Monday, February 7, 2011

"Obama asks business to get off 'sidelines,' invest $2T in economy"

He's the Commander-in-Chief but I'm guessing the audience didn't respond "Sir! Yes Sir!".

From The Hill:
President Obama on Monday implored U.S. businesses to start investing the $2 trillion they hold in reserves in the U.S. economy.

Speaking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for the first time in his presidency, the president asked members of a group he has openly feuded with to “get off the sidelines” and invest in the economy.

“I know that many of you have told me that you are waiting for demand to rise before you get off the sidelines and expand, and that with millions of Americans out of work, demand has risen more slowly than any of us would like,” Obama said.

“But many of your own economists and salespeople are now forecasting a healthy increase in demand. So I want to encourage you to get in the game.

“So if I've got one message, my message is now is the time to invest in America.”

Obama used his speech to tout areas of agreement between his administration and the Chamber, but he also did not shy away of addressing issues of disagreement, including the healthcare law opposed by many businesses and an upcoming battle with business and Republicans over regulations....MORE
And from the National Association of Manufacturers Shopfloor blog:

An Unclear Historical Analogy
Your correspondent, a speechwriter in various stagaes of his career, was puzzled by the President’s closing remarks in his speech at the Chamber of Commerce this morning:
Yes, we’ll have some disagreements. Yes, we’ll see things differently at times. But we’re all Americans, and that spirit of patriotism and that sense of mutual regard and common obligation, that has carried through far harder times than the ones we’ve just been through. Now I’m reminded toward the end of the 1930s, amidst the Depression, the looming prospect of war, FDR, President Roosevelt, realized he would need to form a new partnership with business, if we were going to become what he would later call the Arsenal of Democracy. As you can imagine, the relationship between the President and business leaders during the course of the Depression had been rocky at times, had grown somewhat fractured by the New Deal, so Roosevelt reached out to businesses, and business leaders answered the call to serve their country. After years of working at cross-purposes, the result was one of the most productive collaborations between public and private sectors in American history. Some, like the head of GM hadn’t previously known the President and if anything had seen him as an adversary. But he gathered his family, and he explained that he was going to head up what would become the War Production Board. And he said to his family, “This country has been good to me, and I want to pay it back.” I want to pay it back.

And in the years that followed, automobile factories converted to making planes and tanks, and corset factories made grenade belts, a toy company made compasses, a pinball machine maker turned out shells. 1941 would see the greatest expansion of manufacturing in the history of America, and not only did this help us win the war, it led to million of new jobs and helped produce the great American middle class. So we have faced hard times before. We have faced moments of tumult and moments of change, and we know what to do. We know how to succeed. We are Americans and as we have done throughout history, I have every confidence that once again we will rise to this occasion, that we can come together, we can adapt, we can thrive in this changing economy. And need to look no further than the innovative companies in this room. We can harner your potential and the potential of your people across this country, there’s no stopping us.
This is confusing. Is President Obama supposed to be FDR in this analogy? If so, is he hinting he’s abandoning the modern-day equivalents of the National Recovery Administration and Wagner Act unionization for a more cooperative approach toward business akin to WWII industrial policy?...