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Small Is Beautiful

Memo to GOP: Think less about corporate America, more about startups.

Jun 6, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 36 • By DAVID SMICK
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So U.S. unemployment is likely to remain high, which is a prime reason the 2012 GOP presidential nomination still retains considerable “value.” True, the unemployment rate in recent months has come down, but most of the improvement has been the result of discouraged workers exiting the labor force. Today one in five American men are without jobs. Among people aged 16-19, the unemployment rate is a stunning 24 percent. With the price of gasoline at $4 or $5, 2012 could become a real political horserace despite President Obama’s advantages of incumbency.

But Republicans would be wise to pivot on the corporate tax issue. The 2012 presidential race should pit the “small” and the “new” against the “large” and the “well-connected.” It should be a contest between the small town populist and corporate elitist models of America’s future.

This transition is likely to be more difficult than anticipated. That’s because, with one exception, every economic player in Washington has a lobbyist. The one exception? Those innovative, job-creating firms that are yet to come into being. They exist only in people’s dreams and imaginations. These innovators are America’s only hope for pulling out of today’s economic mess, and they desperately need someone in Washington to champion their cause.

David Smick is founder and editor of the International Economy magazine and author of The World Is Curved: Hidden Dangers to the Global Economy.

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