Trump stalls an eco­nomic en­gine

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

This ap­peared on Bloomberg View:

In Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s lat­est ef­fort to wall the U.S. off from the rest of the world, his ad­min­is­tra­tion has ditched a plan to make it eas­ier for for­eign en­trepreneurs to come and work in Amer­ica. The de­ci­sion may play well with the pres­i­dent’s na­tion­al­ist base, but it will not help the U.S. econ­omy.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion has de­layed (and will prob­a­bly kill) the In­ter­na­tional En­tre­pre­neur Rule, which was de­signed to pro­vide a spe­cial “startup visa” for en­trepreneurs who at­tract fund­ing for busi­nesses in the U.S. The rule was in­tended to ben­e­fit en­trepreneurs whose ideas had at­tracted at least six-fig­ure fund­ing from ei­ther pri­vate in­vestors or a gov­ern­ment en­tity. They were to be se­lected on a case-by-case ba­sis, af­ter de­mon­strat­ing they would pro­vide a “sig­nif­i­cant pub­lic ben­e­fit” through rapid growth and job cre­ation, and could stay in the U.S. on re­new­able 30-month visas.

The goal of the rule, which was fi­nal­ized un­der pres­i­dent Barack Obama and sched­uled to take ef­fect this week, was straight­for­ward: “To in­crease and en­hance en­trepreneur­ship, in­no­va­tion and job cre­ation in the United States.”

It’s un­clear what the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion be­lieves it will achieve by dis­card­ing the plan.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion’s re­flex­ive hos­til­ity to all things for­eign — in­clud­ing good busi­ness ideas that ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists wish to back — is coun­ter­pro­duc­tive.

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