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Posted: August 30, 2012

Readers respond: A vote from a Colorado small business owner

Things are getting better

Scott Rodwin

(Editor's note: This is one of an occasional series of columns from readers about their perspective on which candidate, President Barack Obama or Gov. Mitt Romney, would be better for business. We welcome your views! Please submit your 500-word opinion piece to lryckman@cobizmag.com, and we will post the best from both sides.)

I have owned a seven-person design/build firm here in Colorado for the last 12 years.  Like many of my friends and colleagues, we got hit hard by President’s Bush’s 2007 Recession.  In one year, 80 percent of our business evaporated. Since then, we have climbed back – 2010 and 2011 were good years for us. I firmly believe that President Obama is a much better choice for the health of our economy. 

It was the gross lack of regulation in the banking industry that led to the catastrophic implosion of the national housing market. This anti-regulation stance has been one of the key planks of the GOP. They have done everything possible to block any sensible balance between free-market and reasonable regulation. 

That extreme position destroyed the personal wealth and credit of millions of Americans, utterly decimated the real estate, design, engineering and construction professions and plunged both us and the world into the Great Recession. 

When President Bush handed over the reins in 2008, the economy was in free-fall.  President Obama took bold action in a wide variety of sectors to stop the damage, and it was largely successful. Yes, it would be great if the economy were recovering more quickly, but the Republicans’ current position of simply opposing everything the President wants has hindered that recovery and has done nothing to help the country. They seem far more concerned with winning than they do with actually working for the common good.

On another topic, much has been made about how the new Health Care law is going to hurt small businesses.  I don’t agree.  We have always paid half of our employees’ health care insurance. It just seems like the moral and ethical thing to do. Every year for the last decade, the policy has gone up by about 10 percent. That is unsustainable.  Something has to change. I am glad President Obama is trying to tackle this issue.  I think a true universal health care law would have been even better for us and our employees, but this is a good start.

I believe that the economy and the country are on the right track.  It took years for the Republicans to dig us into this hole – it will take an equal amount of time for President Obama to get us out. I plan to give him that chance.

Scott Rodwin is the Founding Principal of Rodwin Architecture and President of Skycastle Homes.  He was named the American Institute of Architect's 2006 "Young Architect of the Year" for the U.S. Western Mountain Region.  Scott has been a leader in the sustainable design field for nearly two decades, was one of Colorado Construction's 2009 Top 20 Under 40, and his LEED Platinum "Edge House" received 1st place in the Residential category from CDSA  Rodwin Architecture is widely respected as one of Colorado's top green design/build firms.  He is a member of the Chamber, and has served as both AIA chapter President and Chair of the Colorado Committee on the Environment  He received his architectural degree from Cornell University in 1991.
 

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Readers Respond

Hmmmm. Dave has great liberal logic. However, Horses will run to get to the green grass, especially if its govt mandated or FREE! Better to put in a new horse familiar with the race, than spur a tired loser to the finish line. By rich forrest on 2012 08 30
Okay, so? That's why Romney is a better candidate? "Grass is green, which explains why horses run fast." By Dave on 2012 08 30
As early as April 2001: The Bush Admin sent out warnings of impending mortgage crisis. Sen. McCain and the Republicans recognized the Fannie/Freddie crisis with time to spare. Democrats like Barney Frank blocked the increased oversight, calling action unnecessary. Barney said it was a 'exaggerated crisis' Barney Frank: "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not in a crisis situation." Legislation to regulate were blocked. By Nina on 2012 08 30
Nina, You said what the article said: the housing free-for-all caused the problem. The author said both parties are to blame, you said only one is. But still, essentially you agree. Why so hostile? Republicans didn't profit from the housing bubble too? By Dave on 2012 08 30
Here we go again. It is the information-challenged that are creating confusion and division. Scott, I've been a search partner for Fortune 1000 builders including working with mortage and services, i.e. architecture since 2000. First and foremost, the socialization of homeownership led by Democratics was the root cause for the housing crisis. Since early 2000's the GOP was sounding alarms about hard money loans to people incapable of paying their mortgages. The Democrats off course called racism check out Franklin Raynes payout ... There is a plethora of video, transcripts at your disposal if you really want to contribute to this conversation. Your position is anti-business, pro BIG government nanny-style isn't working. Get the facts. By Nina on 2012 08 30
Further to my previous comments, I would add that most small businesses are smothered under ever-increasing regulation, paperwork burdens, increased taxes, etc. etc. I'm glad that your business is doing well, but I don't really think Barack Obama deserves the credit for that. YOU built that business, dude! By Carla Wilson on 2012 08 30
It seems funny to me that only the Republicans are the intractables. What about all the good bills the Republican House has passed that the Democratic Senate has never even considered? It takes two to tangle, and the Democrats have been just as obstructionist as the Republicans. The difference is that the Republicans are trying to maintain a decent economy, job creation, religious freedom and the inherent benefits thereof. Democrats want to push us down under the weight of the government. We can't afford a government that tries to be everything to everybody, and to regulate same. By Carla Wilson on 2012 08 30
A FACT of economic life is: For every BOOM, there is a BUST. Commodities, stocks, real estate, the bust is a natural correction of the excesses of the boom. During good times, everyone and his brother can make money, even the inefficient. When a new product is sucessfully introduced, copycats ALWAYS jump in to make a buck, and the production chain gets more complex and inefficient. Gov't regs stifle it more, some necessary, some not. Once a boom plateau is reached and easy money dissolves away, the "panic" sets in. The non-devoted, or inefficient try to sell out and grab their money as fast as possible. Then the deeper goes the bust . Up on the escalator BOOM, and down on the elevator Bust. a FACT of LIFE. A burst bubble needs to be sorted out by the market, NOT by govt regulators or politicians who do not have a vested interest in the outcome and can be corrupted. By Rich Forrest on 2012 08 30
Thanks COBIZ. I like this "reader essay" thing you've got going. By reader on 2012 08 30
Rich, the main problem with the housing bubble, and its subsequent burst, was the "every American deserves a home' mentality that drove banks et.al. to just hand out $$$ to whomever without any qualification or checking. When I bought my house 35 years ago, I could not have more than 22% in previous debt, otherwise I would be denied. That all changed in the 90s and both Ds and Rs are to blame. It led to a 15-year-long party of building, building, building. Lots of jobs and dependent businesses (furniture, landscaping, etc.) There was plenty of warning from accountants and even a few realtors that crazy lending and over-building was going to get us into trouble. Boy, were they right. By Vicki on 2012 08 30
Could cobiz extend the comments so that we can see all of them? I think we're missing something ... like, what prompted Karen to post? By Vicki on 2012 08 30
Has Mr. Rodwin forgotten the building boom years prior to the Great Recession? Did he not do well? Under who's governmental leadership was that? Did he complain of an overheated market, or just take the money? Yes, the housing market collapse and subsequent recession took a heavy toll on architects and builders, but was it really LACK of regulation? Perhaps, a lack of enforcement? or maybe it was abundant, cheap money from the Fed? A balance between recession and prosperity has always been a difficult line without governmental meddling. Was Congress' mandate thru Fanny & Freddie, of sub-prime mortgages to people who really could not afford to own nor maintain a home, a good idea? Me thinks not. Bush's busted bubble has not been cured by Obama's bluster. By Rich Forrest on 2012 08 30
John~ Even though small business is trying to claw back - the trickle down does not work - never has. It does not matter whether you are a liberal or conservative - Republican or Democrat, Obama was not the cause of the recession. Please review the current history. Politics can make all it wants out of the Obama era policies - but they blame the recession all on Obama. WRONG! Please let us remember the FAILED Bush era trickle down economics. The only ones who made money were on Wall Street - and they kept that money for themselves. If it were not for the stimulus many in Grand County would have failed. I thank the current administration for keeping us alive during the worst. John - You may have a different opinion - that is your right. But I believe you are on the wrong track. By Karen Frye on 2012 08 30
John, I look forward to your 500 word essay which explains why Mr. Romney will be better for business. If you want I can proofread it before you send it in. I'll probably cut out the inflammatory words so that you sound smarter (if that's okay.) By Mr. Friendly Helper on 2012 08 30
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