Opportunity Knocks. Quick, Bar the Door!

The USA currently has an opportunity to secure it’s position as a world leader in technology and industry while securing the future of it’s workers.  Opportunity is knocking and the Federal government is refusing to answer.

When I wrote “Jobs for America, Starting Today” I was looking at two regional industries, one that has been running a successful apprenticeship program for over a century and another that recently partnered with a community college to develop a skilled workforce.  Now this trend is spreading.  Honda America is establishing a program to interest students in manufacturing jobs and develop the workforce of the future, Starbucks is offering it’s employees college scholarships, and we can expect other businesses to step up.  For those who think manufacturing is just for machinists and mechanics, remember that modern manufacturing also requires engineers, computer programmers, quality control experts, logistics specialists, and industrial safety and health professionals.  The best way the Federal government could help is to Get Out of the Way.  Businesses need skilled employees, colleges need qualified students, but neither needs a government middleman to broker the deals.  Neither needs the “strings” that come with government “help” either.  Here’s how the Feds can get out of the way.

Reform and simplify the corporate tax code.  Lower the tax rate while cutting “corporate welfare” to ensure that tax breaks benefit everyone, not just the top executives.

Implement my “PARA” plan for repatriating overseas  earnings in a way that will create jobs here at home while helping the environment as businesses can use that money to  improve energy efficiency.

As millions of Baby Boomers retire their knowledge must be passed to the next generation.  Encourage businesses to offer transitional employment such are part time work to retiring employees so that new employees can benefit from their experience.  In most cases it’s a win-win proposition.  Reform the individual tax code too to help all employees.

Abolish the Medical Device Tax immediately.  It hurts everyone: patients, providers, and businesses that save lives.  Medical technology is a growing field that requires multi-disciplinary professionals, and one in which this country excels, so keep these businesses here and growing.

Cut excess overhead by eliminating requirements for endless reports that no one looks at, then cut the bureaucrats who asked for them.

Stop flooding the country with unskilled immigrants.  A tight labor market will result in wage increases without a mandated minimum wage increase while an excess of available laborers will depress wages.  Politics can’t change the basic rules of economics.

Don’t increase the H1B visa ceiling for skilled foreign workers until every citizen with a STEM degree has a job in their field.  Technology companies and IT departments  have used H1B visas to cut older (i.e., higher paid) workers out of job opportunities.  Also, since H1B holders tend to be in the higher salary ranges, don’t let their spouses work and take jobs from citizens.

If you expect businesses to help in training the workforce of the future don’t tell them who they must hire.  Let them invest in those who are best qualified for the particular work at hand.

Reject the false promises of modern socialism, which is actually elitism.  Don’t put the UN ahead of the USA either.  Resist the notion that we must become a third world nation in order to help third world nations.  We are a sovereign nation founded on one document, our Constitution, and it has helped this nation prosper for over 200 years.

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PARA: A Fed-free stimulus.

Instead of spending tax dollars to stimulate the economy or having the Fed manipulate it, why not let industry do it?  That’s the plan with PARA: the Pro-America Repatriation Act.  Corporations are holding billions of dollars of foreign earnings overseas and have asked for a zero tax “holiday” to bring it all back into the USA.  Now that’s a bit greedy so let’s make a win-win compromise.  A company can repatriate as much money as it wants.  From one-half to three quarters of it can be designated as PARA funds that will be tax-free.  Non-PARA money will be taxed at one-half the current corporate rate.  The rules of PARA are simple: the money must be invested in the US economy within the next 2 to 5 years, with the time limit dependent on the amount.   PARA money can be used to construct new facilities or update existing ones in the USA (all work must be done by US contractors except vendor-specific equipment work), to buy capital equipment, to hire US workers, to train it’s workers in new techniques, or to run an apprenticeship or co-op program for US citizens.  It cannot be used for bonuses, dividends, stock buybacks, debt repayment, or to hire foreign workers.

Any PARA designated money not invested within the agreed time frame will be taxed at twice the corporate rate.  There’s no “roll-over” to the next holiday.