President Biden has announced his American Jobs Plan, which calls for $2 trillion dollars to be invested in infrastructure, climate change, and addressing racial inequalities. He also suggests that it will create two million new American jobs.
I do think it is the place of any elected government to pick its priorities, turn them into legislation, and try to influence the country. What I do not understand is where the focus is on the entrepreneur as the catalyst for future economic growth.
While the plan calls for investing $180 billion in research and development that will, among other things, beef up America's research infrastructure, which would be allocated across the federal R&D agencies, including at the Department of Energy, it also notes that half of those funds will, importantly, be reserved for Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions, including the creation of a new national lab focused on climate that will be affiliated with an HBCU.
But new funding isn't enough. We cannot just rely on the government to stimulate the economy with additional spending. If economic growth will be "bottom-up," it will come from millions of entrepreneurs taking risks, putting themselves out on a limb, and hiring people. The government's role is to encourage and incentivize this growth and clear the way for entrepreneurs to do what we do.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was extended yesterday for two additional months. It will provide a life vest for a small group of business owners who were hurt by the pandemic. It might be important, but it is not nearly enough.
We must embrace entrepreneurs. Providing them the support and help they need to get their businesses up and running and growing. They need mentoring, guidance, and help. They need to be able to go into a bank and get a loan.
The SBA is perhaps the most stretched agency in America with their heroic work on the PPP and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. We must make sure that they have the resources to get back to their day jobs, of supporting investment and growth. We should be increasing funding so entrepreneurs can get their first six months of SBA payments made instead of three and extend 90 percent guarantees that will run out before we know.
And while the government can play its part--each entrepreneur has a role in this also. How can we add at least one good-paying job to our payroll this year? What can we do to support and mentor an emerging entrepreneur? How can we organize in our communities to help each other?
President Biden's Americas Jobs Plan is a great start, but it's not enough. We all need to step to the plate and do our part as well.