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American Shipper

Obama backs more balanced regulatory climate

Obama backs more balanced regulatory climate

Obama

   President Barack Obama on Sunday acknowledged his relationship with the business community “has gotten strained” in the course of implementing emergency measures due to the Wall Street and auto industry crises, and controls over the financial and health care industries to protect consumers.

   “I think we've got some repair work to do there,” Obama said in a taped interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes.

   Businesses have been concerned about the difficulty of making long-term plans due to the regulatory uncertainty since Obama came to office. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce heavily supported Republican candidates in the recent election cycle and has fought the White House on many policies it believes could substantially raise costs for companies.

   “I would love a situation in which the private sector is off and roaring and moving and, you know, the government is playing a much more limited role in the economy.

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   “These were exceptional circumstances over the last two years. I think we need to make sure that people understand, and that business understands that, our overarching philosophy is not one in which we have constantly increasing government intervention, although I do think that some of the provisions we put in place to protect consumers, to create a regulatory framework so we don't have a repeat of the kind of crisis in the banking sector — those things have to be preserved,” Obama said.

   The President said part of the hesitation in the private sector is due to the mixed signals in the economy, but he said that his administration should consult with the banking and health care industries as it drafts the rules to implement recent legislation covering those sectors.

   “On the other hand, you know, Apple computer is making an awful lot of money right now under the exact same laws as some other companies. And the main reason they’re making a lot of money is because people are buying a lot of iPads. You know Caterpillar’s selling an awful lot of big machinery and making good profits because they know there’s some demand there.

   “So I think it’s important for us to work to reduce regulatory uncertainty. I think it’s important for us to see are there ways we can eliminate red tape when it comes to how businesses interact with the government. I think getting things like the R&D tax credit for businesses, you know, settled, making that permanent so that people can start making investments, I think that’s something that’s very important.

   “But probably the biggest uncertainty right now for a lot of companies, is there going to be enough demand out there for the products, and we’ve got to make sure that we’re working with them to try to improve that,” Obama said. ' Eric Kulisch

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