The New Year is a time for resolutions—resolutions we commit to as a means to better ourselves and the communities around us. As nationwide job losses for December reached the 85,000 mark and with an unemployment rate holding at 10 percent, it is time for our country to make a resolution that we will take on in earnest the challenge of restoring our nation’s economy. There is no better time than now for Louisiana to join in this effort and to demonstrate how the creative and hard-working people of our state have contributed and will continue to contribute to the success of our nation.
Economists predict we need to create 20 million jobs throughout the country over the next 10 years. Here in Louisiana, we need 65,500 of those jobs. As a state, the only way that we will be able to take on this historic challenge is to join together in a spirit of collaboration and resolve to create an environment conducive to economic growth. It is in this spirit that the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry has pledged support for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s American Free Enterprise. Dream Big. campaign. This campaign is aimed at engaging Americans nationwide in an ongoing dialogue about the benefits of our free enterprise system – the only system capable of creating the jobs we need for the long haul—and about how to preserve this system and ensure American growth and prosperity for generations to come.
Louisiana is a perfect partner in this effort. From Tabasco to the artificial heart, Louisianans are no strangers to innovation, the lifeblood for sustained job growth. Our state is home to one of the most creative economies in the nation. During 2007-08, 110 movies and TV shows were filmed at least partially in Louisiana. This production paid over $316 million in local wages. Automobiles, parts for the space shuttle, refined gasoline, and forest products that provide housing for the nation are just some of the products produced by Louisiana businesses and workers. These endeavors should serve as a reminder that without the American free enterprise system, the economic growth that benefits all of us would not be possible.
But we can’t just sing the praises of free enterprise. We also have to take action. In Louisiana, as in Washington, D.C., we have to put in place policies that allow free enterprise and the growth it fosters to flourish—and beat back those that don’t.
We need policies that allow businesses to grow and thrive; help educate, cultivate, and equip the next generation of young entrepreneurs; and don’t burden businesses with excessive taxes and new regulations. And we need policies that embrace the principles of fair trade and enable growing companies to reach new markets. With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside the U.S., the global marketplace is our biggest opportunity for economic growth.
In his recent annual address on the state of American business, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue outlined the business community’s priorities for accelerating economic recovery and presented an agenda for job growth while discussing the critical role that free enterprise will play in getting Americans back to work in 2010. We welcome this leadership and dedication to our country’s economic well being. To be sure, the state of Louisiana will do its part to get America back on the path of growth and prosperity.
To learn more about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Campaign for Free Enterprise, visit www.FreeEnterprise.com.