Michael Collins photo
All of the Above

There is no doubt that today’s jobs report is profoundly disappointing. Alarm bells should be ringing throughout the country at the news that 368,000 people simply left the U.S. workforce in the past month.  The workforce participation rate is at its lowest point since the 1981 recession.  In the days to come, both Presidential campaigns will trade barbs on who and what is responsible for the anemic performance of the U.S. economy.  Unless you are a Genie fresh out of the bottle, finger-pointing does not create jobs. Instead, with Congress back in session next week, we have an opportunity to take steps and pass a package of legislation that would amount to an all-of-the-above jobs strategy. This phrase is often associated with energy policy, but it now should be used to describe an emergency approach to re-energize our economy.

Partisan bickering over what or who creates jobs, and whose approach works best has conspired to prevent Congress from passing legislation that would help spur job creation.  The conventional wisdom is that, with election season well underway, nothing of any relevance to economic growth will become law until after the election.  It’s time to break with conventional wisdom.  Indeed, there is no wisdom in doing nothing, and we need unconventional approaches to bring real life to this economy.  Despite efforts to label ideas for job creation as Republican, Democrat, Liberal or Conservative, the only ideas that matter are good ones that will work.  

Ironically, despite two straight weeks of two political parties seeking to differentiate themselves from the other, there is significant common ground on good ideas for job creation – ideas that are consistent with TechElect’s own  six-step plan to create jobs and spur growth. These ideas should be part of an “all-of-the above” initiative that can begin the day Congress is gaveled back into session by passing –

  • An extension of temporary, job-creating tax measures that will fuel spending in research and development and ensure U.S. companies can be competitive in global markets;
  • Permanent trade relations with Russia, which will open new markets for U.S. goods and services in Russia and, according to numerous experts, will create jobs in the U.S.;
  • Various measures that will aid in the creation of jobs and new businesses by encouraging, through permanent resident visas (“green cards”), highly-skilled foreign born students and entrepreneurs to stay in the U.S. and innovate; and
  • Cybersecurity legislation that will facilitate greater information sharing, collaboration, and innovation to reduce cyber threats and protect critical infrastructures and personal information.

All of these ideas are in the form of legislation that have already been introduced, have strong bipartisan support, and can help the economy. 

And once the election is over, Congress can being work on other areas where there is bipartisan agreement, including tax reform that lowers the corporate rate, creates a market-based tax system, and establishes permanent incentives to invest in R&D and startups in the U.S.  Congress also can pass high-skilled immigration reform, trade promotion, and energy security legislation, as well as make much-needed investments in basic research, and math and science education, There is no reason why, by mid-2013, we could have a bipartisan press conference highlighting the “all of the above” achievements for our economy. So what are we waiting for?

We are aware that the tech industry does not have a monopoly on job-creating initiatives. We are open to any ideas, and so must our lawmakers. Less burdensome regulation, more investment in infrastructure, and a sensible plan to cut the deficit are just some additional ideas that have been offered by both parties at their respective conventions. They too can all be part of an all-of-the-above strategy for creating jobs.

Over the past two weeks, we have heard a lot of rhetoric from Republicans and Democrats on how they would solve the country’s economic problems. Do we really have to wait till after November 6 for these job-creating ideas to become policy? Today we got another stark reminder that an all-of-the-above approach to job creation is needed now. Doing nothing till November means doing nothing for America’s unemployed. That is not an option.