Annual Review & Outlook 2013: National Industrial Transportation League

Bruce CarltonSetting aside all of the negative connotations associated with the number “13,” I believe 2013 will be a year in which we make a positive move forward in the U.S. economy and in the U.S. political system. The two are related.

The November elections should be a springboard for energizing an improved pace of economic recovery. You may not like the results, or you might be very pleased. Either way, we have an outcome with an unambiguous message to Washington’s decision-makers: Get this fiscal house in order, now!

It’s perfectly all right — indeed necessary — to have a loud debate on the “right” course to take. But the American public has put the spotlight (and the onus) on those decision-makers to negotiate and compromise, to find common ground on which to stand. The message was delivered via both winners and losers. Both political parties learned they don’t have an unobstructed pathway to the right solution set. And neither party can be so profoundly tone-deaf to have missed the big message: Reduce federal spending, find additional revenue and solve our unemployment problem. Resetting Washington’s gyroscope should be good for everyone, especially American business.

With key decisions on federal government spending and revenues in hand, businesses large and small finally will know the fiscal roadmap. Capital markets will be reassured, and the stage will be set for an improved climate for business spending and investment.

I believe the Obama administration also heard the private sector’s demands for a midcourse correction on heavy-handed regulation — it was hard to miss. Consumer spending remains the key ingredient to economic well being, keeping those monthly unemployment numbers at the forefront.

Unfortunately, there are at least two dark clouds on the economic horizon: the European economy, and persistent threats to our security. Stay tuned.

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