Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Government Stimulus;Supporting the Economy With Hot Air

The Washington Business Journal posted a piece today entitled "Survey: Landscape work increasing"; the purpose of which (by our account) was to spin the American Society of Landscape Architects recent survey in a positive light. The survey basically consists of asking participants - in this case 507 landscape architecture firms - to respond to a series of questions related to the most recent quarter's billable hours, new work inquiries and hiring tendencies. Additionally - and further evidence that the Government's rescue schemes have pervaded every just about every aspect of business - the past few ASLA surveys have included questions pertaining to the "stimulus funds", and whether those monies had managed to trickle their way into the participants line of work. As evidenced by the title of the Business Journal piece, the survey did show a reported increase in business activity; predictably non-emphasized by the story though, was the fact that all of the uptick can be attributed to stimulus funds. Based on the survey, the percentage of respondents that indicated billable hours for the quarter to be normal (generally defined by the survey as "right where they usually are") or better increased by 6.8%, compared to Q1. The survey also revealed that the percentage of firms that reported having benefited from "stimulus funds" increased by 6.5% in Q2 v Q1. Clearly, the only growth occurring right now is entirely stimulus related; it is also meager.

Some critics might respond that, well, "business is business", so who really cares where it comes from? Besides, the government is simply simulating demand until the private sector can "recover". We would retort that such an argument ignores the point altogether, and would seem to indicate a certain obliviousness to a certain reality: the United States has been operating beyond it's actual capacity for several years now; it's illusory growth being the product of massive debt agglomeration that grew industries beyond what any real fundamentals are capable of supporting.

The Government, through it's stimulus efforts, is merely blowing hot air into a balloon. The trouble is, that balloon has a leak in it. Once the air pressure abates, the balloon will continue to deflate; until such point that it reaches a size that can be independently supported.
Sphere: Related Content

No comments:

Post a Comment