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Instead of any experience in dealing with our feeble, job-deficient economy, Bryson last year served on the United Nations advisory group on Energy and Climate Change. It called for transforming energy sources over the coming decade. Its goals are to end poverty and hunger, provide universal education, gender equality, environmental sustainability and global partnership.
Bryson co-founded the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Its romanticized mission: “To safeguard the earth, its people, its plants and animals and the natural systems on which all life depends.” This “green evangelist” seems totally detached from the nation’s deep anguish over the dismal state of the economy.
Ms. Kerrigan said her organization is quite concerned about the selection of where jobs are to take place — the so-called “green” jobs — that could take an unknown time to ever develop and may never provide a “robust economy,” she told me.
Long-term joblessness has become a major problem. In May, 33 percent of people without jobs had been unemployed for 52 weeks, up from less than 10 percent in 2007. Skills deteriorate as people are without work.
A member of the council, Sherwood Neiss, a Miami Beach entrepreneur, testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform May 10 calling for regulatory modernization at the SEC to “boost our struggling economy.”
He testified, “We can open the doors to small business growth and prosperity.” He urged approval of “crowd fund investing,” whereby groups of people come together to invest small amounts in start-ups to help an entrepreneur succeed. It is not currently permitted by the SEC.
“Over the past five years,” he said, “more than 500,000 people with ideas for films, albums, and art projects and entrepreneurs in developing countries have used crowd funding sites [on the Internet] to raise money.
“According to the Department of Labor prior to the financial meltdown, 76 percent of small businesses received traditional funding [from banks and other institutions]…With the financial meltdown our economy stalled, over 8 million jobs were lost….Traditional financing has virtually disappeared.” The security laws, he noted, were written to address abuse of large corporations. Today, however, “these laws require a small start-up to raise $50,000 to jump through the same hoops as a large corporation seeking to raise millions of dollars,” he observed.
People still want to invest in entrepreneurs because “they believe in people with ideas….Our nation’s small businesses have suffered disproportionately during the downturn and continue to struggle….Crowd funding has the potential to deliver the jobs Americans have been longing for,” he told the lawmakers.
“You would think,” Ms. Kerrigan said with a tone of frustration, “that the administration would see a need to ramp up efforts to help increase domestic energy exploration and development by streamlining government regulations and minimizing uncertainties.”
“Job creation, in the end,” said SBEC chief economist Raymond Keating, “is overwhelmingly about small business.”
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