Tuesday, April 17, 2012
This election year, much of the talk has been about job, jobs, jobs. Mainly: Where are the jobs going to come from that will juice the U.S. economy? Gallup’s own chief economist, Dennis Jacobe, even testified before Congress recently on job creation.
Let me clue you in on a little secret within the world of free enterprise. When the CEOs of America’s 6 million companies -- small, medium-sized, and large -- get up every morning, including this one blogging, not one of us is thinking about how we can create jobs. That may be the prize for politicians, but it isn’t for us. What every single one of us is thinking about, is how can we create and keep customers. Nobody currently in Washington, D.C., nor in most state or local governments, knows this little secret.
There will be no new quality GDP growth and zero authentic, organic job creation until America’s 6 million businesses create new customers here and overseas. There is no other way. Jobs follow new customers, not the other way around, and only CEOs honestly know this.
So what’s holding back 6 million tiny-, little-, medium-, and big-company CEOs from creating more customers? What’s the biggest problem we face? When Gallup posed this question to small business owners, the answers weren’t what you usually read on op-ed pages or hear from many politicians. The most cited problem wasn’t a lack of credit availability or slack consumer demand.
No, they told Gallup their biggest hurdle is “complying with government regulations.” So, I would argue that the single fastest way to get 6 million businesses sticking their necks out to create customers is to act on this very significant finding. If they want to help, Washington must stop creating new regulations. Stop sending out “new rules.” The more they lead with new rules and regulations, the worse they make things.
I’m not arguing that we don’t need more regulations for labor, the environment, healthcare, the disabled, long-term unemployment, and others. Maybe we do need those things. But Washington shouldn’t be imposing those regulations until customers -- and jobs -- start rushing back.
Bluntly put, our politicians’ timing is backward and misguided. Current leadership is badly misinterpreting the will of 6 million CEOs, among our most important Americans -- the only ones with honest-to-God solutions to creating badly needed good jobs.
Here is the reality: The more government regulations announced and communicated, the more CEO confidence declines. The lower CEO confidence is, the fewer customers there will be. The fewer customers there are, the fewer jobs there will be. Among the people who run America’s businesses, this is no secret.