Monday, June 20, 2011

CAN GOVERNMENT BE PART OF THE SOLUTION?

The U.S. government is an easy target: it taxes too much, spends too much and wastes too much. As businesses like Rotor Clip strive to compete in a global marketplace, it’s tempting to find fault with our government for the undue burden it sometimes places on us through its tax and regulation policies.

But the constant vilifying of our government as the only source of our problems has gotten old. It has become a focus of our frustrations and hatreds that have only succeeded in spawning a venomous kind of rhetoric that grows more poisonous with each passing day.

I’m all for free speech, but while we’re busy taking our government to task for real (or imagined) trampling of our corporate and individual rights, other countries are utilizing their governments to gain a leg up on the competition. Here are some examples of how they’re using that clout:

  1. Several years ago, the government of Germany offered every individual and corporate entity a generous subsidy for every kilowatt of energy fed back into the power grid. This spawned enormous investment in solar energy. As a result, the Germans developed advanced photovoltaic technology surpassing the Japanese as the world’s leading exporter of these products. Also, it is estimated that over 1 million jobs were created as a result of the government’s action. (Source--Make It In America: The Case for Re-Inventing the Economy, Andrew N. Liveris)
  2. The Chinese decided to promote the wind power industry in an effort to meet that country’s future energy needs. As part of the effort, the Chinese government mandated that 70% of all parts used for production of wind turbines come from domestic companies. There were cries of foul from foreign companies and after two years the government relented and lifted the rule. But in that period of time, the country’s domestic suppliers to the wind power industry were well established and ahead of foreign competition. (Source--Make It In America: The Case for Re-Inventing the Economy, Andrew N. Liveris)
  3. The government of Argentina is pursuing foreign food processors like Cargill and ADM for tax evasion. It doesn’t appear to be an attempt to nationalize this industry; rather, it seems that the government is putting pressure on foreign companies and is “interested in having local businessmen in certain sectors it considers crucial.” (Source--Bloomberg Businessweek—April 18-April 24, 2011)
  4. Walt Disney recently opened a resort in Shanghai, China. Despite owning a 43 percent stake in the 963 acre resort, it is sharing ownership with three other state owned companies. (Source--Bloomberg Businessweek—April 18-April 24, 2011)
  5. Japan’s ruling Democratic Party has pledged to increase dramatically the role the Japanese government plays in promoting Japanese companies’ interests overseas. To that end it is assisting Japanese companies with developing a port in North Vietnam and is also considering a major airport project to serve the southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City. (Source--Financial Times, March 3, 2011)

It’s time for a government and business partnership to start solving problems and promoting a worldwide, pro-business agenda that looks out for our interests around the world.

Joe Cappello is Director of Global Marketing for Rotor Clip Company.

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