Facing America's Challenges
H. Wayne Huizenga

H. Wayne Huizenga

Editors’ Note

Wayne Huizenga is the only person in corporate history to be responsible for six companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange and to have founded three Fortune 500 companies. He created Waste Management, Inc., Republic Services, Inc., Blockbuster Entertainment, AutoNation, Boca Resorts Inc., and Extended Stay America. He was also the owner of three professional sports teams: the Miami Dolphins, The Florida Marlins of Major League Baseball, and the Florida Panthers. Huizenga and his wife have donated over $100 million to South Florida charitable causes including homeless causes and hurricane relief, and $8 million to create the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University. His achievements were recognized by the Horatio Alger Association who presented him with their top honor in 1992, along with Henry Kissinger and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. In 2005, he received the prestigious recognition of “World Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst & Young.

What will be the greatest challenge America faces in the coming years?

Our greatest challenge will be getting our own house in order to ensure the future prosperity of ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren. Our government at all levels has become too large and unwieldy, and far too expensive. Government employment and regulation are stifling our economy and running up costs that will be an overwhelming burden on future generations of Americans. Unfortunately, changing the status quo will not be easy and will require courageous and committed leadership. Reducing our national debt must be a priority, but doing so without excessive tax increases will require reductions in spending that have been heretofore unattainable.

We have often heard that we must run government just as we run our businesses, with the same consequences for personal and institutional failure and success. Today, there are no apparent consequences and the patterns of the past are continuing, as we add to our national debt at an ever increasing pace. Equally important at all levels of government is that there are no incentives for innovation, extraordinary effort, and performance, or even attainment of predetermined goals and objectives. What made our American business model the global leader, as it has been over many generations, were the incentives and penalties that accompany success or failure. However difficult, we must find ways to implement those same concepts within our government at all levels to attain future prosperity.

There are many other priorities that must be considered and addressed, but our economic security should be, by far, our highest priority. Our position as an economically independent and strong global leader affords us the opportunity to ensure our national security, seek energy independence, provide leadership on environmental issues, and assist those less fortunate than ourselves. Without a strong and vibrant economy and a sound national balance sheet, free of excessive debt, we lose our leadership position and the ability that comes with it to address these other vital national issues. Likewise, our ability at home to address the needs of our citizens in all of these areas will likely be compromised to the extent that we are not economically sound.

In the final analysis, government needs to serve the people and not vice versa, as seems to be the case at this juncture in our national history. We need more efficient and effective government that is incentivized and accountable, and operates within the means that are available without excessive borrowing and resultant debt. I see this as America’s greatest challenge in the coming years.