U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue gives his annual State of American Business address at 9 a.m. today laying out the business lobby's policy and political agenda for the coming year. Excerpts of the speech provided to the Alley hit on familiar themes for the trade group: creating jobs without raising taxes or the deficit and removing government impediments to job growth, to name a few.
Donohue will also say that the Chamber expects job growth to slow early this year and spend the remainder of 2012 working its way back to 3 percent.
· America's most pressing economic challenge is the lack of sufficient growth to create jobs, expand incomes, reduce government deficits, and fund essential programs.
· Our nation's highest priority must be to put these Americans back to work. To achieve this goal, our economy has to grow much faster than it is today.
· Unfortunately, we think the economy will actually slow down in the early months of the year. We expect growth to average about 2.5 percent in the first half, and then work its way back to about 3 percent by the end of the year.
· The Chamber is putting forward an American Jobs and Growth Agenda with specific ideas to put people back to work-without raising taxes or adding to the deficit. We are calling on our leaders in Washington to work with business and with each other to build a stronger American economy.
· 2012 must not be a wasted year simply because it is an election year. There's no justifiable reason why it should be.
· The business community is excited about building on [our country's] strengths and growing our economy. We're ready to invest, eager to compete, and we want to hire. In many instances, despite all the uncertainties, impediments and risks, our companies and entrepreneurs are forging ahead. Business is leading the way.
· [The business community] must not lose the spirit of enterprise and risk-taking that have served the country and our economy so well.
· If government starts removing the impediments that we have long identified as stifling growth and jobs, then it will be incumbent on business to start taking a few more risks and making some new investments.
· As the Chamber turns 100 in this pivotal year, we are reaffirming our commitment to free enterprise, the greatest economic system ever devised and the driver of America's greatness.
· It's time for government and our fellow citizens to understand that the only way out of the problems we face is to drive economic growth from one end of the country to the other. So let's go do it.