Recently President Obama released his $400B jobs plan for getting American’s back to work and getting our economy moving. The problem? It’s more of the same; tax breaks, spending and a bunch of big government bureaucracy. We need a jobs and growth plan for the 21st century — and it’s not all driven by the Federal government, however the government could help by getting out-of-the-way. Where is the big vision? Have we retired the American Dream? Have we become so entrenched in Washington politics that we can’t see the light of what made America great through the darkness of political infighting and special interests?
Nobody has THE solution, however here are some fresh ideas which won’t cost $400B.
Travel & Tourism
First, let’s attract foreigners with money to spend into America. Travel and tourism is a great way to stimulate the economy and create jobs. People around the world still travel and love to visit many American destinations. Could we stimulate more travel and tourism to the US? Yes, of course, and we should. Could we impose a national tourism tax on foreigners? Sure, many cities already do this, why not a national foreign tourism. Let’s encourage foreign travelers into the US and raise some revenue through a foreign tourism tax. It doesn’t need to be much, maybe 1-3%, but this revenue would be enough to run an ongoing marketing program to drive even more foreign travelers into the US.
Corporate Tax Holiday
There are varying estimates of the amount of corporate funds trapped overseas from billions up to $2T. Why not offer a one-time tax holiday for any US-based corporation to bring those funds back to the US. This is so simple. For the last quarter of the year, October through December 31st, any US-based corporation could bring unlimited funds back to the US from overseas without a 35% corporate tax penalty if they agree to invest at least 5% in capital expenditures or employee payroll. Think about this for a second. For every million dollars a US-based corporation re-invests in America they save $300,000 and are required to invest only $50,000. This is clearly a win-win-win. We could see massive new corporate funds brought back from overseas, corporations get a temporary tax holiday and we invest in America through capital expenditures or new employee payrolls. For every billion dollars brought back it could result in 1,000 new good paying US jobs. Bring back $100B in corporate funds trapped overseas and we could see 1 million jobs created.
Still wondering what the BRIC reference in the title refers to? Economists have coined the term BRIC to refer to Brazil, Russia, India and China — the leading emerging economies in the world. These countries have growing economies, educated populations and a growing desire for goods and services. Just like NAFTA we should open up trade and forge agreements with these growing countries and feed their desire with US goods and services. President Obama could negotiate favorable trade agreements with each of these countries and others to import US goods thus creating jobs and economic growth back home. We’ve got to use our clout around the world to encourage other countries to provide the US favorable trade status.
Investing in technology, not roads and bridges, will pave the way for increased opportunities for entrepreneurial activity. Think about it for a moment? Instead of building a new highway for cars — how about an information superhighway for data? It’s clear that software, not interstate commerce, is the path to economic prosperity and growth. What new ventures could be started with a next generation wireless network blanketing the US which is 100x faster than our current networks and FREE. Yes, I’m advocating for a temporary government subsidy for an information superhighway. How many businesses would start and take advantage of this increased speed and mobility, who knows. Why not invest in the future rather than spend on the past. This is a 21st century investment for the future of America rather than an industrial age spending plan. Only the Federal government could invest in a project at this level. This would create thousands of information age jobs directly and potentially millions indirectly through new businesses created by the great entrepreneurial minds in the USA.
I’m sure there are other great ideas out there. I’d love to see a combination of a Challenge Post and Votizen type online platform for American citizens to propose their best ideas for innovation and growing the US economy. What are your ideas for reinventing America?