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Dear Mr. President, Are You Listening?

Written by: Henry R. Nothhaft
Veteran Entrepreneur & former CEO of Tessera, Inc.
Co-author of Great Again: Revitalizing America’s Entrepreneurial Leadership
Posted: September 7, 2011 @ 11:03 pm
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What should you expect from President Obama’s jobs speech tomorrow? Sadly, not much.

The president says that’s the fault of recalcitrant Republicans in Congress. Republicans in Congress say it’s the fault of a president who is hostile to business.

But the real reason we are not putting people back to work three long years into the recession is that Washington is afflicted with a totally-bipartisan cluelessness about how to create jobs.

As I argued in my “Labor Day Message for President Obama” in the Wall Street Journal last weekend, there is a great deal that the president and congress can do to create millions of new jobs quickly, if only they would stop their ideological bickering and instead “focus on a few practical, low-cost measures that we know will create lots of jobs quickly.”

Exempt small firms under $500 million from the more onerous Sarbanes-Oxley accounting rules that have crippled the IPO market and job creation (92% of which occurs after an IPO).

Fully fund the patent office so we can clear the backlog of 1.2 million patent applications there, which by itself would create roughly 2 ¼ million jobs within three years.

End a disastrous one-size-fits-all regulatory policy that forces small job-creating firms to pay the price for the excesses of Wall Street banks and other giant outsourcing multinationals.

And let’s join the rest of the world and start offering tax and other incentives for manufacturers who set up shop in the U.S., and in so doing create up to 15 additional jobs outside of manufacturing for every position on the shop floor.

These are perfectly sensible and pragmatic proposals, none of which would bleed the treasury, and none of which are political. I have argued for them frequently — most recently (aside from in the Wall Street Journal) last Friday on The Willis Report on Fox Business TV.

And I am not the only one. William W. Walker argued for similar measures in a New York Times opinion article just today. And J.P. Donlon, the respected editor of Chief Executive magazine, made a similar call for practical steps to create jobs in a fascinating video he produced recently.

So why is it so hard for the politicians in Washington to get a clue?

I’ll tell you one thing. If the mood of the 250 business leaders I spoke with today in Columbus, Ohio was any indication —this was an event sponsored by Columbus 2020, an economic development group led by the smart-as-a-whip Kenny McDonald — Americans are tired of waiting on a president who won’t listen and a Congress that can’t function.

We’ll have to organize at the grassroots — at least until we get elected officials who care more about their fellow Americans than their personal political beliefs or their political advantage.

About the Author

Henry R. Nothhaft is a veteran entrepreneur and serial tech start-up CEO who has presided over the creation of 6,000 jobs and the return of billions of dollars to investors. Most recently Nothhaft was CEO of the semiconductor technology miniaturization firm Tessera, a post he left to speak out on issues of patent reform, job creation and economic development in the United States. He is the co-author, with David Kline, of the Harvard Business Press book Great Again: Revitalizing America’s Entrepreneurial Leadership.

2 comments
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  1. Where did the 2.25 million jobs figure come from?

  2. Here’s the math — and the article he was referring to:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/06/opinion/06nothhaft.html?scp=1&sq=inventing%20our%20wqay%20out%20of%20joblessness&st=cse