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<uHOW DO YOU SPELL ECONOMIC RELIEF?

Let the Fed stew over the economic crisis all it wants. Our readers,or at least the bulk of the 214 of you who responded to last week’s QuickPoll, chose to rely on the resilience of Private Enterprise. So say 51%. Anargument can be made for Economic Relief coming through the combined goodworks of the private and public sector, and 39% chose this as their GreatDebt Hope. A small, timid 10% believe the Fed alone can do it. DouglasHerzbrun is global head of research for CB Richard Ellis Investors in LosAngeles, and in this first of a two-part Poll on the state of the economy,he provides his take on the best way out: Here’s why:

“I’d clearly fall into the camp of No. 3–that we can¹t have one without theother. We need both stimulus provided by the federal government and theprivate sector stepping up to the plate to get the economy back on track.

“Companies have to have the confidence that both the global and US economiesare going to get back on track and start to spend resources to expand theiractivities. The problem we¹ve seen recently is that they haven¹t beenexpanding their activities.

“The other area is on the consumer side, and consumers also have beenholding back, also in large part because, unlike the business sector,consumers really are constrained. The business sector actually has thecapacity to expand. A lot of consumers right now don¹t, particularly ifthey¹re losing their jobs.

“The commercial real estate industry is being affected in a lot of waysdepending on the property type you look at. Certainly shopping centers havebeen negatively impacted as we’ve seen in terms of overall sales and thesignificant slowdown in discretionary spending.

“Office and industrial? You¹ve just got to look at the source of things thatdrive those markets. Industrial is driven by manufacturing, and that¹s beena negative. If you don¹t have end-consumer sales, you don¹t have positivemanufacturing. If you don¹t have consumer activity, people are not going tohold inventories because users of those inventories, generally consumers,are cutting back.

“In office, we¹ve seen a direct effect with housing. Any areas that weremajor centers of mortgage lending have now experienced significant negativeabsorption. You clearly see that in Orange County, in Southern Californiaand in South Florida. You¹re now seeing it indirectly because this creditcrunch and this pull back on activities impacting financial centers.”

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