By Ian MacLean
We are about to enter into a completely unnecessary recession.
President Joe Biden and his administration have created tremendous inflation. We are all experiencing it. Instead of solving the problem with some obvious solutions, the administration is leaning on the Federal Reserve to solve the inflation problem by ratcheting up interest rates. This will inevitably lead the U.S. into a recession when we are already struggling in so many areas as a country.
What could the Biden administration do to easily bring relief to a buffeting US economy?
Take the leash off the fossil fuels industry. Facilitate U.S. companies being able to drill and refine fossil fuels, in a responsible way. Allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be completed. Just a year ago, the U.S. was energy independent. We are now increasingly dependent on other countries to produce oil and gas. We are buying tremendous amounts of oil from countries, including Russia, when we are potentially on the brink of conflict with them. The cost of fossil fuels today is driving up the prices of almost every product and service that we consume. Whether you are having an HVAC company service your home or buying bacon at the grocery store, their prices are driven by the cost of fossil fuel. These are two examples, but everything between these two vastly different examples is impacted.
Resolve our clogged ports. Easing regulations and ushering in real solutions will remove the first clog that is causing our supply chain woes. There were a few sentences spoken about solving the clogged ports. This is inadequate. The supply chain crisis is continuing to increase and needs attention and solutions. (I am still waiting for the primary Christmas present for one of my beloved daughters as it is trapped overseas somewhere.) And container boxes shouldn’t be loaded back onto ships without something in them. China has fallen billions of dollars short of their pledge to buy from U.S. farmers. The containers could be bringing food to China and fulfilling the agreement made with China. We have heard almost nothing about this.
Eliminate vaccine mandates. Imposing mandates on businesses is causing a massive disturbance in many industries. When so many businesses and industries lose a percentage of their workers, this hurts our economy. Further, imposing vaccine mandates on truckers is absurd. Drop all vaccine mandates on truckers, encourage Canadian leadership to drop vaccine mandates on Canadian truckers so that the port in Vancouver can be utilized fully, and encourage U.S. companies to follow the lead of Starbucks to drop vaccine mandates for their employees.
Get ALL schools open. Although 95% of schools are open, that isn’t enough. That means 5% of schools are closed. If you reopen that 5% of closed schools, untold numbers of parents can return to work.
Work with business leaders to bring their people back to work and back in the office unless they are high-risk individuals. Those of us that that are essential workers have been working every single day through the pandemic. Who are these people that are still working from home and why are they not back to work yet? Are they better than those of us who have to go to work to do our jobs? So many small businesses depend on people going to work in order to survive. There are the obvious businesses like office construction, maintenance, hotels, and barber shops. But there are less obvious beneficiaries from the working-from-home crowd returning to work, like dry cleaners, clothiers, day cares, and hot business lunch spots, to name a few.
Reform immigration. It’s been batted around for years. This would be a game changer for our economy. And immigration reform doesn’t mean letting over two million illegal immigrants flood into the U.S. in a single year. It means establishing a system where businesses can import both talent and labor to fill jobs that U.S. citizens are not able or not willing to do. This is legislation that would easily garner bipartisan support.
Lastly, there should be very few Americans collecting any unemployment benefits at this juncture. Almost every business in the United States is hiring and is desperate for employees at many levels. Those who are too lazy to be a productive member of our society should be jerked into gear (analogy to be understood by those who know how to drive a stick, or even know what that means). There is a short list of legitimate reasons to be unable to work at this time in our economy.
So, why are Biden and his administration taking the approach that they are? Who benefits if the U.S. goes into a recession? Think about it. Re-read the solutions and think about why these solutions are not being worked on. And then … follow the money.
(Ian MacLean is owner of Highland Landscaping Construction in Southlake. He was chosen to chair the Small Business Council of the United States Chamber of Commerce this past November. In this capacity, Ian offers his views as “the voice of small business in America.”