NEW CASTLE —
What do businesses want from government?
Pretty much what the average individual wants. Businesses want reliable services, ranging from plowed streets in the winter to functioning sewer lines.
And they want taxes that are reasonable and don’t take a big bite out of budgets. Money that doesn’t go to government is available for other purposes.
But there’s something else business needs from Washington. And that’s a measure of predictability. They need to know what government has in mind in a variety of areas, not only in terms of what taxes are imposed, but what government intends to buy and programs it intends to pursue.
Plus, businesses need a sense of what sort of rules and regulations will be in place. They need to know the financial and staffing resources they will need to remain compliant with the law.
And that has been a big problem lately. In many ways, businesses are stuck in neutral, unable to properly plan for the future because they aren’t certain of the direction Washington intends to go with taxing and spending policies.
This is a problem for individuals too; we don’t mean to minimize that. But we think it’s safe to say that government fiscal policies have a broader impact on businesses and what they do, compared to the average individual.
Much has been made of the fact the current economic recovery has been anemic. Yes, the unemployment rate is dropping and things are starting to pick up here and there.
And various factors explain this slow growth, including serious economic problems overseas. But one key issue is the listing ship of state directed by the politicians in Washington.
You may have noticed that the stock market reacted favorably to last week’s agreement on tax rates. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 300 points in a single day.
That was because an element of uncertainty was eliminated. Unfortunately, plenty of other question marks linger into the future. Some are literally weeks away, as Congress still must deal with spending issues. Others involve longer-term questions of the national debt and the health of programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
The benefits of resolving uncertainty in constructive fashion are self evident. Yet Washington appears to be utterly incapable of doing so. Virtually every move Congress makes is steeped in ideological division. Last week’s agreement on taxes ultimately was a relatively straightforward matter that could have been achieved months ago. But political posturing and head butting were deemed to be more important.
Why? One big reason is the way members of Congress are elected today. More on that tomorrow.
NEW CASTLE —
What do businesses want from government?
Our Opinion: Everyone loses with changes in Senate rules
Current squabbles over filibuster rules in the U.S. Senate remind us of an old saying: Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.
Our Opinion: Washington gets a budget deal of minor value
Any bipartisan budget agreement coming out of Congress these days is worthy of note.
Even the one reached this week — which nibbles around the edges of various dicey issues but fails to effectively tackle the federal deficit to resolve key concerns about taxation and entitlement spending.
Our Opinion: Local tax incentive efforts have little in common
There’s been a lot of local activity lately in terms of tax abatement. In New Castle, a proposal surfaced last month to change the existing property tax abatement schedule in the city.
Our Opinion: World should offer more than words, sentiment to honor Mandela
The tributes are pouring in from around the globe in memory of Nelson Mandela. And so it should be. If humanity is fortunate, someone of Mandela’s stature comes along every generation or so.
Our Opinion: Purchase of city house raises policy issues
Having the city buy a house on East Hillcrest Avenue because of neighbor complaints is bad public policy. The house in question was the scene of a shooting in October, in which three people were injured.
Our Opinion: Famed musician faces hate speech charges in France
Bob Dylan always has something interesting to say. Even when it’s not particularly wise or insightful. But Dylan still can contribute something instructive regarding free expression in the process.
Our Opinion: Wilmington district avoids trouble with tuition vote
The Wilmington Area School Board’s decision against giving non-resident teachers free student tuition was the right one.
Our Opinion: IRS seeks tougher rules for advocacy organizations
Americans have a fundamental First Amendment right to espouse and advocate their political views. But do they have a right to expect others to subsidize those views?
Our Opinion: Nation fails to take clear stand on drug’s medical use
To understand the shortcomings in putting state power ahead of federal authority, consider the matter of medical marijuana. Slowly but surely, states have been liberalizing marijuana laws. Every year, more and more states authorize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Our Opinion: Senate Democrats use ‘nuclear option’ and moderation is the victim
Last week’s decision by Senate Democrats to limit use of the filibuster will widen Washington’s partisan divide. Democrats argue they had good reason to end the practice of blocking votes on judicial and executive branch nominees — and they are right.
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- Our Opinion: Everyone loses with changes in Senate rules