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Campaign In Poetry, Govern In Prose

Posted on Sunday, Jan 3rd 2010

I am, quite obviously, in a reflective mood.

Fareed Zakaria was just taking stock of Obama’s presidency so far on CNN, and quoted Mario Como: “You campaign in poetry and govern in prose.” Reminded me of Bengali poet Sukanta Bhattacharya’s famous line:

“Poetry, we do not need you anymore.
A world devastated by hunger is too prosaic.
The full moon now reminds us of toasted bread.”

I was not born in America, nor am I an American citizen. But watching the American political drama unfold, it looks to me as though if a candidate were to surface who had a good handle on the topic of entrepreneurship, (s)he would be the next American president.

This candidate needs to have the intellect to synthesize policies supporting entrepreneurship customized for all the key segments, and the oratory to be able to communicate the vision.

The segments to address include:

– The youth: Youth unemployment is a disaster right now. With role models such as Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, the youth need to be inspired into dorm-room entrepreneurship. Policy can be designed to waive or defer college loans and other hindrances that stand on the way of youth jumping in.

– Small businesses: I have talked ad nauseam about a stimulus for entrepreneurs. This segment has to be held up. President Obama doesn’t seem to have a clue about how to handle this segment, yet it is the fundamental pillar of the economy. The financial eco-system surrounding small businesses needs a much closer look. The 25 million small businesses not only need to be preserved but doubled, tripled, quadrupled.

– The poor: Dr. Yunus’ Nobel Prize has brought about enhanced focus on the power ofmicrofinance. I would make this a campaign topic, and design policy to support both microfinance and microfranchise. Corporations can be incented to offer MF programs. SunPower running a microfranchise to roll out solar panels far and wide would be a very good way of adding green jobs. eBay and Amazon running microfranchises to support small retailers would create many more small entrepreneurs. Google running content related microfranchises could be a solution for the business model crisis in the media industry. A popular business among poor immigrants, especially Latinos, is working in farms and gardens. But this needs equipment, and microfinance programs supporting the purchase of equipment would help.

– Mompreneurs: Talented women are struggling to manage careers and children. Many are coming to the conclusion that running their own business is a better way of addressing this dichotomy. Why not design policy to specifically foster this trend and support these women entrepreneurs?

The obvious question arises: How do you pay for these incentives? Well, as I wrote in the Forbes Sneak Peek, there is an outlandish amount of money in the hands of the speculator class that can be taxed heavily, and used to finance these more socially consequential programs.

And the overall message, akin to Obama’s Yes We Can and Change, will then become: Control Your Destiny.

I believe, with the above strategy, an election in America can be won.

Now where is the candidate?

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