- - Monday, April 24, 2017

When Bernie Marcus talks, people listen.

Like the old E.F. Hutton commercials, there are some people who, when talking, are worth stopping what you’re doing and paying attention. Mr. Marcus, the co-founder of The Home Depot, which revolutionized the hardware store industry, is one of those people. His recent endorsement of President Trump’s achievements during his first 100 days as president is worth considering and echoing.

Mr. Marcus is not your typical CEO who manages a business built by someone else. He is one of a select group of business leaders who have opened up new roads armed with nothing but their own vision and judgment. Their opinions are more valuable than those of a typical business leader who may be a great manager but who could not have started what he or she is managing.

Mr. Marcus points out that Mr. Trump has unleashed the animal spirits of American investors, consumers and businesses. Consumer confidence is at a 10-year high. The stock market is up 10 percent since his election. And major manufacturing companies are responding by choosing to invest at home rather than abroad. Can we say that about any recent presidents?

How has he achieved these successes? His deregulatory actions — exemplified by his executive order that requires two regulations to be eliminated for every one created — have helped cut through some of the red tape holding back businesses from hiring and investing. Turning on the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines will also create hundreds of good jobs and help secure the country’s energy supply.

But market sentiment is mostly reacting to Mr. Trump’s deal-making skills. This skill set unique for a president has resulted in widespread optimism that major legislation will get passed that will fix the country’s broken health care system, lower its tax burden, and repair its outdated infrastructure. In this politically polarized climate, Mr. Trump is looked to as the person who can broker the compromises necessary to improve the country.

His tax proposal could be the biggest in the country’s history. While progressives will try to derail any tax reform by crying it’s a “tax cut for the rich,” the people who benefit most from such tax relief are regular middle-class Americans struggling with day care, housing and health care costs.

The extra capital in the private sector stemming from a tax cut will be reinvested in communities, hiring and new products, raising paychecks and increasing standards of living. Most business leaders, including Mr. Trump and Mr. Marcus, understand that good jobs won’t be available without business growth. Pursuing pro-growth policies can get the country to return to its historical level of 3 percent economic growth. Keep in mind: At 3 percent growth, the economy doubles every 24 years; at recent 2 percent growth, it doubles every 36 years. That’s the difference between living standards tripling in an average lifetime or merely doubling.

As Mr. Marcus highlights, one of Mr. Trump’s biggest accomplishments so far is appointing Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Justice Gorsuch has a long history of rulings that reflect the Constitution, not the Center for American Progress. He will stand athwart judicial attempts to redefine individual rights as the right to more free stuff.

Mr. Trump’s accomplishments haven’t been recognized more generally because politicians and the media don’t know what it takes to succeed in business. They have never signed the front of a paycheck and don’t understand what that act symbolizes. Mr. Trump is the country’s first major CEO president. This gives him perspective that previous presidents who have come from legal and community activism backgrounds don’t have.

Mr. Trump now must rise to the expectations of markets and business leaders like Bernie Marcus. He must roll up his sleeves and do the work necessary to pass health care and tax legislation.

Then he should turn his attention to addressing another major issue facing Americans: employee rights. The Employee Rights Act will protect American employees from the worst of union abuses — like being fired from your job unless you pay dues to a union without ever getting to vote on joining. We haven’t had a major change in these rules since Harry Truman was president.

President Trump has his skeptics. But when American business heroes like Bernie Marcus support him it suggests you should stop and listen. He may be seeing something positive for the country that will soon be hard to ignore.

• Richard Berman is the president of Berman and Company, a public affairs firm in Washington, D.C.

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