Monopoly Genre: Hey Buddy, can you spare a “Get Out of Jail Free” card?
On our nation's economic bail out, I feel like I’m going to need to make my bail or we will all wind up in Debtors Jail when we can’t shoulder the burden now placed on us.
I’m very puzzled. The proposed bail out/stimulus (or what ever you want to call it) doesn’t appear to have any direct, “meaningful” tangibility to my practice or my family. Here’s what I've thought about so far:
Let’s start small. For my family, we will not enjoy a $15k tax credit toward the purchase of a new house. We will not enjoy a reduction in our mortgage payments or mortgage balance. We’ve managed to take on obligations we can manage. Go figure, we follow the “rules” and we don’t get a break.
Let’s stay small. My practice has managed growth and client expectations; nothing earth shattering here except for those pesky “might be able to deduct some expenses-blah, blah, blah.” Hmmm, I don’t see any immediate CapEx which I could take advantage of. Is this stimulus trying to encourage me to make unsound business decisions just to “stimulate” someone else's economy? Dang, that sounds bitter.
Let’s look beyond the end of my nose. Facts say: GM and Chrysler need at least $4 billion just to stay afloat. Auto sales are down dramatically. What private entity business in its right mind would loan money to make a widget that does not have a strong demand. What’s the likelihood that kind of “investment” would get repaid or would the loan be defaulted? I don’t think I’d invest in that manner; perhaps if the widget was a “new, improved and totally innovative widget” I might consider it.
Consider the new Advocacy section of the AIA web site, the “Rebuild & Renew” title with the subtitle “Green Communities. Green Economy” makes me think of how everyone is jumping on the “Green is Good” bandwagon without really thinking about the “how to” of making it all work. I have yet to make it through the listening to the whole MP3… sounds like a cheerleader to me. Rah Rah.
Let’s look at how the AIA is supporting the stimulus bill: Schools, Green Buildings, Transit and LCI, Historic Preservation, Tax Relief. Based on the project mix and billions of dollars investments listed for each category, it feels like it might be a battle between the ant and the sneaker. If 80% of all AIA members belong to firms that have less than 15 employees, then why does all this cheerleading seem to favor the large/mega firms? Maybe someone from the AIA can educate me. I’m not seeing the connection to the constituents they should be serving.
Let me make sure I understand the bottom line: $787 billion to create 3,500,000 jobs, that’s a cost of $224,857 per job (so I want to slyly ask, "Where can I sign up for that job?"). Further, the AIA letter indicates an anticipated 14,000 jobs for architects; that has a mere cost of $3.1 million in the “stimulus” enchilada.
Please, someone, post your thoughts and tell me “how/what” you might “see/do” with this change. I really look forward to the rosy glasses you can share.
--Lisa Stacholy, AIA