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Will Obama’s Recovery Plan Help CRE?

Last week’s GlobeSt.com Quick Poll asked readers whether or not our new president’s economic recovery plan would help the commercial real estate industry. It was a close call, but 55% of our nearly 770 respondents voted “no,” with the remainder thinking Barack Obama’s will work. Philip Blumberg, founder of Coral Gables, FL-based Blumberg Capital Partners was in the minority. He spoke with GlobeSt.com recently about why he has hope in Obama’s plan.

I am a fiscal Republican, but a registered Democrat, and he has made a very strong impression on fiscally conservative people. He’s taken a very common-sense approach. But his plan is in formation. To the degree that he seems fiscally aware of the potential impacts of a highly inflationary economy because of government spending, it’s refreshing to hear from a Democrat, particularly the most important Democrat.

It bodes better for this economy. Not that it bodes well, but better than the worst perspective, which has been flagrantly spending money or making commitments that are ultimately going to be disasterously inflationary. The concept that real estate is a good inflation hedge has some merit to it, but certainly not enough merit to warrant the type of inflation we are going to be looking at.

Probably the only thing the government can do – it certainly can’t stimulate lending – is to create a stimulus package to bring some employment back. For commercial real estate, whether it’s office or retail, the concept of a stimulus package that puts people to work, creating a slightly better consumer economy and giving people reason to borrow, is probably the best role that government can play right now. The concept of bailouts, which I was against even for our own industry, is good money going after bad, whether it’s in the form of the automobile industry or commercial real estate. Sophisticated investors who overleveraged in a peak market, do not deserve a bailout.

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