Friday, January 23, 2009

Your Turn!

When I first started blogging a few years ago, I was among a few thousand doing so. Since then, millions of new bloggers are on the scene almost daily.

Blogging is all part of a much bigger evolution called “Social Media,” and I take advantage of it.

It’s amazing how posting ideas and opinions can quickly spread. My recent postings on a tax credit for buyers of American-produced cars were picked up as Op-Ed articles in the Detroit Free Press and Denver Business Journal. I just finished an interview with CNN Money based on these postings along with thoughts on kick-starting the economy by making housing affordable for qualified buyers. The key word being qualified.

The soapbox is now a digital one. (And far more comfortable to stand on)

My most recent posting on housing and the economy became an excellent springboard for discussion when I posted it on a very popular site called Think of it as Facebook for people in business.

Several folks kindly allowed me to share their opinions with you. Here they are:

You ask "How did Washington get this way?" I believe it got that way because we the people started to believe that everytime there is a problem, we need government to solve it. We looked to the government in the 30's, they told us what we wanted to hear, gave us government programs that never go away and after 8 years of raising taxes and more government programs, we still had a depression. The depression ended because of WWII but the expectations of government didn't.-Michael Gardner, Live Coach Trainer, Salt Lake City UT.

You may just be the smartest man alive. Is the 'keep it simple' philosophy still alive? You have the dead on solution and yet.... they will dance around that money as long as they can. I agree completely. The most profound statement for me was ' government doesn't create jobs'. DUH! I pray for this new administration. I have faith that we have seen the last of the crash and burn economics and policies. Obama is smart, and he has two little kids... my thoughts, as a parent, he will do things during his administration that will impact profoundly on his girls and their children. Bravo John!!-Shari Greer, Professional Marketing and Sales, Houston TX.

I doubt that the govt can engineer especially lower interest rates for housing, separate from all else. Actually, the interest rates in the economy need to be increased so that people are encouraged to spend and save within their incomes rather than live off 'cheap' credit. Except, of course, no one can pay for a house with one's past savings - so housing loans can be supported via the fiscal mechanism instead - say e.g. allowing one to take the standard deduction instead of itemizing and, on top, get a tax rebate of, say, 28% of the mortgage interest one paid in the year. But the valid question arises, if the banks are getting these massive money infusions not for making new, cheap loans to the people, then for what are these? That's a separate speculation.-Harsh V. Pant-SAP America.

Social media is a great way to get your voice heard, and better yet, to hear other voices. Of course, not everyone agrees, but it’s this sort of discourse that has kept America very vibrant since 1776.

Technology simply makes it easier to do so.

John W. Scherer
John is CEO & Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
Reach him at

Friday, January 09, 2009

Economic Recovery starts with Housing

The new Congress has been sworn in and it’s all about the economy and how to fix it. Or so they claim.

Wheels are turning. Make that spinning. We’re going nowhere in a hurry.

So allow me to offer a starting point: Housing.

Fact: Good people want to buy houses from people that want to sell them. Or buy homes to rent to others. But they want to BUY.
Problem: The system is such a mess, they can’t. Even the most qualified of potential buyers.
Result: Chaos.

The political pendulum has swung from “Anything Goes” to “No Way” since the system crashed last fall.

How about swinging back to the middle? The way buying and lending used to be; fair and equitable terms for qualified people. Apply the same rules for all borrowers and lenders. Then enforce them.

Your mortgage payment shouldn’t be more than 1/3 of your income. Your income must be verifiable and you have to show a proven and stable record of paying your bills on time.

Down payment? Absolutely! But how about 10-15% instead of 40%? This should apply to both homes to live in, and investment properties. Let’s peg the interest rates at no more than 5%. This will result in performing loan portfolios for lenders. Lenders like that.

Let’s provide this additional inventive for investment property buyers: No Capital Gains Tax on proceeds if the house is sold within ten years of original purchase.

Now for the easy part: It will work now. It will work tomorrow.

Once we get qualified buyers into houses, there will be a positive impact on our economy. These homeowners will buy new carpet and drapes. They’ll install cable or satellite TV. Maybe even buy a new TV and sofa. They’ll buy building materials to expand or improve their property and hire trades people to fix anything from a leaky faucet to repairing a roof.

All this creates jobs. Good jobs.

Let’s dispel a myth right now. Government doesn’t create jobs. Government’s responsibility is to make it easy for free enterprise to create jobs. That means private investment. Investment requires capital. Capital should be made available to responsible people. Investment doesn’t guarantee success. But success shouldn’t be punished either.

Government is pouring billions of dollars into banks. Let’s just attach one string. The banks have to make this money available for investment. A trillion dollar deficit isn’t the answer. A trillion dollar investment in real estate is. Not by government, but qualified and responsible buyers.

This has been the core of this nation’s economic success for over two centuries.

It is so frustrating to see Washington deal with the most complex problems because they can’t see how easy the solutions can be. How did Washington get to this point? Where did Washington lose its way? Where did Washington get the idea that printing money that doesn’t exist can be a solution to anything?

Washington needs to listen to folks like you. Call, write or e-mail. Flood Congressional Offices with your voice. Let’s all make our voices heard, loud and clear.

Let’s move forward by looking back at what worked so well in the past and will work in the future.

Please stop printing money we don’t have. It’s not as complicated as Washington is making it.

Problem solved. It starts with us. If government will let us.

John W. Scherer
John is CEO and founder of Video Professor, Inc.
You can reach him at