The business community must defend free enterprise in Washington if the country is going to achieve economic growth in 2012, said Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
"The current individual tax rates are all scheduled to go up in smoke by the end of the year," he said. "If this happens, the idea of economic growth is not going to happen."
Donohue gave his annual State of American Business address Thursday in Washington, D.C., before an audience of business people, to kick off the Chambers’ 100-year anniversary.
Donohue called on leaders of every sector to raise the key issues facing the business community with Congress this year: foreign piracy, overregulation, government spending and immigration reform.
"If government starts removing the impediments that we have long identified as stifling growth and jobs, then we would be positioned in the business community to take more risks," he said.
Donohue noted a Chamber survey of small businesses, which cited the fact that “more than 80 percent of them are very concerned about the prospect of new regulations, new mandates and higher taxes, and these concerns have put the brakes on their investments and their hiring.”