Mr. President, Here's How You Create Jobs

David Kim, CEO and Owner of Baja Fresh

Dear President Obama,

I came to America at the age of 12 with very little and have since been blessed to employ thousands of Americans at my hundreds of restaurants and stores across the United States.  I, like thousands of other CEOs and business owners, know how to create jobs.  But Mr. President, gauging from the chronically unacceptable jobless numbers from the U.S. Labor Bureau, the path we’re on isn’t working. 

I love America with everything that I am.  We are the greatest country on planet Earth.   But I am sickened to see what is happening to our nation economically.  Everything that should be going down is going up.  Everything that should be going up is going down. 

Food prices are through the roof and expected to remain “high and volatile” for the next few years. Nationwide, the average cost of a gallon of gas is a jaw-dropping $3.82.

Teenage summertime jobs—the experience that teaches young people the value of hard work, professionalism, punctuality, and that ignites entrepreneurialism—have now hit record lows.  Just one in four U.S. teens will land a job this summer.  

The outlook for adult workers is equally bleak.  Despite adding 244,000 jobs last month, the unemployment rate went up to 9%.  The seeming paradox is explained by the simple fact that the Department of Labor’s unemployment numbers only count people actively looking for a job.  This means that, according to Gallup, the national “underemployed” number is a staggering 19.2%—a national tragedy by anyone’s estimation.

So, on behalf of the millions of small-, medium- and large-business owners out there—the job creators—here are three ways we can spark millions of jobs in America:

1.     Taxes Strangle Jobs.  Lower Them.

Mr. President, you were just in Ireland.  Please ask an Irish business owner what the corporate tax rate is in Ireland.  I’ll save you some time, because I know you’re busy:  It’s 12.5%.  The U.S. corporate tax rate?  It’s the second-highest in the world: 39.2%. This means a company can cut its tax burden by 26.7% simply by sending its jobs to Ireland.  This isn’t rocket science.  The Milken Institute estimates that even just lowering the rate to be in alignment with the global average (22%) would create 2.13 million jobs over the next eight years and would add $375.55 billion to our GDP.

Moving a business across the ocean used to be hard.  Now, it’s as simple as the click of a mouse.   If we don’t act, jobs will continue to evaporate.  We must lower the business tax burden. 

2.     Cut the Job-Killing Regulatory Red Tape

Julie Murphy is 7 years old.  She lives in Portland, Ore.  Like most of us growing up, her first business venture was a lemonade stand.  But little Julie’s lemonade stand was shut down when Portland health regulators said she needed a $120.00 temporary restaurant license to sell cups of lemonade.  

This is absurd.  And it’s just one example of how bad things have gotten.  Everyone agrees that we want safe, environmentally responsible, and healthy work environments and products.  But binding industries in red tape isn’t the way to get there.  It’s also a surefire way to kill jobs. 

3.     Get Smart on Research & Development Tax Credits and Export Controls

Mr. President, want to know how we can create 656,000 jobs in America in eight years?  Simply bump the research and development tax credit up to 25% and modernize export controls on commercially available technology products so American companies can snag international market share.  As the Milken Institute’s report concluded, doing those two things will spark massive job creation and will boost our GDP by $261.9 billion.

The simple fact is that government doesn’t create jobs.  The millions of entrepreneurs in the private sector do.  My heart breaks every time I see the endless job fair lines or read the chronically abysmal jobs numbers that come out month after month, Mr. President.  Please listen to those of us who own small, medium and large businesses.  We’re not the enemy.  We want to hire people.  We want to create a stronger, richer country.    

The simple fact is this:  Government can’t be “for” jobs and against those who create them.  

We know you are busy, Mr. President.  But the solutions aren’t hard.  Empower entrepreneurs to help our nation do the heavy lifting of job creation and we will do it.  We are eager, willing and ready.