At the recent White House jobs summit, President Obama got an earful from 130 business leaders. Here’s what they want — and what Obama is likely to try.
- Open more credit lines for small firms. The Big Boys in business are getting access to the credit they need — via big banks or stock deals. Not so for the Little Guys. Most of them rely on small or midsize banks, where credit is tightest.
What Obama heard: Get more money into the hands of other-than-humongous bankers — with the stipulation that they lend it to smaller businesses. And stabilize the housing market and mortgages because home equity is a main source of financing for entrepreneurs.
- Set up hiring and expansion incentives. Even a small drop in business often means a drop in employees when you’re a smaller company. If President Obama wants employers to hire while business is still down, he’ll have to figure out some incentives.
What Obama heard: Enact targeted tax credits (a) to companies that increase payrolls and (b) to businesses that do the research and development needed to expand business and hire more workers.
- Use “rescue” money to rescue businesses. Any program is going to cost money, and no one’s in the mood to increase the already-ballooning deficit. So one solution might be to divert some cash in the Troubled Asset Relief Program from the financial industry to a program that promotes jobs and small and midsize businesses.
What Obama heard: Work with Congress to redistribute leftover TARP money. That’s complicated and requires more than just a stroke of the pen, since the money was appropriated for a specific purpose initially. But it’s not impossible.