Driving the Day: 3/1/12

Mar 1, 2012

Congress Can Ensure U.S. Remains World’s Most Entrepreneurial Nation – Steve Case via The Hill

As the 2012 election cycle kicks into high gear, President Obama and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are focusing on pro-entrepreneurship proposals. Steve Case, a member of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, writes in The Hill  that Washington is finally starting to recognize that start-ups drive the economy by leading the way in innovation and pioneering new industries. Although start-ups created 40 million jobs in the past three decades, they have declined 23% since 2007, due to various factors, including an antiquated immigration policy that pushes immigrant entrepreneurs to other countries. Case says that the window to pass policy reforms and reverse the troubling trends is closing fast, and Congress needs to take advantage of the bipartisan support to pass pro-entrepreneurship legislation. “Improving the environment for entrepreneurs is the surest way to boost job creation and strengthen our global competitiveness,” says Case.   

Energy Policy Is Fundamental to U.S. Competitiveness – John B. Hess via Bloomberg

“The United States desperately needs an energy policy,” writes John B. Hess, chairman and CEO of the Hess Corporation, in a recent Bloomberg piece. With 5% of the world’s population and 20% of its energy use, the U.S. has to step up and become the global leader in energy. Hess says that the U.S. needs to aim at moderating demand of oil through efficiency and increasing supply by focusing on drilling. Regarding natural gas, the U.S. needs to focus on shale gas, which provides a significant competitive cost advantage. U.S. energy policy should reduce its coal use until research breakthroughs make clean coal technically feasible and commercially viable. Finally, the United States needs to make achievable climate change policies.

Bernanke: Economy, Job Creation Likely to Stay Sluggish for Several Years – The Washington Post

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told lawmakers in a prepared testimony on Wednesday that despite bright spots in recent economic reports, unemployment will probably stay high and the nation’s recovery will remain slow for the next several years. Bernanke touched on economic challenges, including flat wages, borrowers having issues getting loans, government layoffs, and financial problems causing crisis abroad. He expressed surprise that the unemployment rate has come down as quickly as it has, given the sluggish economic growth. Bernanke said that the U.S. recovery is continuing but has been “uneven and modest by historical standards.”

Crowdfunding Set to Explode with Passage of Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act – Forbes

Millions of dollars in seed money were pledged to start-ups and creative projects last year through a crowdfunding platform. Yet, federal and state securities laws prohibit these startups from offering equity to their investors. The Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act (HR 2930) is designed to allow start-ups to offer stock to their small-stake supporters, which some think would cause crowdfunding to grow. This would make more resources available to entrepreneurs, spurring innovation and jobs.

Restarting the U.S. Capital Machine – Governor Jack Markell via The Wall Street Journal

Governor Jack Markell (D-DE) writes in The Wall Street Journal, “Policy makers must act decisively to restart America's capital-access engine so we can again experience the full benefits of the job growth that comes from new and emerging industries.” He recognizes that the U.S. has experienced a stunning decline in IPOs and stock listings, while capital markets in Asia, Europe, and South America have thrived. In the 1990s, 48% of all global IPOs listed on U.S. exchanges; today, less than 10% list on U.S. exchanges. Markell says America needs bold action to regain its edge, including reopening the nation’s capital markets to emerging growth companies, fixing America’s uncompetitive corporate tax structure, and reforming tax and regulatory policies that encourage the ability for companies to conduct business in multiple jurisdictions.

In other news...

Small Business Owners Underprepared for Retirement – AdvisorOne

All Areas of the U.S. Show Growth, Fed Reports – USA Today

European Entrepreneurs Share Cloud Computing Strategies with Silicon Valley – Peninsula Press

Yelp IPO Imminent – Inc.

China's Share of Reserves in U.S. Dollar Dives – The Wall Street Journal

Gathering in Texas Targets Start-Ups – The Wall Street Journal

Pressure is on Senate After House Kills Healthcare Law’s ‘Rationing Board’ – The Hill

Why the SBA's Early-Stage Innovation Fund Won't Help Startups Access Capital – Entrepreneur 

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