Monday, September 5, 2011

Jumpstarting Jobs Through Commercial Real Estate

Keeping his laser-like focus on jobs, I'm glad that President Obama is giving a major speech on jobs Thursday before a joint session of Congress.

His latest proposal being leaked - infrastructure construction jobs through federal grants and payroll tax cut extensions - is even half right. But government can only do so much. Unless and until the private sector is moving again this economy is going nowhere.

So here is my suggestion: take half the money you were going to spend on government work and pledge it (and maybe not even spend it!) to the private sector. How?

It's simple. While there is some work going on, we need more real estate activity for small and mid-sized developers that are still in business. But many of them can't start new projects because no one will loan them the money.

So take half that money, and use it to guarantee, say, 90% of the amount of construction and mini-perm loans for new developments by small and mid sized buisnesses. Lenders could then lend with more confidence and the private sector can hire more workers. If the deals work out, we don't spend a dime. And if they don't, we still end up better off than we would with some ways we've been loaning money for; e.g., green jobs.

So how about it? Your job creation idea is sound. The administration's concept, if true, isn't a bad idea. But let's take it to the next level.