Two Washington bank lobbyists scouring the country for ideas to spur job growth may draw a skeptical eye from Americans in the years following the 2008 financial crisis.
That didn’t stop John Dearie, executive vice president for public policy at the Financial Services Forum, and Courtney Geduldig, formerly a colleague of Dearie’s and now a top global government affairs official at Standard & Poor’s, from doing just that — and succeeding.
Approved and financed by the Wall Street chief executive officers who make up the Financial Services Forum’s membership, Dearie and Geduldig in 2011 embarked on a fact-finding mission — a journey to find new ways to spark job growth in the wake of a recession that pushed unemployment rates past 10 percent.
They held roundtables in 12 cities across the country, met with more than 200 small business owners, entrepreneurs and budding business developers to gather a list of problems, proposals and ideas to bring back to Washington.
Their efforts came while rigid partisanship has gripped the political system, yet one group seems to have been able to achieve bipartisan headway: Enrepreneurs, particularly those in the technology world. Bolstered largely by Silicon Valley lobbying and cash, President Barack Obama signed the wide-ranging JOBS Act in 2012, a law aimed at increasing the opportunities for small business to secure funding.
Geduldig and Dearie may be looking to catch some of that wave in the fruits of their labors: a book, out this week, called “Where the Jobs Are.” It includes 30 policy proposals based on what they heard during their 2011 summer road rip — some that would please both parties, some that would cause political problems for both. The will, at least for some lawmakers, appears to exist, however.
Sens. Mark Warner and Jerry Moran, a Virginia Democrat and a Kansas Republican, have introduced bipartisan legislation in the Senate that expands on the work of the JOBS Act. The bill creates new visas for foreign students and entrepreneurs designed to attract talent to the U.S., requires economic impact analysis on major federal rules and would make capital gains taxes exempt for start-ups.
The proposals track closely with some of the prescriptions laid out by Dearie and Geduldig. And that’s probably a good thing — Warner and Moran wrote the Afterword for the book.