'Jackpot justice' is bad for Louisiana businesses

By Jay Timmons and Dan Juneau | Aug 12, 2013

The United States leads the world in a number of categories. While most of our achievements are worth celebrating, others are not. We have the highest corporate tax rate among industrialized nations, with a top rate of 35 percent. And we've earned another dubious distinction: Our legal system is the world's costliest.

Lawsuit abuse saps resources businesses could otherwise use to create jobs or expand. In fact, liability costs in the United States amount to roughly 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

Runaway tort costs are especially costly to manufacturers and contribute to the structural cost disadvantage facing manufacturers in the United States. Today, it's 20 percent more expensive to manufacture in this country than it is among our major competitors, according to the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation and the Manufacturing Institute.

Our tort system is intended to ensure victims receive just and fair compensation and also to deter future wrongful acts. However, these days, the tort system is often nothing more than a trial-lawyer bonanza. One need only look to Louisiana for the latest example.

Jay Timmons is president of the National Association of Manufacturers and Dan Juneau is president of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.

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