelt had to recognize that the business community that he had antagonized and alienated during his first two terms in office held the key to the nation's survival" He antagonized them by not giving them a zillion new tax breaks or destroying the remnants of the middle class. We already have Big Business running our wars - at incredible profits, with no war taxes - while the oligarchs put every dime and job they can into our rival, China. The same businesses that have no problem employing workers at wages that put them on government assistance (another subsidy) and have hundreds of millions to invest in the worst sort of political advertising deserve nothing special.

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jdlellis1Nov. 24, 1211:48 AM

In this anti-business climate, what many do not understand is how a society builds wealth. 1 - Capitalism is not a zero sum game (ask Bill Gates' first secretary/receptionist) who is now a millionaire). 2 - Individuals (engineers, sales, manufacturing) all deserve to be compensated. There is a cost to do business (TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch). 3 - Profits are a picture in time (think short term). A financial statement shows the viability of an organization short and long term. 4 - Providing social services is no more noble than being an entrepreneur who provides jobs, salaries, benefits for its employees. 5 - Wealth is created by understanding and managing money (Net Present Value and Present Value/Future Cash Flow). Wealth is what has allowed us as a society to travel as we do, connect via a myriad of technologies and feed the masses with abundance.

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mylittleidNov. 24, 1212:00 PM

Reuters' David Cay Johnston used IRS data to show that U.S. corporations are sitting on $5.1 trillion in idle liquid assets. Corporations are hoarding their cash in response to one of the worst recessions this country has ever seen. Does Mr. Carter really think that if only President Obama would make nice with these corporate leaders they would climb down off their piles of cash and get to work fixing the economy?? This may be a nice fantasy in which Carter gets to blame the Obama administration for the slowness of the recovery, but it has very little to do with economic reality.

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viktorvaughnNov. 24, 1212:28 PM

It's strange that the writer uses FDR relationship with business as an example of letting business lead. Within twelve days of Pearl Harbor, FDR completely nationalized the country's economy. He told Henry Ford (previously a Nazi sympathizer and trading partner with Hitler) he's no longer allowed to make cars, his factories will now make planes, or whatever the government needs for the war efforts. Almost overnight the economy became top-down centrally planned. The allocation of resources and labor was done according to the edicts of the Whitehouse. Maybe this isn't a good example for what you'd like to see Obama do?!

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