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Previously: White House Urban Economic Forum – Kansas City – May 8, 2012 – photos (May 8, 2012)

The White House Business Council and the U.S. Small Business Administration hosted an Urban Economic Forum at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City yesterday.

Ari Matusiak, Executive Director of the White House Business Council speaking at the

White House Urban Economic Forum held at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City on May 8, 2012.

Excerpts from the introduction and panel sessions:

Ari Matusiak, Executive Director of the White House Business Council: ….This is the, uh, the sixth of the urban economic forums that we’re doing around the country. Uh, and just give you a little bit of a sense about why we’re here. Uh, when the President came to the office in January of two thousand and nine four million jobs had been lost in what has turned out to be the greatest recession since the Great Depression. Seven hundred fifty thousand jobs were being lost a month in January two thousand and nine. That’s the size of the city of Charlotte. We were moving toward, uh, a great depression and toward financial collapse. Um, and, uh, people were rightly very concerned. Um, that recession that ultimately, uh, lost eight million jobs, uh, across the country and across sectors, uh, was compounded by a, by years of under investment in our economy. Two thousand and two thousand and seven was the lowest rate of, rate of job growth since the nineteen, of any decade since the nineteen forties. And so when the recession came, uh, it was, it was both severe and deep seated. And so when the President came into office, um, he had to make, take a number of steps to stop the bleeding, uh, and to make sure that we were, uh, not going to go over a financial cliff and also to begin to lay the groundwork for our long term economic recovery….

….So the President’s strategy is pretty straightforward, it’s really a business strategy if you think about it. It’s about removing barriers to, uh, to companies so that they can be successful in all that they do. it’s about making critical investments in human and physical capital and our infrastructure so that we can move our goods and services so that we can compete in the global marketplace. And it’s about unleashing the potential of our own people, uh, unleashing the, the potential of our innovative capacity of our entrepreneurial spirit so that we continue to let America be America, the, the elements that really define, uh, who we are as a country….

….Entrepreneurs are the embodiment of the President’s approach to our long term economic competitiveness and success, and frankly, at the center of the administration’s strategy for spurring job creation across the country. The Kaufmann Foundation has done research to show that virtually all new jobs are created by high growth entrepreneurs. Uh, and so entrepreneurs are the mechanism by which we can add jobs back, uh, to the economy….

….For twenty-six straight months we’ve had, uh, consistent job growth. Four point two million jobs have been created, uh, and the first quarter of two thousand and twelve has been the strongest rate of job growth since, uh, two thousand and five….

Marie Johns, Deputy Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration

Marie Johns, Deputy Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration: ….When President Obama came into office he inherited, uh, an outrageous economic, uh, set of circumstances. And he knew that small businesses were going to be a major part of the economic recovery that had to happen. And they have been. Uh, over the last two years nearly five million new private sector jobs have been created and many of those have been created by small business owners. Two out of every three private sector jobs in our country are created by small businesses. Half of the folks working today are working for a small business….

Bob Litan, Vice President for Research and Policy, Kauffman Foundation

Bob Litan, Vice President for Research and Policy, Kauffman Foundation: …One of the interesting things we found out in our surveys is that we followed firms that were formed in two thousand four and we follow them through the last eight years. And it turns out four, firms that were formed in the middle of the last expansion, the most significant source of their funds was not friends and family, which is, which is the traditional source that people think, uh, finance small business, um, or new business. It was banks. But it was banks through credit cards and home equity loans. All right. So that’s gone. We haven’t done the survey on firms that were formed in two thousand ten because we haven’t started yet. But I could almost predict the answer. And we know that since that’s gone people have to rely on friends and family….

[in response to a question about the difficulty of someone with a previous criminal record getting a loan to start a small business]

….But I can tell you, I think as a country, and I’m not speaking as a Kauffman person now, I’m speaking as a citizen, I think this country ought to seriously think about decriminalizing a lot of our drug laws. [applause]….

Marie Johns: ….and in terms of the, uh, particularly the startups, the women owned businesses, I should make sure everybody knows that Congress passed a law over eleven years ago creating a set aside for women owned businesses in federal contracting. But it wasn’t until the Obama administration that the regulations were put in place, the rules were written in, to, to actually activate that program. So that program is up and running now….

Rosie Rios, Treasurer of the United States

Rosie Rios, Treasurer of the United States: ….Certainly, with the financial regulatory reform that was passed in July of two thousand ten, the Treasury, the Dodd Frank, has, uh, has [inaudible], has definitely made a difference, uh, in terms of trying to avoid some of the same pitfalls that led us up to the financial crisis. Uh, as with anything there is going to be a transition period. As with anything, as you know, with some of the provisions, for example the local rules are gonna take another two years, uh, for implementation, so it is gonna be, uh, some time. There is gonna be some time necessary in order to make sure that we do what we can to make it as, as, uh, smooth as possible to make sure that lending does occur again….

….Do I get to talk about corporate tax reform, is that what I get to talk about? Um, it’s, you know, another very hot issue in this administration, is corporate tax reform. Um, in February the administration released the President’s framework for reforming the U.S. business tax system to enhance American competitiveness. Um, this framework would essentially simplify the tax code, eliminate dozens of tax loopholes and subsidies, and incentivize job creation and investments here at home and lower the tax corporate rate while broadening the tax base. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done. There’s still a lot of conversations happening. This obviously doesn’t happen in a vacuum. This is a partnership, not just within the executive branch of the administration, but ultimately with the legislative branch. And that is definitely a process underway, definitely something that the President and the Secretar
y of the Treasury, my boss, Secretary Geitner take very, very seriously….

….Question: ….And, uh, just want to be blunt, um, big problems call for big solutions. We’ve got unemployment and kind of a divide between the haves and have nots. Google’s work here in Kansas City has high, highlighted access to information, like the information we’re getting this morning. And for a whole group of people, they just don’t get this information….what is being done to get this information out to high schools, community colleges and other, you know, young people and students so that they know, hey, what does this mean for me as a young business person?….

Cameron Cushman, Senior Analyst, Kauffman Foundation

Cameron Cushman, Senior Analyst, Kauffman Foundation: ….Let me talk a little bit, too, about, uh, uh, immigration in particular. Uh, immigrants start firms at rates much higher than natives do. In two thousand ten the immigrant rate of entrepreneurial activity was point six two percent…but that was substantially higher than the, than the native born U.S. population which was just point two eight percent. So, in the urban core that, that tends to be where immigration, where immigrants settle, where people new to the, uh, new to the country and new to the economy settle. And they start rates, they start business at much higher rates than natives do. Um, and more than a quarter of the technology and engineering companies started in the United States between nineteen ninety-five and two thousand five had at least one key founder who was foreign born. In Silicon Valley, for instance, that rate is even higher. That rate’s about fifty percent. So, immigration, uh, and immigrants, new, new people in, in to the economy that is huge [inaudible] inertia. Uh, I like to quote…if you want people with ideas that are out of the box, you need people who are out of the box. And that’s what immigrants represent….