Should We Buy In?
The signed-into-law initiative, appropriately called “SelectUSA" has its very own website where visitors can find out what the program is all about, why a visitor should select the United States as a place to open businesses and offer jobs, and finally, a list of those companies who are already on board—good old “Made in the USA" businesses, right? Well, not actually. The list seems large, but after digging in deeper, most companies on the list have offices overseas where taxes are less expensive for big biz. This was revealed in depth by CBS’ 60 Minutes Program. Find a link to this 60 Minutes story in the reference section, I guarantee it will blow your mind if you haven’t seen it.
Let’s take Intel for example, proudly stating via the new initiative website: “Intel announced in October 2010 (its) plans to invest between $6 billion and $8 billion on next-generation manufacturing technology in its U.S. facilities over the next several years." A visit to Intel’s website, however, offers this statement, “Public Policy for the Global Economy" which is great, but this American company buying into the initiative also says about global economy trade, "Intel supports trade agreements and rules that facilitate general commerce between countries and expand access of the technology industry to growing world markets." Come on Intel, you can't have your cake (big government incentives) and eat it too!
In fact, they have global offices in the Asia/Pacific Region, Europe, Latin America and in the Middle East/Africa Region. Indeed their corporate offices are in California but the part of the announcement that scares me is “over the next several years." Who knows if SelectUSA will even be around in the next several years unless Intel’s already received some incentives from the U.S. Government? I couldn’t find any information on that, but I bet their bank account is a little larger or they have some huge tax credits they can claim very, very soon.
The Los Angeles Times quoted John Engler, the president of the executive roundtable of top U.S. corporate executives who came up with the initiative for President Obama, who stated, “For example, companies of all sizes can face costly delays in winning government approval of sites they have selected to build new facilities."
Here, the “companies of all sizes" bothers me. Again, I visited the SelectUSA website to see as a small business owner if indeed I could win government approval for funding if I expand, hire more people and create jobs. Alas, my search on incentives came up blank (see screenshot to the left).
There is help and aid for anything green (which is a good thing), innovations in agriculture or medical services and diversity programs—a visit to Grants.gov offers up the same programs and grants, however.
So, where’s all this promised help for what built America—the small business owner? It’s not here folks and although it sounds like a great program to inspire new businesses and end unemployment, this is just another hopeful, and then doubtful, ploy from the government to change how we think about unemployment, business foreclosures, and small business funding.