mercoledì 17 agosto 2011

Come creare nuovi posti di lavoro?

Il rallentamento dell'economia USA e più in generale di tutti i paesi sviluppati non deve stupire: siamo nell'era del deleveraging e molti studi hanno mostrato come la ripresa economica sia lenta e anemica per molti anni dopo una crisi bancaria e finanziaria. Un editoriale sul New York Times di oggi si chiede come mai le società americane, ricche di liquidità, non impieghino una parte di essa per promuovere la crescita:

Some 25 million people — more than 16 percent of the work force — are looking for full-time work. Companies are hoarding cash while reporting record profits.
As for the government, President Obama’s idea of job creation is extending unemployment insurance, on the one hand, and painting grandiose pictures of far-off “green jobs,” on the other. He is bereft of ideas for creating jobs in the here and now. Meanwhile, the Republicans insist — despite mounds of evidence to the contrary — that more tax cuts would create jobs. By now, most Americans have lost hope that our current government will come up with a viable jobs program. It won’t.
I am coming more and more to think that with the government essentially paralyzed for the foreseeable future, the only way we’re going to get jobs is by turning to actual job creators: business itself. With all their cash, companies shouldn’t be waiting for Congress to give them tax incentives to hire people. They should be trying to jump-start the economy — and fend off another recession — by making investments, and hiring workers, that will lead to renewed prosperity.

Secondo Nocera una delle ragioni che trattengono le compagnie dall'investire e assumere nuova forza lavoro è il timore che gli altri competitors non facciano altrettanto:

There is, of course, another reason corporate executives might be reluctant to sacrifice short-term profits by putting people to work. What if their competitors didn’t go along? Then they would find themselves at a disadvantage. Useem would tackle that by having a credible group like the Business Roundtable leading the charge, rounding up companies that would agree to start hiring.
But Marc Groz, a financial risk expert I’ve gotten to know, has what I think is a more intriguing approach, which he calls a “contingent commitment facility.” “Everyone is waiting for someone else to go first,” he told me the other day. Using his facility, a company would agree to hire X number of new workers. But the commitment would only become binding if certain conditions were met — such as having other companies in the same industry agree to do likewise. Once that happened, all the companies would have to do what they’d promised.
Groz’s idea is new and fresh and untested. It could fail. In other words, it is exactly the kind of out-of-the-box “job creation” idea that our stymied government no longer has the ability to come up with. The ball’s in business’s court now. 

C'è una curiosa convergenza tra le tesi del liberal Nocera e le proposte avanzate qualche giorno fa da Mark Cuban, impenditore multimiliardario (secondo Forbes è al 459 posto nella classifica mondiale con un net worth di 2,5 miliardi di dollari), proprietario della squadra NBA Dallas Mavericks e   blogger. In un post recente Cuban ha proposto un originale meccanismo di incentivazione per la creazione di nuova occupazione. La sua analisi dell'impasse nel dibattito democratici/repubblicani al riguardo mi sembra perfetta, non sono  in grado di dire se l'idea sia praticabile ma così su due piedi non mi sembra una sciocchezza. Ecco cosa scrive Cuban:

I think the first problem to solve is creating jobs.
The Republican/ Tea-Party approach to job creation is to cut taxes. The theory being that more money in the pocket of individuals will cause people to spend more money in the economy thereby creating more jobs. Nope. Not happening. Why ? Because individuals have too much debt. Any money they get goes to pay credit cards, student loans and for the smart and fortunate into savings.
Individuals now have debt = to about 119pct of income vs historical levels  of .17pct in the 40s, 55pct in the 50s , 65pct in the 60s and a high of 133pct in 2007). It didn’t create enough jobs to have an impact and it won’t in this environment. They also think the same applied to  corporations will translate into more jobs. Nope. That is not the case. Big companies in particular are not cash poor. Whether its re-patriation of cash in foreign countries or lower tax rates, neither lead to the creation of new jobs in this economy.  It just leads to more cash in the bank.
So the Democrats are right, we should borrow more money. The Dems are wrong that the government knows how to spend the money. The Republicans/Tea Party are right that we have a spending problem. The Republicans/Tea Party are wrong that cutting taxes will result in more jobs.
So IMHO, creating  jobs isn’t about the government spending money on jobs /projects, nor is it about cutting taxes. It’s about taking a page from the technology and common sense world.
How is this for a revolutionary thought: Companies that would create jobs if they had more cash know who they are. Right ? If you own a company and are thinking to yourself “Self, if I could borrow or get an investment into my company I could hire X more people to grow the company/meet demand/release a new product/whatever”  So rather than guessing and hoping what might happen, why don’t we let companies self identify themselves ?
And not only should they self-identify themselves as companies, they should be able to bid on Government Loans or even actual equity investments. Call me crazy, but I think we should be playing a game of “I Can Name that Tune in X Notes” re-named and reformatted as “I Can Create X Jobs for Y Amount of Money”
Seriously. Call me crazy (and Im sure many of you will), but there is no reason why we can’t quickly create a federal website that allows existing companies to say to the Federal Government how much money they need and how many jobs they can create for that money and for what duration are they committing to maintain those jobs for the money.
Of course you will have to set some minimum parameters in order to prevent the dreamers, crazies and who knows whats from clogging up the system. I would set those minimums including: The company must be in business for at least 10 years. They must be have at least 100 full time employees. They must do 100mm in revenues.  And of course they must be up to date on their taxes and Im sure there are other things to think of as well.
I’m sure I have pissed off everyone who doesn’t qualify. Sorry.
The reality is that for this to work the universe of companies has to be small enough so that the system put in place is not overwhelmed. The companies must be big enough to be able to respond to any required due diligence information.  If this is made to work, the qualifications could be reduced to expand the universe of eligible companies.
Who would be the decision makers ? I would set up multiple 5 person regional committees across the country.  I’m not quite sure who would pick the members, or what their exact qualifications should be,  but I can tell you what I would set as a requirement. People would only be eligible to be on the committee if they had not made a political contribution of any kind directly to a politician or to a PAC of any sort in the last 5 years.  This can not be a politically dominated decision process.
The committees would then look at the submissions, starting with the ones that promised the most jobs at the least cost.  Then they would do their due diligence about the company and request and make a decision. Yes or No. Equity or Debt. Terms of repayment or ownership (exit or return of capital on par with other equity partners) Then on to the next.  Funding would come from short term treasury borrowings.   As long as the program had submissions and those submissions resulted in positive returns, the program would continue.
Oh, and one more important element. Transparency. You apply and get your money, the amount of money you got and the jobs you committed to and for how long will be published publicly. Visibility has a way of keeping people honest.
I know this is just a rough idea, but I wanted to put it out there for consideration. Rather than having Dems and Republicans fight ideological battles about job creation, lets get direct. Lets just ask companies to tell us how many jobs they would create and how much they need and see what it all adds up to and go from there
What do you think ?

Qui sotto potete vedere una recente intervista a Cuban tratta dal sito del Wall Street Journal: il personaggio è divertente e ci sono molti spunti interessanti sulla gestione di portafoglio ("buy and hold is a crock of $%#!" and diversification is for idiots) e su come la legislatura attuale relativa alla proprietà intellettuale e ai brevetti stia soffocando la creatività.

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