By Gary Shapiro
As head of the Consumer Technology Association, the U.S. trade association representing more than 2,200 tech companies, I work with the administration and Congress to advance and protect the tech industry. That means working with the White House, Republicans, Democrats, and others to advance pro-innovation policies.
As President Obama said the day after the election, we should want every U.S. president to succeed. Working-class America told us that ivory tower solutions were not working, the status quo was unacceptable and Washington needed a total shakeup. If I learned anything from this year’s election, it’s that middle America does not feel compelled to follow the political, coastal and media consensus.
I am optimistic about a Trump administration. Here are five reasons:
1. Trump will be good for the economy — encouraging business growth and new jobs.
President Obama set a great moral example with his family, could be trusted with our nuclear arsenal and had almost no scandal in his administration. But he failed to achieve three percent GDP growth in any of his eight years — among the worst record of any U.S. president.
After eight years of an administration hostile to business growth, I’m looking forward to an unleashed free market to create jobs and grow our economy.
The Trump administration has the potential to remove rules that stifle business and innovation.
2. Trump will rebuild America.
Trump promised that over $2 trillion in profits by American companies made abroad can return at a 10 percent tax rate. That could mean $200 billion pumped into our tax coffers — which can be used to fund infrastructure investment.
Our roads and bridges are crumbling. Our airports are old. World travelers arriving at John F. Kennedy or Los Angeles International Airports are often shocked by how run down these airports are.
Trump is a builder and will make things happen. His projects will be cost-effective, on-time and will create jobs. They will reflect this great nation and the new century.
And Trump is smart enough to require that when roads are torn up with federal dollars, all utility pipes — including broadband — can be checked, replaced or added. There is no better time than now. We can lead the world in the shift to fiber and 5G, facilitating massive and competing broadband. We can build smarter highways, too, cutting down on traffic delays and auto accidents.
3. Trump will create better-paying jobs by changing the incentives and inspiring good corporate citizenship.
We face a shortage of trained electricians, installers, machinists, craftsmen, carpenters, data analysts, programmers, web developers, mechanics and other honorable and important jobs. Yet we treat college students as more precious and important than equally smart people who chose other educational paths.
It’s time to stop looking down on skilled labor and start recognizing our future requires we treat skilled workers comparable to how we treat lawyers or professors. Trump can be a compelling leader for this change as his base constituents are working-class Americans yearning to achieve the American Dream.
I predict also that President Trump will inspire soul-searching discussions in American corporate boardrooms about what it means to be an ethical U.S. corporate citizen. The growing morass of federal rules and regulations has allowed corporate ethics to be defined by legal compliance. But laws alone should not define right and wrong. And it is right for companies to ask what they can do to create better paying jobs.
Businesses can act in their self-interest and the national interest and raise the skill levels and pay of Americans who lost meaningful work as the times and changing technology passed them by. Ethical companies take a chance on and train veterans, people with disabilities, ex-offenders and the economically disadvantaged.
4. Trump’s trade policy will focus on domestic job growth.
Trump talks tough on trade. But I predict he will lead breakthrough deals that are in America’s interest. He won’t abandon the North American Free Trade Agreement and its obvious strategic and commercial value — instead he will modernize it. He could be creative and cut a great deal with Great Britain. And he should resurrect the Trans-Pacific Partnership by enhancing worker protections and preserving the nascent agreement’s value as a strategic tool to match China’s growing strength.
5. Trump has shifted politics and new coalitions and bi-partisanship may emerge.
Five years ago no one would have funded a fantasy movie about a thrice-married, pro-choice, Democrat real estate tycoon becoming the successful Republican candidate for president. It would be too unbelievable!
But the game has changed. Democrats are too often hamstrung by special interests. Their representatives are out of touch. The average age of the top three Democrat House leaders is 76. For Republicans, it is 49.
More Americans are voting across party lines. They’re looking for something in the middle. Trump broke the logjam of possibility. Now it’s possible for groups to reach across party lines and focus on the future of our children. All Americans want to reach further and support redefined or new parties.
One group I am excited about and support is No Labels. It represents nearly 100 members of Congress from both parties and is committed to long-term specific goals solving our biggest problems: energy, job-creation, entitlements and the debt. They recently announced they are creating a $50 million super PAC to support centrist candidates in 2018 who are willing to work across the aisle.
Count me in for the next four years. I am optimistic that we will move forward as a nation and grow our economy. And I will cheer on our president. But I will also make my voice heard urging us to move forward, not backward — and most importantly — work together.
Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™, the U.S. trade association representing more than 2,200 consumer technology companies, and author of the New York Times best-selling books, Ninja Innovation: The Ten Killer Strategies of the World’s Most Successful Businesses and The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream. His views are his own. Connect with him on Twitter: @GaryShapiro