As I write this column, I’m freshly back in the office from a vacation in fabulous Costa Rica, where the landscapes are verdant, the food amazing, and yes, the temperatures quite warm. It’s a most beautiful country with friendly people and plenty to do.
Interestingly, on one of the several outdoor adventures my family and I participated in, we got into a discussion with one of our hosts about the political climate here in the good old U.S. of A. Our hosts were American ex-pats who left the U.S. for political reasons.
Their reasons for leaving were based on the belief that the United States has wandered too far afield from the intention of the founding fathers and, through greed and power, has ruined the economy and peoples’ ability to make a living.
Upon our return, we learned that in the first week of January, a last-minute deal was brokered to avoid the fiscal cliff. It raised the taxes of high earners. This was expected and isn’t unique to the U.S. Most large western nations are taking similar actions. Yes, the political aspects remain very bipartisan and very heated. There are more “negotiations” ahead with the debt-ceiling deadlines coming up in late February, mandatory spending cuts that go into affect in March, and the need to find a way to continue funding the government through September before existing legislation ends in late March.
Serious stuff. But the good news is that we’ve avoided, at least for now, the tax cliff. For the HVACR industry, we are getting ready to launch into 2013 with “positive vibes” during the Dallas edition of the International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo).
The fiscal cliff aside, AHR Expo management is very optimistic based on a survey of more than 1,000 manufacturer-exhibitors around the world. Management says that 70 percent of the respondents see the economy improving in 2013. In fact, 15 percent see 2013 being a much better year than 2012, while 28 percent believe it will remain the same, and only 3 percent see things getting worse.
The AHR Expo survey also found that 86 percent of the manufacturer respondents are looking for increases in sales—35 percent of them see the increases to the tune of 10 percent or more. Now THAT is good news.
In terms of this industry’s contribution to the job market, 67 percent of survey respondents felt demand for new products would come from domestic markets. Of those respondents, 53 percent felt the demand would center around health care, 45 percent from industrial plants, 43 percent from the educational marketplace, and 43 percent from government projects.
Well, that’s right in our wheel house, isn’t it?
The fact is, if all industries in the U.S. are innovative and customer-focused in problem-solving and service, then profits and, yes, taxes will be generated. In my humble opinion, THAT is how this country should work. If the government wants to work successfully too, then it should focus on what Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell recently said: “It’s time (for the government) to turn to the real issue ... Our spending addiction.” I agree.
I say steer clear of the cliffs and full steam ahead. I know that it’s simply traditional to be positive in January, but let’s make 2013 a great year and prove those Costa Rican ex-pats wrong.
AHR Expo management says more than 75 percent of their exhibitors will introduce new products or services in Dallas. This is an excellent reason for you to journey to the Dallas Convention Center, January 28-30th and participate in the turnaround of our industry. Please visit us in Booth 1204.
We look forward to seeing you there.