What Would an Entrepreneur-First Platform Really Look Like?

The theme of the first day of the Republican National Convention was "We Built It," a clever riff on a distorted quote by President Obama. It served as an epigraph for stories and speeches about entrepreneurs who took a risk and created a lasting small business.

To a large extent, the debate between Democrats and Republicans is a debate not just about whether entrepreneurs "built that" but what role government should play in getting more entrepreneurs taking risks and building companies.

There are some broad points of agreement. Keeping taxes low on middle-class families rewards the largest swath of Americans for their hard work. Extending the research and development tax credit rewards large companies who move more money into building the next big idea.

But there are also huge gaps between the parties. The president prioritizes the current safety net and seeks to expand it while raising taxes on the highest earners. The GOP platform takes the opposite approach, reducing taxes, starting at the top, while cutting Washington's responsibilities to pay for health care. Whether this is a humane policy is a debate we can have -- and have had here. But which plan is best for entrepreneurs? And what ideas would be better?

In bootstrap fashion, I'd like build the Entrepreneur-First Platform by soliciting answers from you and trying them out against each other. I'm looking for both inside-the-box and outside-the-box ideas. If you've got a simple plan to clean up the tax code in a way that would better reward start-ups, let's have it. If you, like me, think crazy thoughts like expanding the government's role in guaranteeing health care might really mitigate the risk of striking out on your own to start a new venture, we'll hear it too.

Tonight is Paul Ryan's night at the podium, and it might be the most policy-focused speech of the convention. In a week, we'll hear approximately one billion rebuttals of his budget. But for now, let's assume the parties had one thing in mind: How to build a policy platform that put entrepreneurs first.

What would that look like?

Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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