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Cisco, GE Appliances and the U.S Economic Environment

Posted by Dirk Beveridge on Thu, Oct 21, 2010 @ 05:02 AM

It seems our blog post yesterday titled Our Economic Environment and The Mid Term Elections was timely.  In addition to the great insight and comments from fellow readers of this blog suggestingJohn Chambers the need to create an environment that is conducive to business growth, John Chambers, Chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems and Safra Catz, President of Oracle Corporation had a pointed opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.

Their article, The Overseas Profits Elephant in the Room outlines a thoughtful and constructive idea that can help our economy get going again by creating “a privately funded stimulus of up to a trillion dollars … while raising up to $50 billion in federal tax revenue.”  Their idea is to permit American companies to repatriate foreign earnings by lowering the tax rate from the current 35% down, to a reasonable 5%.

This influx of investment could and would then be used “for creating jobs, investing in research, building plants, purchasing equipment and other uses.”

Creating Jobs In America

Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to hear Jim Campbell, the CEO of GE Appliances speak to one of his larger distributor customers.  During the Q & A, he was asked about his division’s plans to move jobs back to America from China.  I was impressed by what seemed to be not only a profit driven motive but also a dutiful motive to help our country and hard working Americans.

He clearly outlined the need for business investment and stated that pharma r&Dhe believes our national commitment to R & D is worse than troubling.  He shared that Japan invests three times as much in R & D as the U.S - Europe’s “Big Five” invests twice as much, outlining a manpower and investment imbalance that in his words “is just not impractical – its impossible, and must be turned around.”

Our ability to build and market advanced technology (think GE Appliances, Oracle, Cisco Systems, and others) is eminently exportable and “the exact sort of catalyst needed for shareholder return, economic growth, and job creation” – three things we desperately need right now in the U.S.

Take a look at the video below where just three days ago Mr. Campbell announced that GE Appliances will be investing $432 million dollars and adding 500 jobs to create U.S. Centers of Excellence for refrigeration products.  And he doesn’t stop there – he discusses GE’s commitment to a renewal in American manufacturing as a vital piece of the U.S. economy.

Elephant In The Room

I know with the genius, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit of American business – there are many GE’s out there that are waiting for improved regulatory, government intervention, and tax policies so that they too can take the risks that are needed to get their business back in a growth mode and be a part of turning this economy around.

Let’s keep talking about the Elephants in the room!

Topics: Leadership, Excellence, Economic Impact, Economic Environment, Politics

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