What do businesses want from the new US administration? We asked this question in our latest CEO survey, working with Deloitte. We allowed each CEO to choose their top three issues (which is why the percentages below don’t add up to 100%.) Their responses:
Restoring confidence in government: 59%
COVID aid and economic recovery: 55%
Climate change: 32%
Workforce education / training: 30%
Commercial policy / prices: 21%
National debt / deficit reduction: 20%
Affordability / health care coverage: 20%
Racial equity: 19%
Foreign policy: 17%
Immigration policy: 5%
Corporate tax policy: 4%
A number of interesting things about these answers. Ten years ago, reducing the national debt was a favorite workhorse for businesses. Since then, the federal debt has increased significantly, exceeding the threshold of 100% of GDP. But business leaders clearly recognize that in today’s economy – where capital is plentiful and interest rates close to zero – other priorities deserve more attention.
Tax policy, meanwhile, fell last on the list. It is less surprising. These people know that if this administration deals with corporate taxes, it will only be to increase them.
But what I find most interesting is that after addressing the country’s political, economic and health crises, CEOs collectively turn to three critical areas of collaboration with government: infrastructure, climate change and manpower training. Hopefully the new administration does not use up its political and financial capital on the economic stimulus bill, so that it can work with business to address these three critical areas to build a better future.
We will discuss these priorities later today, when members of Fortune CEO Initiative get together virtually (instead of our annual dinner in Davos.) Among the 100 or so CEOs attending, there will be CEOs from Pfizer, CVS, Marriott, GM, Verizon, L’Oréal, Bank of America, Dassault, FedEx, Northrup Grumman, Ikea, Working day, Hyatt, Occidental, Albertson’s, Nestlé, PayPal, Edward Jones, Bridgewater, Progressive, HP, HPE, Levi’s, Kohl’s, UPS, Sanofi, Henry schein and more. Also present, His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, to discuss his “Terra Carta” initiative for the environment.
Learn more about the CEO survey in Fortune Analytics, here. More news below.