If there was any doubt about how important jobs are to the health of American families and our economy, the recent partial government shutdown provided ample confirmation.
Our economy doesn’t need these sorts of unforced errors. We need to be focused on creating new jobs and an environment in which entrepreneurs feel confident in launching new startups here.
In recent decades startups have fueled the vast majority of new net job growth in the U.S. and had an outsized positive impact on innovation, exports, and productivity growth. Technology jobs have a multiplier effect across the economy. Each new tech job creates 4.3 additional jobs in the local community. And at a time when wage stagnation is so prevalent in the U.S., tech jobs on average pay more than twice as much as jobs in other private sector industries. Yet the U.S. is currently in a “startup slump” with a quarter fewer businesses formed in 2015, the last year of Census data, than in 2006, the year before the recession.
One way to stop this slump is for Congress to pass the STARTUP Act, legislation recently introduced by a bipartisan group of senators. The legislation would increase the creation of new startups, allow more foreign entrepreneurs and high-skilled workers to remain in the U.S., and use existing federal R&D money to fund university research across the country.
The legislation will create an entrepreneur visa for 75,000 foreign workers attempting to launch or move businesses to the U.S., as well as a STEM visa for 50,000 international students who have obtained a master’s or PhD degree from a U.S. university. Immigrant entrepreneurs have created more than half of America’s startups valued at more than $1 billion, and each of these startups, in turn, has created an average of 760 American jobs. The influx of high-skilled workers creates job growth even if they are not launching new companies. For every 100 foreign-born workers with advanced degrees, an additional 262 American jobs are created.
The bill would also fuel the American startup economy by using federal R&D dollars to fund university initiatives designed to bring cutting-edge research to the marketplace, which in turn would open up advances in science and tech research to all entrepreneurs. The cherry on top? The bill will reduce the regulatory burden on startups by requiring government agencies to reassess the impact of their rulemakings on the formation and growth of new businesses, as well as direct the Commerce Department to examine the impact of state and local policies on startup growth.
A bill that creates jobs, boosts the economy, reduces bureaucratic burden, funds university research, fuels innovation, and spreads opportunity across America, all the while attracting an additional 125,000 highly-educated and entrepreneurial immigrants per year (the kind even President Trump would like). Who could be against that? And yet, Congress has had the opportunity to pass the STARTUP Act five times, and it has failed to do so every time. At a moment when Washington seems unable to even agree on a lunch order, this bill is a test to see if lawmakers can come together on the most common sense of laws.