Extending the EB-5 Regional Center Program: A “Solution on the Cheap”

01.25.11 | Archived

A New York Times Magazine article published last week, titled “The White House Looks for Work”, detailed President Obama’s frustration with the lack of policy tools to address the high unemployment rate that would not add to the federal deficit.  Tonight’s State of the Union speech will walk the fine line between promoting:

  1. Federal action to create jobs, promote economic growth, keeping the U.S. competitive worldwide; and
  2. Not adding any more to the ballooning federal deficit, with a long term goal of cutting it.

This is a delicate dance to say the least, both in terms of politics and policy.  Let’s focus on policy.  The article linked to above quoted one of the President’s economic adviser as saying:

“[President Obama] was really frustrated that there weren’t solutions on the cheap.”

As I said in my last post, the EB-5 Regional Center Program is a perfect example of an economic tool that costs the public nothing.  The Program taps into a demand that is already there for successful foreign entrepreneurs to come to the U.S., with their resources, (risking the personal capital and immigration status on the U.S. economy along the way) to create U.S. jobs.  That is why it must be made permanent.

In addition, the Program is already up, running, and working.  With U.S. financing options limited, economic development projects all over the country are using the Program to complete their projects and create U.S. jobs.  If the U.S. does not attract these investors, and their capital, other countries will be happy to do so.

Accomplishing the goal of promoting economic growth and not adding to the deficit will be a difficult task during this new Congress, no doubt.  However, there are examples like the EB-5 Regional Center Program that demonstrate that is it very possible.  When the State of the Union is over this evening, and the agenda outlined above is set by the President, the 112th Congress will officially get to work.  They should take care of the “low hanging fruit” of permanently authorizing the EB-5 Regional Center Program as soon as possible.

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