Treece: Walker’s winWritten by Dock David Treece | | email@example.com
So far, 2012 has led the private industry to a phenomenon rarely witnessed across American history: A large number of businesses in this country are operating at or near their full capacity. Just a month ago, automakers Ford and Chrysler canceled summer shutdowns for a number of plants. Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has been quoted as saying that Chrysler simply can’t produce another car without expanding its capacity — that means building new plants, buying new equipment and hiring new workers.
To the same point, a number of engineering firms that we regularly contact have told us they are being forced to turn down work. Many are quoting so many projects they tell us that if they win all their bids, they’ll have to turn down half of them.
After the 2008 downturn this country lost a number of suppliers, particularly in the automotive sector. Now, years later, production is back to or near the precrash peak, but capacity and the number of suppliers remain reduced. As a result, both are being stretched to their limits.
Many firms, it seems, have been backed into a corner where they are producing all they can and don’t want to expand — especially if doing so will require borrowing. While many could pay for expansion in cash, they would likely fund projects with credit, and they don’t want to borrow without a clear outlook on government policy.
For these companies, failure to borrow is not a question of poor credit. While it’s hard for a lot of individuals to get loans lately, this is more common among those with poor or limited credit history. The companies we’re talking about have good profits and plenty of assets to secure loans. They have adequate access to credit, but they don’t want to borrow.
What many business leaders have been eagerly awaiting is a clearer picture of how forthcoming policies will look. For the past four years they’ve had to deal with a growing number of anti-business policies coming from Washington, D.C., and they’re in no mood to expand their businesses and create jobs without knowing that they’ll be able to survive whatever new rules Washington sends down the pike.
In just the past four years the private industry has had to contend with health care reform and repeated talk of Cap and Trade legislation of some variety, plus increased bureaucracy among government agencies and growing compliance costs. That’s not to mention the usual headaches, which have lately grown to include the increased difficulty in attracting skilled workers.
Thankfully, business leaders are finally starting to get a picture of what the environment for business is going to look like in onr to three years. Gov. Scott Walker’s victory in his special Wisconsin election is a valid case in point, and it clearly shows two things.
First and foremost, public opinion in this country is undergoing a massive shift. Unions — particularly public sector unions — are losing a lot of their power. Americans are finally beginning to ask what these unions have done lately for their members, and they aren’t impressed with the answers. Membership has fallen pretty much nationwide, regardless of industry, as a result.
Second, Walker’s win in his recall election demonstrates that the voting public isn’t being honest with pollsters. Leading up to this special election, polls showed Walker winning, but only by a 1-3 percent margin. At last count, it appeared that — when all the votes are tallied — he should win by 7 percent or more.
It’s also worth noting that when news of Walker’s victory hit the wires, Asian markets spiked and American futures (our markets had closed for the evening) jumped nicely. Clearly these new trends — like them or not — seem to agree with America’s private sector. Hopefully they will gain the motivation they need to expand capacity and continue growing the American economy. O
Dock David Treece is a partner with Treece Investment Advisory Corp (www.TreeceInvestments.com) and is licensed with FINRA through Treece Financial Services Corp. He provides expert content to numerous media outlets. The above information is the express opinion of Dock David Treece and should not be construed as investment advice or used without outside verification.