What kind of economic stimulus would you like to see?

John G. Swanson
January 6, 2009

Survey Results for 01/07/2009:

What kind of economic stimulus would you like to see?

All of the above





None of the above





General tax cuts





Tax incentives targeted at energy independence





Tax incentives targeted at housing





More infrastructure spending






Well, it appears that the window and door industry generally agrees with the incoming Obama administration, much of Congress and many economists in seeing a need for the Federal government to implement some kind of economic stimulus program.

The specific direction respondents to last week’s poll would like to see Congress and the new President take, however, is less clear. “All of the above” led the overall vote tally, suggesting that many in the business see the need for a large, far-reaching stimulus package. Among those who favor a more targeted approach, general tax cutting was favored over the options that could potentially target our industry more directly—spending on programs that would make the nation more energy independent and action to breathe life into the housing market.

“None of the above” was favored by a healthy number of voters this week too. I’ve always noted a healthy level skepticism about government spending and programs within our industry, so I was actually surprised that didn’t garner more support. Personally, after watching the government hand out billions of dollars last fall to bail-out the financially industry, with an uncertain impact, I’ve grown more skeptical about government action—particularly “urgent” action.

Those putting themselves in the “none of the above” category were certainly the most vocal as far as responding to my Talk last week.

“We seem to be a nation that rushes from one crisis to another, without questioning the reality of the crisis, or the credentials of the town criers,” writes one window manufacturer from the Northeast.

Cases in point:

  • The bridge collapse in Minneapolis created a national emergency with the focus on pouring money into the infrastructure.
  • The ever-increasing emphasis on “global warming”, with money being poured into solving that problem, even though there has been no cause and effect relationship established between man and our impact on the globe.

It seem to me there’s a conspiracy between government and the media to create crises, fan the flames of hysteria, and tax us even more to solve the various crises. The best thing government can do for the economy is to get out of it. Stop the bailouts. Stop the earmarks. Stop the bridges to nowhere. Reduce taxes on businesses so they can create jobs. And stop punishing (taxing) them for being successful.”

A distributor from the Southeast wrote: “I voted none of the above because I don’t believe any of the choices will bring us the long term economic fix we need nor can we afford the proposed suggestions. The Fair Tax is what this country needs! The FairTax plan is a comprehensive proposal that replaces all federal income and payroll based taxes with an integrated approach including:

  • A progressive national retail sales tax.
  • A prebate to ensure no American pays federal taxes on spending up to the poverty level.
  • Dollar-for-dollar federal revenue neutrality.
  • Repeal of the 16th Amendment through companion legislation.”

He urges readers to check out www.fairtax.org to learn more about the benefits of implementing such a change.

“I think that Americans should bail themselves out with the government's help,” writes Tim Hruska of All Weather Architectural Aluminum in Vacaville, Calif. “The Fed is now loaning money to the banks at less than 1% and the banks are loaning at 5 percent. I say, let Americans borrow money directly from the government at 3 percent, stay in their homes, pay off the bank and then pay back the government at a higher rate than the bank would. This is not a giveaway, the government is able to hold real property and get a return that pays down the bailout with a Return on the investment in the tax payer.

Financing home loans is the root of the problem. The government should tackle the problem. This should pertain to existing home loans as well as new home loans until the huge inventory of homes has been reduced to the level prior to the financial crises.

I would like to see this suggestion as well as others as to how to fix the financial crises in your next column.”

Well we certainly welcome this proposal, and we’d be happy to share others. So readers, keep the conversation going and let me know if you have more thoughts on what the government should do—or perhaps how we should change what the government does—to get our economy back on its feet.


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