The current economic crisis has been described as
“historic.” Here, industry leaders weigh
in, offering their own assessments of the situation and a
Ken Scheer, vice president, Calsaway Pool Services
Inc., Tempe, Ariz.
I think [the bailout plan] is a joke because
it’s not going to help the smaller companies and
people who really need it. After everything I’ve
been hearing about the [AIG retreat] with the manicures and
pedicures, I’m very disappointed.
The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. [The most
important part of an effective response] needs to be taking
care of the little guys who are affected by every small
daily change, such as gas prices.
Our leadership must look at all the places we have
failed before and avoid that, so we can become the America
that everyone can look up to. We need to [study] the
housing market, mortgages and health care, and see what we
can do to help people, and not just control it for the sake
of being in control. We pretty much need to start over.
Gene Fields, APSP board chairman, and president of
South-West Independent Marketing, Santa Ana, Calif.
The only way [the bailout] will help the industry is to
free up loans to buy real estate and pools. Contrary to
what [many] are saying, I think there’s plenty of
money out there. It’s just that they tightened up
the requirements for obtaining loans, which should have
been done a long time ago.
The relaxing of credit on home loans is what got us into
this trouble in the first place.
I think there was a degree of panic [in the bailout].
The problem probably would’ve worked itself out.
Our system has been in place for a long time, and
it’s been pretty successful. We’ve been
through hard times and good before.
Joe Musnicki, president, Ocean Spray Hot Tubs &
Saunas, Westhampton Beach, N.Y.
I think [the U.S. government] made the right decision to
step in at this point. I hope the mortgage-backed
securities it bought will have value in the future, and
their sales will transfer some of that money back to the
I’m sorry to see it come to this, but
it’s not unusual for government to step in like
this from time to time. In the ’70s, the
government gave guarantees for loans made to Chrysler
Corp., and taxpayers did get their money back when the
company came back to full strength.
In the future, there should be more oversight on lending
practices. We should use some of the old formulas that have
worked over the years, such as the rule of no more than 30
percent of your gross income when it comes to financing
Dave Allen, COO, Erickson Custom Pools & Spas,
Regarding the bailout plan, I’m for anything
that allows credit markets to loosen up. Credit is the No.
1 hurdle for us right now. We have 15 or 16 pool contracts
signed and ready, but we just can’t finance them.
There are customers who have money, but they don’t
want to cash out their investments, so they are holding off
until they get a loan.
The most beneficial part of the bailout to us, as a pool
builder, is adding liquidity to the market. If the banks
have the capital, they’ll be able to lend money
and that will unfreeze the credit market. Normally,
I’m not for any kind of government intervention.
But this is an unprecedented time. Once this is over, our
government needs to establish the proper oversight for
banking institutions. But we should to go back to a free