Friday, December 05, 2008

Antidote to The Great Recession: A national small business generation service

Robert Reich's asks "Shall We Call it a Depression Now?" Brad DeLong says ... not yet.

It is looking rather bad though (Glurk! by DeLong):.

Rex Nutting of Marketwatch:

Payrolls plunge by stunning 533,000 in November: U.S. nonfarm payrolls plunged by an astonishing 533,000 in November, the worst job loss in 34 years, the Labor Department reported Friday. It's only the fourth time in the past 58 years that payrolls have fallen by more than 500,000 in a month. Since the recession began 11 months ago, a total of 1.9 million jobs have been lost. The unemployment rate rose from 6.5% in October to 6.7% in November, the highest jobless rate since October 1993...

Everytime I remark to Barry Eichengreen about the disjunction between the intensity of the financial crisis and its limited transmission to the real economy, he says "just wait." I guess we can stop waiting.

So call it the Great Recession for the moment.

In the Great Depression the solution to economic stall was World War II. That's like treating pneumonia with malignant melanoma. Let's not try World War III.

So we can do all the things that have been tried here or elsewhere, depending on how cooperative the rump of the GOP is.

That's good, but maybe we should try a few new things too.

Imagine a national small business generator. A web site built around a knowledge-base of tens of thousands of business plans. Plans for franchise businesses, plans for manufacturing, plans for service businesses. Plans for businesses that need a lot of startup money. Plans for businesses that need a credit card and a mega-Kiva (it's the US, not Uganda) microloan. Plans for all the things people need in bad times, and plans for the good times to come. Plans for business that write the business plans that go into the knowledge-base.

The plans are organized by pre-requisites. Some are tagged for special skills, others for grinding hard work. They come with packaged loans, like the ones the Small Business Administration already offers - and maybe with grants as well. They come with packaged legal infrastructure, and an expedited incorporation package that greatly simplifies current law - a kind of augmented LLC with simplified tax filing. IP protection, the whole nine yards.

Add an option to invest. So would-be investors can browse these small business startups, and choose which to invest in. Optional online skills based training, or sign up with the people who've just launched, you know, teaching businesses.

Most importantly, the plans are tied to a federal health insurance program, modeled after the Minnesota small-business plans available to any two people starting a business.

It's a web site of course.

So one day you're out of work.

Take a day off. Then go to the knowledge-base.

Login. Browse. Search. Compare some plans. Get some advice. Pick on, click, click, sign.

You're in business now. A grant to start. Health insurance. A loan.

It's not new. Similar programs have been very successful in developing nations. It's just a bit bigger.

It could be done.

No comments: