Let’s say you are a small business and you sell a significant percentage of your products to overseas customers. On any given day, you could be dealing with regulations, licenses, and other requirements from six different federal departments and agencies. Or seven. Or eight. The inefficiencies of going back and forth between different layers of the federal bureaucracy are more than a pain in the neck; it stifles entrepreneurship and hinders innovation. Too many would-be innovators decide that, considering all the red tape involved in starting a new business, it’s simply not worth it. For those entrepreneurs who manage to get their businesses off the ground, too many are forced to tread slowly and carefully for fear of running afoul of a byzantine regulatory system.
When it comes to job creation, the data is clear: new and young companies are the primary source of job creation in the American economy. These are the firms that inject dynamism in our economy, ramp up competition and kick-start innovation. With the rate of new business starts steadily declining in the past few years, it’s no secret that this dearth of new companies will soon have a direct impact on new job creation. This is something the Trump administration is suited to tackle.
Trump can kick-start job growth by restructuring government.
In America, we are living in a global economy regulated by a federal bureaucracy that has changed very little since the mid-20th century. Our economy has fundamentally changed in the past thirty years, but our government, unfortunately, has not yet made the change. Entrepreneurship is the engine of job creation, and the Trump White House can transform the startup landscape by streamlining the regulatory environment and transforming government in the process.
Fortunately, there is one course of action that can remove a lot of the hurdles that face the entrepreneurial class: reorganizing the federal government. President Obama had proposed consolidating up to nine federal agencies into one Cabinet-level agency, creating a one-stop-shop for small businesses. However, Obama’s plan never got much traction because it didn’t have a clearly stated goal and such a move needed the approval of a Republican-controlled Congress. Trump would certainly have support from his GOP comrades who run the House and the Senate. And the goal of the consolidation would be clear: create jobs.
Currently, there are six departments and agencies that focus on business and trade in the federal government: the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. One could easily make the case that the Department of Labor should also be included in this group. A well-executed consolidation of these entities will help entrepreneurs and small business owners by streamlining the regulatory environment facing America’s job-creators.
It’s time for our nation to embrace job creation by having a single federal agency dedicated to support it. This should be a slam dunk for the country’s new president, and it will enable him to achieve one of his major campaign promises—creating new jobs.
He should have one cabinet-level secretary with one basic goal: to spur job creation to expand the U.S. economy.
A consolidation of several federal agencies has the potential to make the entrepreneur’s user-experience much more straightforward from business formation, to capitalization, and throughout the start-up lifecycle. By creating integrated processes for companies to follow with one point of contact within the federal bureaucracy, our government can build a partnership with our country’s job builders.
The Secretary of Economic Growth and Entrepreneurship would be responsible for shepherding the startup mentality across the country, for bringing the best practices of Silicon Valley to the heartland of America, and for ensuring that all entrepreneurs have opportunities to live the American dream.
Donald J. Trump is viewed as the nation’s first entrepreneur-in-chief, and he campaigned on job creation. By reorganizing a confusing and often-times overlapping federal bureaucracy—while instilling a single-minded focus on job creation—Trump can secure his legacy as the “jobs and innovation” president.
Richard Hecker is the CEO of Traction + Scale, an investment holding company that builds companies transform their industries. You can follow him on twitter @RichieBlueEyes
Arick Wierson is a former political and communications adviser to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and currently advises US companies on growing their businesses overseas in emerging markets. You can follow him on Twitter @ArickWierson