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Last week’s GlobeSt.com Quick Poll asked readers if the election will have a big impact on the industry. A total of 75% of voters responded with yes. David T. Houston, president of Colliers Houston & Co. in Teaneck and a member of Real Estate New Jersey’s editorial advisory board, talks to GlobeSt.com about each candidate’s CRE track record and where President-elect Barack Obama should go from here.

“While Barack Obama ran a good campaign, he has virtually no voting record in the Senate. He’s voted ‘present’ more often than he’s voted ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Obama was the head of a Senate subcommittee on the war in Afghanistan and they never held a hearing. When asked why, he said ‘I’m too busy campaigning for President.’ I don’t think anybody has a clue as to what this guy is all about.

“John McCain, on the other hand, didn’t understand how to win. Let’s take the sub-prime meltdown, for instance. The Democrats were largely responsible for that, with Barney Frank and his committee deciding that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be accepting more loans from people who didn’t qualify. Somehow, though, McCain never got this message out to people. He never explained that this wasn’t Bush’s doing. The fact that the house of cards came down seven years later is no surprise. There’s a reason you have lending standards.

“Looking ahead, Obama needs to restore credibility and confidence in the economy and in businesses. Everything else is going to take time. But people need to have confidence that this administration is competent and will get things done. A lot rides on whom he appoints Secretary of Treasury. One of the names being tossed around is former Federal Reserve chairman and New Jersey native Paul Volcker, but he headed up the Fed years ago [from 1979 to '87] under Carter and Regan. And God forbid we wind up with Gov. Corzine as Treasury Secretary. We’ll all be investing in hedge funds.

“Most of what needs to be done to help New Jersey’s economy, from a federal government standpoint, has already been done. I would hope that Obama would let this continue and also make certain that the preferred stock money current Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson has is used to make loans and pay dividends, and not to buy other banks. But from a monetary standpoint, I think we’ve done everything we can. Fiscally speaking, we’ve been pretty good with rebates and spending money, as well as running a deficit, which is exactly what you should do in a weak economy. I don’t see any of this changing under Obama. The one thing he absolutely cannot do is raise taxes and put up barriers to imports.”

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