Our business owners need to know they are appreciated and that their service to business, usually at the cost of family time, is recognized. Private equity takes on these same risks as the owner, putting at risk their own capital, unlike a bank. Private equity is also getting a beating as the American tax laws change to show that their risk taking will not be seen as equal to the business owner.
With the increasingly negative rhetoric about business, I was pleased to read Thomas Friedman's article on the best gift to a graduate -- a start up. Of course, encouraging start ups requires many elements of the business environment to work together. Above all, the knowledge by society that founding and running a business takes enormous effort is the most critical. Otherwise, taxing those who make jobs will push their incentives down.
Here's Thomas Friedman:
We owe our young people something better — and the solution is not that complicated, although it is amazing how little it is discussed in the Washington policy debates. We need three things: start-ups, start-ups and more start-ups.
Good jobs — in bulk — don’t come from government. They come from risk-takers starting businesses — businesses that make people’s lives healthier, more productive, more comfortable or more entertained, with services and products that can be sold around the world. You can’t be for jobs and against business.
I asked two of the best people on this subject, Robert Litan, vice president of research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation, which specializes in innovation, and Curtis Carlson, the chief executive of SRI International, the Silicon Valley-based innovation specialists.
Carlson said he would begin by creating a cabinet position exclusively for promoting innovation and competitiveness to ensure that America remains “the world’s new company formation leader.” “Secretary Newco” would be focused on pushing through initiatives — including lower corporate taxes for start-ups, reducing costly regulations (like Sarbanes-Oxley reporting for new companies), and expanding tax breaks for research and development to make it cheaper and faster to start new firms. We need to unleash millions of entrepreneurs.
Litan said he’d staple a green card to the diploma of every foreign student who graduates from a U.S. university and push for a new meaningful entrepreneurs visa (the current one, the EB-5, requires $1 million of capital that few foreign entrepreneurs have). It would grant temporary residence to any foreigner who comes here to establish a company and permanent residency if that company generates a certain level of new full-time jobs and revenues. One of the best moves we could make, adds Litan, would be a long-term budget deal that would address the looming Social Security/Medicare payouts for baby boomers. Proving to the bond market that we have our long-term fiscal house in order would keep long-term interest rates low and thereby “encourage private investment more than any tax cut.”
Nevertheless, I’d also cut the capital gains tax for any profit-making venture start-up from 15 percent to 1 percent. I want our best minds to be able to make a killing from starting new companies rather than going to Wall Street and making a killing by betting against existing companies. I’d also impose a carbon tax and balance that with a cut in payroll taxes and corporate taxes. Let’s tax what we don’t want and encourage what we do.