• Stupid Rules

      On my FBN show this week, we cover entrepreneurs, like the ones who created Intel, Genentech, Apple, Cisco, Microsoft. They created vast wealth and, of course, cool things. Is it coincidence that all that creation happened in San Francisco and Seattle, the two metropolitan areas farthest from Washington DC? I doubt it. Sadly, those company now spend millions on lobbying—millions that would be better spent on inventing.

      We’d be better off if we just had fewer rules.

      To my surprise, this week one of America’s most economically clueless newsmagazines, Newsweek (maybe Tina brown is making it better), features some sensible arguments along those lines. A sample:

      Decades of accumulated laws, often obsolete, have created a government paralysis of its own making.

      … Bureaucracy crushes teachers; doctors order tens of billions in unnecessary tests to protect themselves from lawsuits; businesses forgo new opportunities because of bureaucratic hurdles…

      In an ideal world, we’d scrap the byzantine legal framework we’ve inherited and rebuild simpler systems that permit flexibility to meet today’s needs…Start Over… A general sunset law—every law with budgetary implications would automatically expire every 10 years unless reenacted—would impose some automatic review.

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      Mark Cuban: Entrepreneur; Owner, Dallas Mavericks

      Streamline entrepreneurial paperwork

      Today, it’s impossible to start a business without professional help. Between local, county, state, and federal filings, it can easily cost as much time and capital to deal with administrivia as the business itself. Paperwork strangles small businesses before they start—this country’s greatest inhibitor to job growth. That could be fixed with a simplified startup legal structure (understandable in a pamphlet) that would reduce the friction involved in starting a business.

      Mike Bloomberg: Mayor, New York City

      Eliminate seniority hierarchy in education

      In New York City, we are facing 4,600 teacher layoffs. But rather than lay off those rated unsatisfactory, convicted of crimes, or lacking certification, we would have to let go of nearly every teacher hired over the past few years. …“Last in, first out” would jeopardize that progress—and harm our kids. They—and their hard-working teachers—deserve better.

      Paul Tagliabue: Ex-Commissioner, NFL

      Increase visa cap for highly skilled workers

      If we want to foster innovation, we need to attract and retain the world’s top talent—not educate the rest of the world—without archaic limitations.

      Wendy Kopp: CEO, Teach For America

      Flexible teacher hiring

      We need great teachers, but the “highly qualified teacher” provision in No Child Left Behind, imposed with the best intentions, isn’t productive. School districts must engage in two distinct activities: jumping through hoops to check the box indicating their teachers meet the ‘highly qualified’ designation…

      Jonathan Tisch: CEO, Loews Hotels

      More tourist-visa waivers

      Over the past decade, America lost 78 million visitors, 467,000 jobs, and $600 billion in spending, due in large part to our discouraging visa process. A new bill helps fix this by updating the framework for admission into the Visa Waiver Program. Countries currently in the program comprise two thirds of inbound travel to the U.S., and support 512,000 jobs. Let’s boost that number by making it easier for our allies (and customers) to get here.

      Mort Zuckerman: CEO, Boston Properties

      End mortgage deductions

      The tax code’s home-mortgage deduction favors the rich (who use taxpayer dollars to subsidize mansions), encourages people to buy homes they can’t afford, and contributed to the housing bubble, causing the current recession. It also costs taxpayers $130 billion annually. We should end it, or sharply limit it to mortgages of no more than $250,000.

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      Economics
      Economy
      Free Market
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      Waste