Ideas for Executive Actions
Over the past few weeks, President Obama has announced a series of executive actions designed to strengthen the economy and help American businesses create jobs and compete in the global economy. These included orders to streamline research grants for entrepreneurs, make it easier for families to refinance their mortgages, and make it harder for graduates to default on their student loans.
We’re looking for more ideas like these, concrete actions that President Obama can take right now to create jobs and grow the economy, without waiting on Congress to write a bill or draft legislation. Tell us your ideas below!
Green CTO commented
We all know that manufacturing has suffered greatly over the last decade or two. What most do not know is that today it is rarely about cheap labor, the reason for goods being mfgd off shore, it's about capabilities. The WH can do the USA a huge favor by being the catalyst toward building the manufacturing capabilities back in the USA. Even the construction of a modern factory is lacking, there are few companies able to bring a modern factory online in the USA and for every one there are 25 in Asia that can do it faster. Put in place a government organization that once up and running will get privatized but until then objective is to make the USA competitive in the build out of cutting edge manufacturing facilities. I have met with many companies that are shutting their doors, when I show them how they can not only keep it going but grow based on their market going from local to global by updating their products and manufacturing capabilities, they really do not know what I am talking about and they do not believe me either. In a few cases I could buy the company if I had the resources and do it myself but it is not what I want to do, these people need to see the vision and know where to go to get back in the game.
Here is a concrete action that POTUS can address right now and use as a speaking point when visiting Montana during his campaign:
1. Dave and Pauls LLC is a small start-up compound butter business in Montana, founded 2011.
2. Fresh, natural, no preservative compound butters - exactly what the public is looking for.
3. Trying to distribute this product to supermarket chains - with their extremely high margins - makes it impossible for smaller companies to compete against large corporations.
4. We wholesale our product for $4.00. The distributor requires a 30% profit margin, making their price to the supermarket $5.69. Supermarkets then require a 37% margin, making the price to the consumer $8.99.
5. In order for us to get our product on the shelf, the consumer has to pay $4.99 MORE than what it cost us to make. If we lower our wholesale price, we cannot afford to make a profit.
6. This puts our product in the category of "exclusive gourmet" product, limiting our ability to grow.
7. There needs to be a cap put on margins for distributors and supermarkets - allowing smaller businesses to be able to sell quality, fresh, natural products to consumers. Maybe a tiered system, in where smaller businesses are given a percentage break on margins.
8. If a tiered system were put into place, we could afford to hire people - as our product would be in greater demand, buy transportation units to transport our product from MT to other States, and would also allow us to realize growth. As it stands now, the food industry paralyzes new business growth due to the significant margins required. You have to be a millionaire to be able to afford to put a product on the shelf of grocery stores - taking a significant financial loss for several years.
Thank you for your time -
Dave and Pauls LLC
Heidi Pickman commented
The DOL issued a TEGL that recognizes self-employment
The problem is that local WIBs are reluctant to offer/understand self-employment as a viable job because they don't know how to measure outcomes. President Obama can direct Hilda Solis to issue additional language that would provide alternative performance measures for self-employment as outlined here:
CAMEO, California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity
Deb Carey commented
I am constantly hiring and often speak with folks currently collecting unemployment about entry level positions. After losing middle-management positions they are now seeking a new career and so must start over at entry level wages. Losing unemployment benefits to take a entry level job makes sense, especially when the benefits pay out higher than the new job does. What about a graduated benefit program? Instead of just extending unemployment, What if you give an incentive to return. EX: new job pays X, person continues to collect unemployment for an extended period that makes up the difference in pay between the new job's take home pay and what had been received on unemployment benefits. Gov pays less and we get people back to work. People are looking for a new career with no applicable job skills but great work history and motivated to start over. But they won't until the benefits run out. Bridge the gap, so to speak.
Deb Carey commented
@Bryan I agree with Sheri's point on the value of SBA. What I see lacking are "greenhouse" start up programs. They bridge the gap between concept and implementation IE seeking funding. How to write a business plan, how to put together spread sheets and projections. Often local accountants, attorneys ect will participate as well as a class organizer. Clackamas Community College in Milwaukee, OR ran a Greenhouse Program through their Small Business Development Center that has proven invaluable to my success. The problem isn't lack of interest by banks/investors the problem is the small business person often has difficulty communicating their vision in a way that motivates investors.
I would like to see more collaboration between universities, ec dev, corporations, creating ecosystems that support a "brand" for cities around the US, the same way Silicon Valley has done with IT. How can a Pennsylvania be the engineering center of the world given the US Steel, Alcoa, Westinghouse/Penn State/Pitt/Lehigh Valley and their alumni base. How can Texas and the AG community become the center of the world for leading ag technologies. How can each region develop a "brand" to attract global customers. How can a region become a farm for both talent and technologies that will be consumed by the global 100s?
Jeff Lebow commented
The most difficult labor issue we face is how to put our unemployed production labor force back to work. They are a difficult demographic due to their age and skill sets. One dramatic and important action the President and John Bryson can take is to negotiate a trade deal with China that will either apply a tariff on imported solar panels to level the field for American production, or offer the Chinese the option to set up their own solar plants in the US and hire US workers. This was done in the 1980's by the Japanese to get around tariffs on their imported light trucks. Now we have thousands of Americans working for Japanese car manufacturers. The solar plant in MA that was closed after two years, driven out of the market by cheaper Chinese panels is an excellent example of why this action would be critical to establish a domestic energy option to imported oil. Energy, as Mr. Bryson knows, is an industry that hires from every level of education and experience. While not wanting to initiate a full-blown trade war, a selected protection of an emerging energy industry is a reasonable goal for this President to pursue. The Chinese often take the long-view and in the long view, Americans markets will be much more robust if we can develop new employment for middle class consumers.
America cannot just compete in the global economy, it has to lead the highly-interdependent global environment. Invention and innovation has been the key so far, but this has to not only continue, but has to be put in focus. Executive actions that incentivize and reward invention is critical not just for today but for the long term economic health of America. Areas such as education, immigration, manufacturing and small businesses should be looked at from the perspective of increasing invention.
Robert L.Darnall, Sr. commented
We Can Reverse Global Warming Simply, Cheaply, Easily and Quickly If We Hurry!
Experts tell us living inside our Ozone Layer is much like our great-great-grandmother’s ice boxes. To reverse Global Warming; we simply do a variation of what she did to restore the required level of cooling in her warming icebox. Add more ice.
By using our solar and/or wind turbine or other virtually free “green” energy sources, we can strategically place large pumping stations and heated pipelines where the melting ice pack is pooling. Pump the water back where we still have ultra-frozen air and spray the water out to be instantly refrozen. In essence, we are just putting the ice back as we allow the winds to distribute this NEW and additional cool air as needed.
We melted it. Let’s refreeze it quickly so to buy time until we can correct our Global Warming issues and problems. I want my kid’s to have a future so please forward this to everyone who may want their children to have a future too. Thank you!
I call it "The RLD Formula for Global Cooling"
All Rights Reserved By Robert L. Darnall, Sr.
Please feel free to send your comments and suggestions to me at RLDSCI@Yahoo.com
AdminBryan Erwin (Director--Advocacy Center, International Trade Administration, White House) commented
Everyone, thanks much for the spate of ideas suitable for executive orders. Without leading the jury too much, would anyone like to discuss how access to capital, or lack thereof, from lending institutions are affecting your ability to grow your business? The more specificity you can give the better.
Ari and I have been working gathering your suggestions on access to capital when we've been out in the field and feel as though, there are probably a lot of other, good ideas out there.
Sheri Sensabaugh commented
1. Fund, staff, train and empower SBDC offices to really service and support small businesses.
2. Train and support participating SBA banks to know what is available for small businesses and how to market the services/loans to their small business customers. Make banks qualify to be participating, audit their programs to ensure they are actually lending/servicing small businesses and then create consequences for SBA participating banks that don't lend to small business.
My bank has been unaware of many state and federal small business guarantees, etc. Until I did the research and brought the information to them!!
3. Get actual numbers on how many small businesses currently have SBA, State or Federal (ARC) loans to find out what really is working and to find out what banks are really assisting small business growth and job creation. Then incentivize the banks that aren't and reward the banks that are.
4. Really help small businesses get certified as WOSB, MBE, DBE, 8a, VOB, HUB zone, etc. Once certified allow the certification to be regional or national instead of duplicating the very lengthy overwhelming certification process again and again. my business is MBE/DBE certified by MDOT (Maryland Department of Transportation). I can do a quick certification with VA. And DC but not with WV. I am sure this is true across the US. If certification requirements are the same and in MD I have to re-certify each year, why can't each state work with the other?
4. UNBUNDLE government contracts! Bundled RFPs defeat the entire purpose. I can certainly supply quality staffing services to my region, WV, PA, western MD, but not successfully in the Baltimore MD region say.
Large Corporations seem to have forgotten what fair pay is, what a fair share is. They now think that they should be able to pay the people at the top outrageous salaries and that their stocks should pay their investors MUCH more than a fair return. We used to have laws about the percentage of highest interest that could be charged was. But the republican party eliminated those laws and now the corporations and greedy investors 'expect' the people to pay outrageously 'unfair' amounts for products or services, not for the quality of product or service, but for the mere fact that they believe they should be paid far more than they are worth or what is a fair return on their money. Meanwhile the American people are forced to pay TOO MUCH for everything just so the greedy ones can rake us over the coals - it's pure greed and totally unfair business practices. We need laws that regulate how much by percentage of profits, after FAIR tax rates are deducted, that these CEO's, Wall Street Banks, etc can demand as a salary, and their outrageous bonuses should not be allowed to be more than a tenth of a percent of what they personally created as a fair profit for their companies. The monies that are saved by doing this can create thousands, or tens of thousands of jobs.
It's time to replace regulations that kept the playing field fair for all.
By Executive Order the President should mandate all federal agencies to require prime contractors who are providing goods and services to the federal government under '"bundled contracts" to increase goals established in their subcontracting plans by 25% in all socio- economic categories by the end of fiscal year 2012. The performance ratings of contractors should be lowered if the revised goals are not met and increased if the revised goals are met. This action will immediately result in a significant increase in the number of contracts awarded to small businesses.
Two thirds of the job demand between now and 2016 will require less than a 2 year degree, yet there is non-stop talk about how you have to get a college degree to succeed. Our next generation is incurring exhorbinant college debt that they will struggle to pay off for years to come. They are further being encouraged to get degrees in areas that has no demand. There is also enough upfront screening to determine if they have the proper skill sets to be successful. We need to develop more credited programs that put kids to work not necessarily just push them into college. There are many high paying jobs in advanced manufacturing that are going unfilled. These programs need to include a mix of classroom and applied training. After years of work advocating on the state and federal level for a need to develop different training programs, I am finally working with my local unemployment agency to begin an in house training program with 10 kids to train in beginning machining. I have found 21 job opening for these kids by contacting only 6 employees so the demand is there. Education is great as long as you can demonstrate the demand, put the right training programs and focus on outcomes of employment in the end. We need to fill the gaps and put people to work!!
I believe the president should end the FSSI Strategy. Specifically the Office Products catagory. It has proven to reduce jobs in an industry that up untill the implementation of the FSSI, had continually grown veteran, women and minority owned businessess participaton. And I mean true job growth, not the facade they preach now. The facts show that this contract is costing jobs with no PROVEN savings to the government!
Scott Grimshaw commented
Lets start with what can an Executive Order do? I checked Wikipedia, that trusted source of information, and found that its use is subject to lots of interpretation. I'm not sure what it can be applied to, to be honest. So with that in mind, let me toss out a few items that may or may not be possible:
1) Redefine a small business in the SBA as a concern less than 100 employees. Even that's too big, but the "Small" Business Administration should be focusing its resources on small businesses. 500 people is not, and never ever has been, a small business.
2) Change the SBIR set aside from 2.5% to 5% of the affected agencies' budgets. We invent a lot more and a lot faster than these monster companies that suck the federal government dry. And we don't try to write off our lobbyists fees because we don't have any lobbyists.
3) Create consequences for SBA participating banks like Wells Fargo that don't lend to small businesses. In other words, if a bank is part of that program, why aren't they doing anything? We have personal experience with Wells Fargo, and frankly, they make up new rules that the SBA says don't exist.
4) Require the GSA to give preferences to American businesses first in all buying.
There's a start.