Automotive Service Councils of California


October 11, 2013
Message to Congress: It's Time to End the Madness
A blog post from AAIA's Aaron Lowe 


There is a surreal feeling in the nation's capital this week as Congress decided last week to shut the federal government down due to the continued strong opposition to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The newspapers and television news are focused on the closing of many of our tourist sites and national parks; and of course, the furlough of many federal workers. For many of my neighbors, it was a day off to enjoy the great fall weather we are experiencing in Washington, although most federal employees I talked to found the entire situation frustrating. For AAIA, the traffic was a little lighter for the staff (although not as light as we thought it would be), and we acknowledged the fact that meetings and phone calls with federal officials were not going to occur any time soon.


The truth is that short term, the shutdown of the federal government is not going to be the end of the world. If a Continuing Resolution is enacted soon, life will be back to "normal" here relatively quickly. The problem is that there appears to be no end in sight to the funding issue and the long-term impact on the economy of a closing could be huge. While initially the furloughing of the nearly 800,000 federal workers (less now with the Department of Defense calling back a large number of its workers late last week) and the closing of offices, parks and museums may cost the U.S. about $300 million a day in lost economic output, according to IHS Inc., a market research firm, that cost will multiply over time as consumers and businesses defer spending. IHS further estimates that predicted 2.2 percent annualized growth in the fourth quarter will be reduced to .2 percentage point in a weeklong shutdown. Further, although the last shutdown in 1995 did not have a huge negative impact on the economy, our current economy is not even close to being as solid as it was back then, making us more vulnerable to the economic costs of the shutdown.


As bad as a shutdown is for the economy, failure to raise the debt ceiling before the Treasury runs out of borrowing authority could be much worse. While no one really knows the full impact of the federal government defaulting on its loan obligations, the last time we almost got there in 2011 was a disaster for the stock market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 700 points in the month preceding the approval by Congress of a bill to increase the debt ceiling. Such a drop right now, not only could wipe out the tepid recovery, but possibly send us into another recession or worse.


AAIA has joined most of the major business groups in Washington, including the U.S. Chamber and the National Association of Manufacturers, in calling for Congress to resolve the current budget crisis. We strongly believe that efforts need to be made to bring the budget deficits under control and it is important to address problems with ACA; but that it is critical that such action be done in a responsible manner, which means not shutting down the federal government and certainly not preventing an increase in the debt ceiling.

Clearly, the nation faces some major fiscal issues that need to be addressed. However, if the economy goes into another tailspin as a result of efforts attempting to solve those issues, than we will have new and bigger issues to contend with. Our leaders in Washington need to look at the bigger picture and find a way to resolve their differences. Our members a
nd their customers' economic future are clearly on the line if they don't.


In This Issue
Join us for September Team Weekend

October Member of the Month

Danny Iwama, J & S Auto Service, Los Angeles

In his own words:

"I've always been mechanically inclined. I was the bane of my father, because I would take anything and everything apart.   I don't think there is a mechanic in the field that hasn't taken their bicycle apart and put it back together again.   In high school during the late '60s while attending an LAUSD school we were given many choices for electives and I took Auto Repair. I loved cars. I enjoyed reading Road & Track and about Can-Am and Formula 1 races.    


During the 1990's I was a member of the Compuserve "For Techs Only" forum.   I read the postings of Charlie Mulchahy, Phil Fournier, Jim O'Neil, Greg Kelly, and Scott Brown in regards to being a member of a trade organization. It was during a BAR meeting in Long Beach just before BAR97 was rolled out that I decided to join ASCCA.  


It was a good time to join ASCCA because the LA City Council was forcing their "beautification program" onto all shop owners in Downtown and South Los Angeles. The city was requiring shop owners to build a block wall around their entire facility. Through the efforts of our local ASCCA Chapter 10 South Los Angeles, we were able to prevent the city council from implementing their program.


I inherited my shop from my father who owned the shop since 1968. I took over during the early 80's. My father bought the shop from Harry Furuya who was a member of IGO.    


Every owner should participate in their local Chapter. They should share their knowledge and strengths. Whether they are knowledgeable in management or technology, any information is beneficial to our peers.  


I was fortunate to be asked to join the Government Affairs Committee.   I have been able to help direct the BAR programs that most impact my business. Through this association, I've been able to address the current BAR Chief directly, and to interact with the Program Representatives in charge of various programs. If not for my connection with the ASCCA, I would have no control over the direction my shop and industry would take."


ASCCA members like Danny are shining examples of how One Member CAN Make a Difference!

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About Us
Founded in 1940, the Automotive Service Councils of California is the largest independent automotive repair organization in California. Its members represent all areas of the automotive repair industry, including mechanical, auto body, suppliers and educators.