Although there is some disagreement amongst economists, many argue that traditional monetary and fiscal policy will not take the US economy from its current relatively stagnant state to the robust growth needed to employ many of the 8 million who were unemployed during the recent recession as well as the new entrants into the labor force.  As those in Intermediate Macroeconomics learned, since we add roughly 1.5 million people to the work force each year, we need about that number of jobs just to keep  unemployment from worsening.

As several studies from the Kauffman Foundation have shown, the vast majority of new jobs created in the United States come from new firms (that is firms that are five years old or younger),  not from large firms or small firms and not from governments.  In recent years, fewer new firms have been created than  in the past, and each of these firms has generated fewer jobs than in the past.  The Kauffman Foundation has put together a non-partisan “Startup Act Proposal” to jump start the economy.  It is entitled “Access to Capital: Fostering Job Creation and Innovation Though High-Growth Startups.”   The four key provisions are as follows:

1.  Provide a permanent capital gains exemption to investment in startups held for at least five years.

2.  Reduce the corporate tax burden for new companies in the first three years they have taxable income. (This may be already doable under subchapter S of the corporate tax code.)

3.  Reduce Sarbanes-Oxley requirements for firms with less than  $1 billion in market capitalization.

4.  Subject federal regulation to 10 year sunset.

Carl Schramm and Robert Litan, on behalf of the Kauffman Foundation also argue for removing the caps on skilled immigrants and immigrant driven entrepreneurial ventures.

These are intriguing ideas.  They should encourage Lawrence students to sample our Innovation and Entrepreneurship courses.  Check out Schramm and Litan’s presentation last week to the National Press Club.