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Is the American Dream Dead? Not if We Have Something to Say About It!

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Innovation has provided the foundation for the growth of the U.S. economy since the beginning of the last century. It is what has pushed America ahead in retail, technology, medicine, and a host of other fields.

These innovations led to new products and services that have afforded the American people one of the highest standards of living in the world. Manufacturing provided jobs for factory workers, skilled labor, technicians, engineers, executives, service support businesses and material vendors. Innovations and business startups created new industries, new products, services and millions of new jobs, fueling the belief in the American Dream and the middle class. Until recently, this creative and economic engine has kept the U.S. far ahead of the rest of the world and provided a wonderful life for most of the American people. It also insured that our college graduates had many opportunities to pursue their careers and dreams. However, over the last several years we have seen a decline in the American standard of living, and a loss of the economic power of the United States. In the November 1, 2010 issue of Time Magazine, Fareed Zakaria writes in an article titled: "Restoring The American Dream" of the growing spirit and enthusiasm in many other parts of the world and the growing despair in America. Reflecting on a Newsweek poll in September, 2010,

63% of Americans said they did not think they would be able to maintain their current standard of living. Perhaps most troubling, Americans are strikingly fatalistic about their prospects. The can-do country is convinced that it can't.

Our young people and college grads need the inspiration and a renewed hope that they too have a chance that at the grass roots level, each has the opportunity to create a better life, to dream, and the possibility to create their financial freedom. Let's give them a chance! Let's create some positive energy and excitement around innovation and finding the next new thing that will drive our economy forward.

Many in the press promote the value of the companies that grow to over a billion dollars in revenue as the real job creators. Thus many initiatives and government programs promote the high-growth businesses. However, the distinction between the startups that become billion-dollar business after 20 years is not evident at the birth of these businesses. The real economic and social impact comes from startups in all sectors, from all groups of people, not just from the high-growth ventures that get all the attention from angel investors, VCs and government programs.

An American Economic Renaissance

This country needs a common cause to unite behind to create an American economic renaissance. The key is providing support for a vast number of startups, implementing laws and new social norms that provide the infrastructure to nurture these businesses and help them grow. If anyone knew which companies would become the billion dollar winners, then we would all be investing in the sure winners. We do not know. We need to inspire and assist in the growth of a great number of companies. Most of these may not turn into the billion dollar winners that most investors are looking for, but they may be the successful small businesses that are the backbone of this country and the American Dream.

Restoring Manufacturing in America

To lead in innovation and to capitalize on the innovative potential of industry also requires a renewed collaboration between business and the government to restore manufacturing in America. With more and more manufacturing companies going offshore, many of the jobs for the American factory workers, the managers, technicians, engineers, executives, the supporting services and many outside vendors and their employees have been lost.

The manufacturing firms of America, with their vast array of engineers, technicians, and supporting service providers, created most of the new jobs for college graduates. If manufacturing continues to go offshore, what is left for the U.S. workforce and what positions will be available for our college graduates?

What Will It Take?

So what will it take to get the political parties on each side of the isle to work together for innovative legislation that benefits all Americans? Here are five ideas to help create jobs and boost the economy for the political parties to put into their convention planks.

1. Create a major tax credit incentive for the investors, including family and friends, who fund all types of startups. The companies should create at least one new job and the tax credit taken over 3 to 5 years and offset by monies received from the companies invested in.
2. Offer corporations the opportunity to bring back off-shore profits at a no tax or a low tax, with the provision that 1/3 is invested in startups and small businesses with less than 50 people and 1/3 is invested in tooling, plant and equipment to bring manufacturing back to the U.S.
3. Offer forgiveness of student loans for those working to create a new business. For each dollar invested in the business, the government would forgive the same amount of student loan indebtedness.
4. Offer loans to small business with approvals granted by the local SCORE and SBDC boards, not banks, to small businesses with less than 50 employees that complete their courses and that are counseled by their groups. The loans would be funded through the SBA and administered through local banks.
5. Offer educational programs for business startups in Spanish for the growing Latino population interested in creating their own businesses.

Let your voice be heard!
Now let's here from you, the most innovative people on the planet. What would you suggest to revive the American Dream and create an American economic renaissance?

Give a voice to the needs of startups and small businesses. Get involved and let your voice be heard. Let your representatives know that we want more support for startups and small businesses. Email me your ideas, post your comments and sign a petition to your representative on LaunchAmerica.org.

For all you college graduates, take your destiny in your own hands, pursue your dreams and give a voice to your passion.

Nick Bassill
Launch America! Reviving the American Dream
nickbassill@launchamerica.org

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