In the declining days of the Trump administration, scholarship among Big Business and the Republican Party burst open.
While Corporate America posted real gains over the past four years, including lower taxes and a looser regulatory environment, President Donald J. Trump regularly harassed key CEOs. The January 6 riot at the Capitol and the refusal to recognize the election result by Mr Trump and several congressional Republicans was the breaking point, culminating in many large companies condemning Trump and cutting support for his allies in Congress.
But just because big business is with the Republican Party doesn’t mean it’s ready to embrace every aspect of the Democratic agenda. with the president Biden Trying to undo Mr Trump’s legacy, including some initiatives championed by big business, the chief executive is approaching the new administration with a mix of optimism and apprehension.
At the most basic level, many executives appear grateful to have moved on from the Trump administration, which regularly surprises companies with abrupt changes in trade policy, immigration rules and more.
“Business hates uncertainty, and we’ve had chaotic uncertainty for a while,” said Andrew Liveris, who stepped down as chief executive of DowDuPont in 2018 and is now a board member at IBM. “Trying to navigate through this as a company has been very difficult.”
But the prospect of higher corporate taxes and new regulations that could slash profits is unlikely to sit well with a business community struggling to recover from the pandemic. “The rubber will hit the road when we get around to things like taxes and climate fees,” said Mr Liveris.
Mr. Biden began putting his policy agenda into action on Inauguration Day, 17 signing executive orders and actions In the Oval Office.
One recommended the United States for the Paris climate accord, a move that was met with praise from business leaders, many of whom objected to Mr Trump’s withdrawal from the accord in 2017. On Twitter, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates Applauding the move, he said that “the United States also has an opportunity to lead the world in avoiding a climate disaster.”
Other orders saved “dreamers” from deportation and named an official response coordinator for the pandemic.
Sundar Pichai, Alphabet’s chief executive on Twitter lauded “quick action on COVID relief, the Paris climate agreement and immigration reform” and said his company “looks forward to working with the new administration to help America recover from the pandemic.” is” + Grow our economy. “
But at least an initial move by Mr Biden The cancellation of his permit for the Keystone XL pipeline was met with sharp condemnation from some business leaders.
Jay Timmons National Association of Manufacturers, a group that a few weeks ago called on cabinet to consider removing Mr Trump from office, criticized the move, arguing that the pipeline would have created 10,000 union jobs.
The Chamber of Commerce, another pro-business group that took an increasingly tough line with Trump in the final weeks of his presidency, also opposed the move, calling it “a politically motivated decision that is not based on science.” “
“It will harm consumers and put thousands of Americans out of work in the building trades,” said Marty Durbin, an executive in the Chamber.
There could be more clashes on the horizon. Mr Biden has indicated he is ready to raise taxes on corporations.
“I’m sure there will be conflict over the tax issue for corporations,” said Richard A., a Democrat and former House majority leader. Geffard said.
The prospect of higher personal taxes may also face pushback from wealthy officials. In New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo recently issued a tax hike on high-income earners. Should the federal income tax rate also increase, it could result in an effective tax rate of more than 60 percent for some well-paid New Yorkers.
“It’s very tough,” said Cathy Wyld, chief executive of partnerships for New York City, a trade group that represents many large employers.
Ms Wyld said a possible change in taxes on real estate, which Mr Trump cut, could also be a cause for concern among officials. “There’s probably panic in the real estate community,” she said.
But an increase in the corporate tax rate is a price that companies may be willing to pay in exchange for a more predictable stance administration on important issues such as trade and tariffs.
“They may like the Biden administration more on business than Trump, because they jolted things too much,” Mr Geffard said.
Right now, there is a clear sense of relief in board rooms across the country, with officials breathing a sigh of relief after four years during which Trump’s unexpected outbursts led to sudden changes in policies, and sometimes targeted companies. To also
“Markets are relieved on the other side of all the turmoil and uncertainty that was Donald Trump,” said Brad Karp, president of the law firm Paul, Weiss. “You woke up in the morning and saw the president imposing tariffs, or closing borders, or retaliate against a company. Business requires predictability and certainty.”
And as Mr Biden works to get the coronavirus under control, companies large and small will be rooting for the new administration. The pandemic has decimated the economy, decimating sales businesses and leading to mass unemployment. Measures the Biden administration is considering include a new stimulus package and a larger government infrastructure program that could help spur economic recovery.
“It would be good for business to keep Covid under control,” Mr Karp said. “A stimulus plan would be good for economic recovery. Spending on infrastructure will be good for the economy.
Immigration is another issue where there is reason for optimism for large companies. Mr Trump reduced immigration and put a cap on the H1-B visa program, which allows foreigners to work in the United States, a change that has caused headaches for many companies.
“America-first policies don’t work for global trade,” said Ms. Wyld. “They will not be remembered.”
Mr Biden signed an executive order mandating the wearing of masks on federal property. In contrast, Mr Trump politicized the wearing of masks, and disillusioned business leaders who, watched, disappointed as arguments erupted about masks in his stores.
“Trump lost a lot of the business community on the mask stuff,” Ms Wyld said. “Without a mask mandate, enforcement agents became businesses. This was a major issue for retailers. “
Already, some officials who gave approval for Mr Trump’s policies are welcoming the Biden administration. Nick Pinchuk, chief executive of Snap-on, a tool company based in Kenosha, Wis., said he expects the federal government to support efforts to strengthen the working class, such as retraining efforts and investments in education.
“It remains to be seen, but it looks like this administration may be prioritizing those things,” Mr Pinchuk said. While not all of his staff were happy with the election result, he said, they largely disapproved of Trump’s interference with the democratic process and were willing to give Biden a chance.
“The business world wants the Biden administration to be successful,” said Blair Efron, co-founder of Centerview Partners, an advisory firm that works with several large companies. “People understand the urgency of this time politically, economically, healthily and socially for this country.”