President Obama's announcement last night that America's combat troops in Iraq are coming home is good news indeed. After the tragic loss of 4,400 lives of some of our most courageous citizens and $1 trillion in spending that could have been used here at home, our seven and one-half years of agony from a war that never should have been started is finally coming to an end.
Sadly, our troops are coming home to a country whose economy will not have jobs to offer them. With 27 million Americans unable to find full-time work, these loyal veterans will have to stand in long lines for jobs or shift to the unemployment rolls.
The strength of this country lies in its free-enterprise democracy that enables anyone with a good idea to start a company or anyone with skill and a willingness to work hard to reach the top, even in the largest corporations.
With the troops coming home, America needs to come home to its senses and its roots. It is time for us to "come home to America." With the Labor Day holiday approaching, we need to get our citizens back to work. The time is right to stop nation-building overseas and start nation-building here at home. Let's stop financing foreign governments with imports and start financing our people with jobs and opportunities -- not in government-funded jobs, but in a vibrant private sector that generates profits and personal income, and pays taxes to reduce our mounting national debt.
How can we do this? It won't be by driving consumers to spend money they don't have. People without jobs, or afraid of losing their jobs, aren't in the market for new houses and new automobiles. They have to repay the credit card and mortgage debts that are already weighing them down. These days we are not creating jobs for people, nor does the start-up capital exist to enable the Steve Jobs and Bill Gates of the future to get funding to bring their ideas to fruition.
Contrary to what politicians tell us, there is no "quick fix" to this dilemma. Nor is the economy gradually improving, as we've heard from economists for the past eighteen months. By not investing here at home for the past decade -- in research and development, in manufacturing, in infrastructure, in education, in new company startups, in small business -- we have created long-term structural problems. We must face the reality that long-term problems require long-term solutions.
What are these long-term solutions? How can we rebuild the competitiveness of the U.S. economy by investing in America?
While President Obama is meeting with his economic advisers looking for ideas, here is the comprehensive investment program that is needed to reignite private sector investment and create the millions of jobs that will get Americans off the unemployment rolls and back to work:
- To stimulate factory and building investments, provide private-sector investment accelerated tax credits at double the current rate;
- To accelerate creativity and innovation, double tax credits for increases in research and development and makes them permanent;
- To get small business jobs jump-started, where 70 percent of the jobs are created, offer hiring credits for small businesses with fifty or fewer employees,;
- To stimulate new company formation, offer a capital gains tax holiday for start-up companies the first time they are sold;
- To provide more funding for new companies, create a government "fund-of-funds" to funnel money into venture capital without picking winners or losers;
- To rebuild America's roads, bridges and public building, expand government infra-structure funding for the next three years;
- To stimulate exports to reduce our growing balance of payments deficits, offer tax credits for expanding exports;
- To reduce energy imports, announce a comprehensive program of energy development here at home that includes both renewable and non-renewable energy sources;
As a nation, we cannot let our current political malaise stand in the way of making America competitive once again. The time to act is . . . now!