Its great to see President-elect Obama aggressively taking on the economy prior to his taking office. Unfortunately, the economic advisory team that he has put together looks more like a semester's worth of great guest speakers for an MBA class than an economic advisory team that can truly help him.
There are a lot of great minds on the list:
Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Laura Tyson, who served as Clinton's top economic adviser; former Fed Vice Chairman Roger Ferguson; Time Warner Inc. Chairman Richard Parsons; former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman William Donaldson and Xerox Corp. Chief Executive Officer Anne Mulcahy.
Google Inc. CEO Eric Schmidt, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and Roel Campos, an ex-SEC commissioner, and Warren Buffett are also on the advisory board.
Notice anything missing?
Not a single entrepreneur. Yes Warren Buffett started a business, but he will be the first to tell you that he "doesn't do start ups". Which means there isn't a single person advising PE Obama that we know of that knows what it's like to start and run a business in this or any economic climate. That's a huge problem.
If we are going to solve our current economic problems, our president needs to get first hand information on the impact his proposed policies will have on real Joe the Plumbers. People who are 1-person companies living job to job, hoping they get paid on time. We need to know what the impact of his policies will be on the individually owned Chrysler Dealership in Iowa. The bodega in Manhattan. The mobile phone software startup out of Carnegie Mellon. The event planner in Dallas. The barbershop in L.A. The restaurant in Boston.
Entrepreneurs that start and run small businesses will be the propellant in this economy. PE Obama needs to have the counsel of those who will take the real risk inherent in creating companies and jobs. Those who put their money and lives on the line with their business.
Without it, the rules of unintended consequences of any economic policy could hit you in the mouth in ways you never expected. Things like forcing companies from being taxpayers to the underground cash economy, or forcing new hires to be independent contractors to avoid having to pay their insurance or higher matching social security amounts. Your current group has no one with 100% of their net worth on the line. I promise you that the possibility of losing it all will provide a completely different perspective than any of the "knowledge" the esteemed, learned members of his current advisory team offer.
PE Obama, I'm always available to help, but my recommendation would be to randomly go through the new incorporation filings and ask for volunteers to give feedback. Ask the people who are actually starting new businesses what they need.
Entrepreneurs will lead us out of this mess. Talk to them.
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