WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation took aim at President Obama and Congress for not doing enough to improve the jobs situation and boost the economy.
In a letter sent to the President, NRF urged the administration "make economic growth and job creation their top priority."
The letter also pointed out the role the retail industry has played in keeping America working. According to NRF, retailers hired half a million workers during the holiday season.
The group noted in the letter that retail sales growth could be even higher than the projected 3.4% in 2013, if certain tax hikes and other initiatives are put into place.
NRF called on Obama to support the following in effort to boost job creation:
• Take advantage of the temporary suspension of the debt ceiling to avoid the drama seen during the fiscal cliff debate and instead craft a fiscal plan for the country that provides both a debt ceiling increase and certainty on comprehensive tax reform in 2013. Economic uncertainty helped hold 2012 holiday season retail sales growth a full percentage point lower than forecast, and must not be repeated.
• Avoid the federal spending cuts scheduled to take effect March 1. In the long term, federal spending must be reduced to balance the budget, but poorly timed government spending cuts played a major role in this week’s poor GDP showing. Congress should adopt a budget and provide for an orderly process for adopting long-term spending reforms as opposed to the blunt budget ax of sequestration.
• Pass comprehensive tax reform that eliminates tax breaks that benefit only a few industries in return for lower tax rates for all businesses large and small alike. Lower taxes will make U.S. companies more competitive and boost job creation.
• Create an immigration system that is agile and responsive and addresses the needs of employers and today’s workforce.
• Remove trade barriers that drive up prices for American consumers while making it difficult to export American goods.
• Delay health care reform mandates that will force employers to cut their payrolls or reduce hours for workers in order to avoid crippling increases in costs for employer-provided health care plans.
• Toss out National Labor Relations Board decisions giving unions an unfair advantage in organizing private workplaces, including “ambush” elections and “micro-unions.”