The recent stimulus bill focused on creating new jobs, especially in alternative energy startups. The cost creating these jobs is probably going to be high. What if there were a way to create good American jobs that did cost anything out of pocket, up front? I believe that startups are the quickest and easiest way to create good, new jobs and new, lasting value for an economy.
Paul Graham has a suggestion that I think is not only reasonable, but also timely. He argues that “[t]he single biggest thing the government could do to increase the number of startups in this country is a policy that would cost nothing: establish a new class of visa for startup founders.” He says that it isn’t tax policy, employment law or Sarbanes-Oxley, but rather our immigration policy that is holding back the number of startups. He advocates creating a new class of visa, the “Founder Visa” that would be open to 10,000 founders of startups who want to do business in the USA.
I think this is a great idea. Unlike other types of visas, nobody can argue that immigrants on Founder Visas were taking American jobs. In fact, they are creating American jobs. If an immigrant on a Founder Visa creates a new startup, at some point they will need employees. Since the startup is located in America, they will have to hire Americans. This process creates jobs. Not only does it create jobs, but it also increases the chances that the US will be the home of the best new companies, thereby generating more tax revenue at a time when the US has a huge amount of debt.
Graham contends that 10,000 Founder Visas could create up to 2,500 new companies per year. Obviously, not all of them would be successful, but one would assume that at least some of them would be. These new companies would be great for our economy and country as a whole.