5 Ideas for the State of the Union and Beyond

IDEA #1: Scraping regulatory barnacles off the economy—A Regulatory Improvement Commission

In our policy brief, Reviving Jobs and Innovation: A Progressive approach to Improving Regulation,” we describe how such a Commission could work. Neither Congress nor the executive branch currently has an efficient, streamlined process for eliminating outdated regulations that stifle innovation and growth. The Regulatory Improvement Commission could fill that void.

IDEA #2: Starting up start-ups–Improving access to credit and access to capital for smaller businesses


Our policy memos, “The Credit Gap: Easing the Squeeze on the Smallest Businesses” and “501 Shareholders: Redefining ‘Public’ Companies to Help Emerging Firms” explain how these changes can promote innovation where it first begins–with start-ups and small businesses.

IDEA #3: Rescue underwater homeowners; restore homeownership wealth

In “Underwater: Home Values in 2012 Battleground States,” we looked at home values in 16 potential battleground states from 2008 to 2011. We find both an enormous loss of middle-class wealth and a potentially potent political issue. We also offer up some practical first steps toward restoring home values.

IDEA #4: An Off-Year Fundraising Time-Out

In our memo, “It’s About (the) Time: Ending the Nonstop Campaign,” we propose changing congressional ethics rules to ban members from directly accepting campaign contributions except during election years. This proposal would free up members to spend more time making policy instead of raising money.

IDEA #5: A Post-Cold War Benchmark for Defense Spending

In our memo “Defense and Deficits: How to Trim the Pentagon’s Budget–Carefully,” we propose a floor of 3 percent of GDP beneath which defense spending should not be allowed to fall. Such a level would ensure that investments in R&D and procurement are sufficiently robust to maintain America’s superior industrial base and high-tech weaponry.