A new report from UBS Wealth Management Americas calls for changes in the U.S. government’s focus to boost competitiveness as individual investors’ worries shift to the broader economy.
The new report released on Monday comes with a survey of 2,500 existing and potential individual investor clients. In that survey, UBS found that the investors were most worried about broad domestic economic issues. Top concerns from the respondents included the size of the U.S. debt, unemployment, value of the dollar and the country’s competitiveness compared to other nations.
UBS’ report, called Revitalizing America, calls for improving U.S. competitiveness with improvements to fiscal policy, regulation, human resources, innovation and entrepreneurship and capital formation.
“As a member of the financial services industry, we believe that partnership between government and business is essential to rebuilding the U.S. economy,” UBS Wealth Management Americas Chief Executive Robert J. McCann said in a statement.
Fiscal policy has emerged as a major concern since the financial crisis, according to the report, to stabilize public sector finances. The national debt ratio rose to more than 60% of the gross domestic product in 2010 versus 36% in 2007. Keeping economic growth up to speed with that debt will continue to be a challenge as the baby boomer population cashes in on Medicare and Social Security benefits.
Regulatory reform is also necessary, UBS’ report says, to promote private sector growth. Regulatory compliance currently costs about $1.75 trillion per year, according to the Small Business Administration. Excessive regulation policies can discourage entrepreneurs from starting businesses and push other businesses outside of the U.S., UBS said.
Human resource development also needs a push as Americans have fallen behind in math, reading and science scores compared to other countries, UBS’ report states. That leaves many Americans behind when it comes to competing professionally, while restrictions on visas have reduced the potential talent coming into the U.S.
Entrepreneurship must also be encouraged, UBS said in its report, as regulation and immigration policies have become stricter. Potential entrepreneurs might be discouraged to take risks by existing policies like tax codes that could limit their profits.
Capital formation can also improve, according to UBS, as some areas that currently get the greatest tax rewards can reflect political ties rather than need. That can change through targeted reform, UBS said, including spending to encourage behavior in areas including investments, subsidies and tax credits.