Can Congress Out-Legislate?

This week President Obama focused on the economy in his State of the Union address.  He outlined his strategy to make America a more economically competitive nation.  He said “We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business. ”

President Obama did not say that America needs to out-legislate the rest of the world.  But at the root of President Obama’s proposals is the need to draft laws that incentivize the better education, increased innovation, and increased investment that he speaks of.

In an article in today’s (1/30/11) business section, the New York Times emphasized that the United States is not the only nation who feels an urgency to compete globally.  The article focused on the example of Greece (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/business/30greek.html) and its rigid rules surrounding certain industries.  Such laws have excluded Greece from the global economy by discouraging exports and foreign investment.  Greece is keenly aware that its laws are deficient and is taking significant steps to reform laws which impact businesses.

If every country with a struggling economy appreciates the need compete globally, doesn’t a country’s economic future rest on its government’s ability to draft effective and creative legislation?  Is Congress, at this point in time, capable of passing transformative legislation?  Did the President propose any legislative ideas that might pass?  What should the American people realistically expect?

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