It was not a shocking newsflash when U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden acknowledged in a recent CNN report (July 6, 2009) that the $787 billion economic stimulus program has not yet provided the positive impact originally predicted by the White House. “We misread how bad the economy was,” Biden told CNN correspondent Julian E. Zelizer.

One big criticism is that the stimulus plans were unclear until after the bill was passed and that implementation has been flawed, according to the CNN report. Only a small percentage of the funds have been spent.

The biggest concern for the pump industry, according to experts I've spoken with directly, is the Buy American clause. WWEMA Chairman Dave Angelo stated in his association's March/April 2009 newsletter that the big question and the source of much confusion is what does “produced in the U.S.” really mean? According to the Office of Management and Budget's latest guidelines, a manufactured good produced in the United States is one that has been “processed into a specific form or shape; or combined with other raw material to create a material that has different properties than the properties of the individual raw materials.”

Angelo says, “Now, doesn't that clear up the confusion?”

WWEMA has fought to keep grant money out of the equation in order to protect manufacturers that produce high quality products and know how to offer value. Angelo insists that Federal handouts have never been a good solution. “Our industry needs to move away from reliance on the federal government and become more self reliant through full cost of service rates,” he said. “While no one wants to pay more for services, necessity does drive innovation. Paying for the full cost of water will certainly create awareness with the general public and that will ultimately drive the overall costs down either through more productive use of water or through innovation.”

Pumps & Systems will continue to cover this issue, and we hope to soon find positive news to share. Look for the September issue for a report on a project partially funded by stimulus money! The October issue will feature a special section on our aging infrastructure.

Please give us some feedback on how the stimulus package is affecting your business.