I’m always trying to find interesting information that will allow you to make intelligent decisions. Last weekend I spent several hours reading various publications and thought I would share some interesting information coming from Business Week magazine.

As you read the comments, you can see how various aspects of the economic recovery plan are being challenged by businesses.

What the White House wants: Emissions 

To cut emissions that cause global warming, the Administration proposes a “tap and trade” system. This would require companies to pay $646 billion over eight years to buy the tradable rights to emit such pollutants. Much of the money would be returned to consumers.

What business thinks: 

Many companies do not oppose a price tag on carbon emissions, since it provides more certainty and boosts investments in efficiency and renewable energy. But they worry that selling all of the permits from the start can impose a huge burden on the companies involved.

What the White House wants: Healthcare

The President has provided $634 billion in the proposed budget to help pay for health care reforms over the next 10 years. Half that some will come from tax hikes and half from cuts in Medicare payments to insurers, drug companies and hospitals.

What business thinks:

On the surface, business broadly backs health care reform. But the cracks are starting to show: insurers fear competition from government-backed rivals, hospitals worry costs will be squeezed, and drugmakers face far lower prices.

What the White House wants: Foreign Tax

Multinationals currently can defer US taxes on profits earned abroad until they bring the funds back home. The Administration says that encourages companies to ship jobs overseas. It plans to raise $210 billion by limiting the tax deferral and other overseas breaks.

What business thinks:

Companies fear they will be at a competitive disadvantage if they have to pay US rates on foreign operations while their rivals pay lower local rates. Any loss of revenues overseas, they add, will result in US jobs lost, not gained.

What the White House wants: Income Tax

The President would boost the top rates for families making more than $250,000 from 33% to 36%; those earning over $370,000 would go to 39.6%. Capital gains and dividends rate would rise from 15% to 20%. Deductions for mortgage interest and charitable giving drops to 28%.

What business thinks:

Fears that tax hikes will discourage the well-off from investing are shared by a host of businesses, from homebuilders and mortgage brokers desperate for a housing rebound to mutual fund companies and other investment managers struggling to keep investors in the market.

What the White House wants: Drilling

Converting the economy to cleaner energy has emerged as one of the Administration’s top goals. If it has its way, that means an end to a host of tax breaks for oil and gas producers, including tax credits aimed at spurring domestic offshore drilling.

What business thinks:

The oil industry plans to mount a fierce fight to keep its tax perks, arguing that the President’s plan puts jobs and energy security at risk. Plus, making drilling more expensive in the US could encourage oil giants to shift even more investment in exploration abroad.

What the White House wants: Agriculture

The President wants to end what he considers wasteful agricultural subsidies. He is counting on saving $9.8 billion over 10 years by capping payments at $250,000 annually to farmers whose gross sales do not exceed $500,000 a year.

What business thinks:

The agricultural lobby, which spent $131 million in lobbying in 2008, is among the fiercest defenders of turf in Washington. It will argue that farmers can’t stay in business, especially in a tough economy, without support for cotton,
rice, and other crops.

It seems to me that the battle lines are being drawn. I believe the recovery of this economy is going to require give-and-take on both sides. As we learn more about the details I will share some more thoughts with you.

Bill Spiropoulos
President & CEO
CoreStates Capital Advisors