Governor with Real Biz Experience Talks Job Creation

By Donald Sears  |  Posted 2010-11-30 Print this article Print

The state where companies become incorporated--Delaware-- has a business-friendly governor in Jack Markell. Catering to the business community while governing can be a challenging experience when unemployment is high, corporate profits are strong and the government is seemingly unable to get beyond petty party politics.

A recent trip to China spurred Markell to write a column for The Washington Post on what is missing from the jobs debate between Republicans and Democrats. Markell is a Democrat, but is a former McKinsey consultant and an MBA holder. He's no stranger to working for a business, and he's not a stranger to understanding where public and private partnerships can help drive job creation and fuel competition in a global economy.

Markell's column is still a political message of the government can work with business if we pull back the charged rhetoric and look for common ground. While it's easy to say these things, Markell looks at China as a model for where public-private partnership models work without having to raise the ire of Chairman Mao and red-based imperialism. He looks at China as being a business incubator.

He avoids politicizing what's happening in China and seeks to show you how business is being helped by government, and how government is doing all it can to be responsive to business growth issues. He does advocate for allowing more foreign graduates the ability to stay in the country longer (a nod to H1-B visas and green cards without calling them out directly).

Markell wrote:

My perspectives on economic policy were shaped in the private sector; I earned an MBA from the University of Chicago, advised companies as a consultant at McKinsey, helped expand the company that became Nextel and served as an executive at Comcast. I can say with some certainty that those who argue that the "only" way to achieve economic growth is to "get government out of the way" are missing the larger picture.

They ought to listen to the successful executives at that technology park I visited, who credit their partnership with government in helping them create so many good jobs in the following ways: quick action on permits; low-interest loans, especially when the credit markets are difficult; planning the clustering of companies making up the supply chain; and investment in a high-quality transportation infrastructure.

They also ought to listen to the hundreds of American executives who have told me that critical ingredients for them to create long-term growth and long-term careers are highly responsive (not nonexistent) government, predictability of regulation (not lack of regulation), great (public) schools and excellent institutions of higher education (including vibrant state universities), reasonable taxes, a good workforce, a great quality of life and affordable (not unlimited) access to capital.

Increasingly, other nations are doing their best to offer executives those opportunities and policies at lower cost. How do we compete?

It's a compelling argument and one not stops short of calling for huge reform or major changes, but for a reasonable shift in focus from those that think it's all about executive compensation or those that think all government intervention is detrimental. There is a middle ground and that middle ground has a lot of goo technology jobs waiting to come to life. |

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