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March 25, 2015 | by Steve Lawrence

Why Business Must Make Friends with the Democrats

Economist Peter Morici on the impact of focused lobbying

“You’ve got to take the democrats more seriously.”

That was a bit startling, coming from an admitted conservative. But also quite useful coming from a political realist. 

Peter Morici, economist and professor of international business at the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, spoke plainly at the MSCI Carbon Conference about the encouraging direction of the economy and the political maneuvering needed to sustain it. “Things are getting better,” he said and “the economy is better than it looks.” Morici, to his credit, has a better record for accuracy than many of his peers. His numbers show slow but steady growth ahead, a 2.6% to 3.0% GDP growth rate over the next 12 months. 

“Entrepreneurs are already too heavily taxed,” he said. “And since the government probably can’t tax too much more, it will resort to regulation.” –Economist Peter Morici

On domestic politics, he was useful and sharp. “Entrepreneurs are already too heavily taxed,” he said. “And since the government probably can’t tax too much more, it will resort to regulation.” But the delicate and unpredictable balance of power in Washington is exactly why, he declared, “business has to take the democrats more seriously, and make friends with the democrats again.” It is one of the primary political strategies business can use to influence coming regulation “so you don’t get buried in paperwork.”

He urged executives to talk more with their senators and representatives, but to take a positive, constructive approach: Not, “I don’t want to be regulated,” but rather, “I want to be smarter about this.” Tell them, for instance, that any regulation must include effective cost-benefit analyses. “Remember,” he says, “most federal bureaucrats have never been in the private sector and don’t know the first thing about running a business.”

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