To Attract Investment Dollars, Americans Need a Leader, Not a Cheerleader


To Attract Investment Dollars, Americans Need a Leader, Not a Cheerleader

May 27, 2014 1 min read

Former Jay Van Andel Senior Policy Analyst in Trade Policy

Bryan served as an advocate for free trade through his research at The Heritage Foundation.

President Obama recently hosted executives from foreign-based businesses at the White House to highlight the benefits of investment in the United States. NPR described the event as “President Obama makes a sales pitch for the U.S.”

The event is part of a disturbing trend in U.S. trade and investment policy that seems to be all talk and no action. Business leaders in the United States and abroad are smart enough to base their investment decisions on economics, not sales pitches. However, the U.S. economic environment is increasingly hostile to investment. Whether it’s uncertainty related to the implementation of Obamacare, the boom in federal regulations, or tax policies driving U.S. companies overseas, the United States is becoming a less attractive place to do business.

Instead of leading cheers about how attractive the U.S. economy is to potential investors, here are four proposals President Obama could submit to Congress that would show leadership in actually making the United States more attractive to potential foreign investors:

  1. Reform or repeal the Jones Act, which restricts foreign investment in shipping companies that transport cargo on vessels within the United States;
  2. Remove ownership limits on foreign investment in U.S. airlines, currently capped at 25 percent;
  3. Reduce the corporate income tax rate, the highest in the world; and
  4. Adopt policies that reverse the ongoing decline in U.S. economic freedom.

Foreign investment is a great benefit to Americans, accounting for 5.6 million U.S. jobs. But to attract more foreign investment dollars, Americans don’t need more taxpayer-paid cheerleaders, salesmen, and PR campaigns. We simply need more economic freedom.

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal