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The Importance of Voting This November

Chairman's Column - September 2016

Richard W. Schwartz, NAW 2016 Chairman of the Board, and Chairman of the Board, Winsupply, Inc.

When deciding who to vote for in the November general election, it’s certainly important to consider the impact on our economy – and on your livelihood – that this choice between the two major presidential candidates and their parties will have. For evidence, look no further than the economic recovery since the Great Recession.

There have been 30 economic contractions since 1870, and only two have failed to rebound strongly after severe recessions: the Great Depression and the Great Recession. From 1948 to 2007, according to the Commerce Department, the U.S. economy grew at an average annual rate of 3.5 percent. Last year the real gross domestic product in the U.S. increased just 2 percent.

And it’s even worse this year. GDP increased at an annual rate of only 1.1 percent in the second quarter of 2016. In the first quarter, real GDP increased a meager 0.8 percent. Based on historical recoveries and other factors, the Congressional Budget Office had predicted a growth rate in 2016 of 3.1 percent. We are nowhere near that rate of growth.

What do the sluggish recovery periods following the Great Depression and Great Recession have in common? Big increases in federal spending, rising national debt, higher tax rates, and a tidal wave of new laws, regulations, and executive orders that choked business and industry.

The current Administration has asserted government control of the economy with evermore red tape, and fees and fines in dominating health care, financial services, energy production and manufacturing. We’ve certainly seen and felt the devastating cost of these actions‎. 

This Administration’s executive departments and agencies have moved aggressively to impose burdensome, costly, time-consuming and pro-union regulations on business at all levels and in all industries. Virtually all of the federal departments and agencies have promulgated significant new rules and regulations.

In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece written by Phil Gramm, the former chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and Michael Solon, a partner at U.S. Policy Metrics, they concluded, “The dominant lesson of the Great Depression and the Great Recession is that when government overspends, overtaxes and over-regulates, economic freedom is suppressed and economic growth vanishes. When growth fades, it takes the American dream with it. Give America back its economic system of freedom and opportunity, and the ensuing growth will bring back the American dream.”

When making your choices for President, members of Congress, and state and local offices, consider which candidates are most likely to continue the policies of higher spending, higher taxes, and stifling regulation that cripple free enterprise, and which are most likely to throttle back government spending and give companies the freedom to innovate and grow without burdensome and restrictive rules.

Making your own choices and deciding who you will vote for is only part of what you can do to impact the electoral process. Not only can you cast your own vote, you have the ability to ensure that your employees also understand the importance of participating in the elections, and you can make that participation easy for them.

NAW has an election tools system that puts voting information at your fingertips – and at the fingertips of your workers – at the click of a button.

You can put a VOTE button on your company website, send your workers to your site, and when they click on the button they will be taken to NAW’s election tools page where they will find all the information they need. 

My company, Winsupply, has put the VOTE button on our employee website to encourage our workers to get involved. I encourage you to do the same. To see a screen shot of our VOTE button page, go to: https://www.naw.org/files/Winsupply.pdf

To see how the VOTE button works, and to add the VOTE button to your company website, go to https://www.naw.org/govrelations/voter-button.php. Specific, simple instructions are included for your webmaster.

Our economy – our livelihoods – should be expanding at greater rates, leading to more jobs, higher gross domestic income, and more opportunity for all Americans. It can, and it starts with making changes in November.

Those changes will only be made if we all do our part. Vote, and encourage your team to do so as well.