Obama Addresses Business Leaders

February 7, 2011

On Monday, President Barack Obama addressed a group of business leaders at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In his address, Obama talked about building bridges with the business community while at the same time took larger businesses to task for sitting on large cash reserves rather than reinvesting that money in growth and jobs.

Obama reiterated his support for cutting corporate taxes and enacting trade agreements the business community has advocated. Although the majority of the speech was directed toward larger businesses, he did mention the administration’s efforts to address overly burdensome regulations on small businesses. He also cited the health care tax credits as measures his administration is supportive of in terms of aid for small business.

Obama went on to acknowledge the need to repeal the expanded 1099 reporting provisions that were passed as a pay-for in the Patient Protection and Affordability Act (PPACA,) which garnered support from the audience.

The speech largely echoed themes of Obama’s State of the Union address, which were decidedly pro-business. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any mention of the fact that reforming the corporate tax rate cannot be done in a vacuum—broad reform of the entire tax code is necessary, not just for corporate entities. The overwhelming majority of small businesses are pass-through entities and therefore pay business taxes through their individual income tax. Allowing the smallest businesses to pay a much higher tax on their business income than a multinational, multi-billion corporation undercuts any semblance of fairness.

From his emphasis on business growth in the State of the Union, to naming Gene Sperling as Director of the National Economic Council, and now the address at the Chamber, Obama has sent a clear message to U.S. businesses that he is willing to work with us. What remains to be seen is which parts of the small-business agenda he is truly willing to take up.

Please click here to read President Obama’s full remarks.