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Economic Growth Ideas That 'Cost the Government Virtually Nothing'

Mark Marich

Earlier this summer, the Kauffman Foundation announced its ideas for a broad set of policy recommendations that would help accelerate the creation of new startups and stimulate the US economy. The Startup Act, as it was called, just received a bit of extra attention with today’s copy of the Wall Street Journal.

Ed Muller, CEO of GenOn Energy, and Larry Zimpleman, president and CEO of the Principal Financial Group, penned an op-ed touting the Act and its ideas saying:

“While our two companies run very differently, we have come together to support what we believe is the only set of ideas that stand a chance of turning things around —ideas that can pass political muster in an otherwise very deeply divided Congress. These ideas center on reinvigorating what up to recently has been the most reliable source of job growth and innovation in our economy—the formation of new firms.”

The piece emphasizes the key elements of the Act “which would cost the government virtually nothing”:

  • Letting in immigrant entrepreneurs who hire American workers.
  • Reducing the cost of capital through capital gains tax relief for early stage investments.
  • Reducing barriers to IPOs by allowing shareholders to opt out of Sarbanes-Oxley.
  • Charging higher fees for patent applicants who want quick decisions to remove the backlog of applications at the Patent Office.
  • Giving licensing freedom to academic entrepreneurs at universities to accelerate the commercialization of their ideas.
  • Having the government provide data to permit rankings of startup friendliness of states and localities.
  • Regular sunsets for regulations and a consistent policy of putting new ones in place only if their benefits exceed their costs.

Will these ideas gain traction with opinion leaders and policymakers who are all urgently looking to create new jobs and drive economic growth? That remains to be seen.

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