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IndustryWeek Summit (Small Business vs. Large Business)

Nov. 20, 1998, Washington, D.C.

BRANDT: You mentioned, and Tom mentioned a couple of times, a divergence between the agendas of small business and larger businesses. In particular, sometimes with the revision of a tax structure, but also with the Kyoto agreements. You are seeing some large businesses that do business multi-nationally which are -- they may be winking over the fence, but they are, in fact, endorsing the agreements being BP, GM and a number of companies. Where are the divergences between small and large business in terms of an agenda over the next couple of years? FARIS: Very little and very few. JASINOWSKI: I was going to say, I think that there are very few divergences. You take the estate tax, all small business cares about that. We have ten thousand small firms. FARIS: Is that the death tax? Are you talking about the death tax now? JASINOWSKI: The death tax. Thank you. But I find that my large companies care about that a great deal, too. And so there really is a lot of unanimity on that. There really is, I think, only a few large companies that have embraced the Kyoto accord. So there is not much disagreement on that. I think there is -- I can't think of any major issues unless it is sub-Chapter S tax reform. It is the one that I can think of where you don't have large companies who care about it. But other then that, it is pretty unified. I wanted to go to Jack's point and say we for a long time have been arguing that economic growth and increased jobs, we have used the term growth, is the overall theme that we ought to be advocating. And I think that is particularly true in terms of the coming year. The problem with that is, it doesn't meet your test of making it something that the fellow on Main Street can understand fully. But I do think, Jack, it comes down to economic progress. Keeping the economy healthy and I think if we just stay on the economy, to oversimplify, as the issue. Whether or not you want to call it growth or jobs. We stay on the economy, that is the strongest thing that the business community can pursue. Because we have expertise on it. We drive it. And, in fact, the economy is what is driving most of politics now. So I don't know the exact words. You are better at these words in terms of Main Street then I am, but it ought to go back to the notion that the economy is the key of our future success. And we have got to maintain it healthy through both the -- doing the policies we need for both employers and employees. I mean, I think to some extent there is some in the business community who tend not to remember that we represent employees as much as we represent employers. Therefore, the standard of living of our workers is as important as the improved profits of our companies. BRANDT: Tom?

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