ALC President – Matt Jensen
By the time all of you are reading this, the holidays will have passed and for many of you, winter will be in full swing. I would like to wish all of you a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. The holiday season is a time to reflect on the past year and surely a time to be thankful. I’m sure that all of us, at one time or another, aren’t satisfied or happy with our work or business situation. Putting things into perspective, having a supportive family and friends, raising a family in rural America and having an occupation that I truly love are some of the things I am thankful for.
With the start of 2011, a new Congress will be in session in Washington, DC. As I am writing this article, Congress and President Obama have been debating the Bush era tax cuts. The Republicans have vowed to keep them in place while President Obama would like to let the cuts expire for the wealthiest Americans and keep them in place for the middle class. The so called “rich” would have income of $250,000 or higher, which include many small businesses.
This has the President in hot water with his liberal base. When then Senator Obama was running for President, he claimed the Bush tax cuts were only benefiting the richest Americans and not the lower or middle class. If the tax cuts expire, this could affect thousands if not millions of small businesses across the country.
Let’s hope that Congress has enough insight to realize that raising taxes in such a sluggish economy would have a negative impact on economic recovery. The longer Congress debates this issue, the longer the uncertainty and lack of confidence continues. Many of us in the logging and trucking businesses would like to replace equipment or in some cases expand. In this climate it makes it a little hard to plan for the future.
My prediction is that the lame duck congress will let the tax cuts expire or pass a less than desirable bill and the new congress under Republican majority will quickly pass and reinstate the tax cuts retroactive to January 1st. It is very frustrating to see our top leaders have a meeting with the President only to come out shaking hands, “back slapping” and talking about what a productive discussion they had while the American people wonder what kind of back room deal they might make.
It is very easy to see what political football this has become. It will only be a matter of time to see who in Congress will go on record to vote for a tax increase in President Obama’s words “the worst economic times since the great depression.” All this being said, whatever the tax implications may be for Americans, the Federal Government will surely spend those dollars and then some. It is my hope that the 112th Congress will pass pro-growth legislation like meaningful tax law reform, including a reduction in the capital gains and corporate tax rates. To my knowledge the corporate tax rate in the U.S. is among the highest in the world, and that has to change if we are truly going to stay competitive in the global economy.
I’m sure many of you would agree that the U.S. would be very difficult, if not impossible to defeat militarily, with our technology and superb men and women in the armed forces. My concern is that with the debt owed to countries like China we could be defeated economically without firing a shot.
We, as members of the American Loggers Council and owners of logging and trucking businesses across the country, must continue to engage our elected officials. You may think your calls to congressional offices are meaningless, but they really do matter. In 2011, my hopes that all of you will remain engaged in the ball game and we all will claim victory at the goal posts.
Matt Jensen is the President of the American Loggers Council, which represents over 50,000 logging professionals in 30 states. Matt’s operation, Whitetail Logging, is headquartered in Crandon, Wisconsin.. For more information please contact the American Loggers Council office at 409-625-0206 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.