America and Long-Range Economic Policies

As the CEO of IPC, I must be constantly aware of my people, teams, and organization, the global
economy and crisis hot spots, inflation, and even elections and politics. Working internationally
as I do, I understand that companies thinking of investing in America are understandably
concerned about our politics. But it is not based so much on who sits behind the Resolute Desk.
It is that in the American system, politicians seem to be more interested in trying to get the job
than actually doing the job. They are more interested in trying to be elected. What I mean by
that is our country flip-flops on major initiatives every election cycle. If a new party is in the
White House, they undo the economic initiatives of the previous inhabitant.

Then, once they are in office, it too soon becomes about getting reelected. What will their
constituents say? They worry about being popular on social media feeds or potentially getting
blasted for whatever position they take. Instead, what we as a country should be saying is, what
are the hard decisions that are going to make a difference in this country—and that can also be
said for any state or county. It is about trying to solve the right problems and saying, “If I lose
the next election, but I did the right thing and we are better off as a country for it, then I did
okay.” That is the attitude our country needs.

One of my favorite quotes, which a boss of mine shared with me goes something like this: “I
think anybody who wants to be the president of the United States should be immediately
disqualified.” Basically, he joked we should find the best, most talented person and drag them
kicking and screaming and force them to do the job for the next four years. I am sure many
people have heard that same type of anecdote or suggestion. It is not original, but there is
something to it. It's about doing the right things for the country and having someone who is the
best—but not in it for himself or herself.

The hope is that that type of reluctant leader might actually effect real change to this system
we have. We all know change is difficult, but inevitably, it helps us in my experience. When I
came to IPC, I started changing things and my friend and vice president, David Bergman, said, “I
thought you were going to kill the organization, but we're now stronger and better than we
ever have been because we went through those changes.”

One reason I contemplate how it is our politics fail us is comparisons to some countries in
Asia— places I travel to and work with extensively. For example, many countries in Asia will
make an economic plan, and they will lay out a five-year or ten-year plan, and businesses can
thrive or pursue around that vision—for the long-term, not based on who wins an election.
They give support to it. This is one of the big differences for businesses between many places in
Asia and the United States, and why many companies have a hard time investing in this
country; we have regulatory whiplash.

The United States has so many things going for it. But investors and companies don't know if
the rules are going to change next year. The way administrations switch and undo what
previous administrations did gives those thinking of setting up operations here a great deal of
uncertainty. And uncertainty slows investment by companies. It is time to address this and
come to a bipartisan understanding of how this harms investment in the United State, holding
the U.S. back in this time of unprecedented technology and change.