ASA Insights
June. 30, 2011

White House Has LIFO in its Sights: Contact Congress Today
American Supply Association
Included in President Barack Obama's latest tax plan is a proposal to end a business accounting method believed to be worth $72 billion. This is expected to be among the sticking points he will face after meeting with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in an effort to revive bipartisan talks over reducing the debt. Taking away last-in-first-out, or LIFO, a method of accounting used by more than 36 percent of American businesses for inventory costs, was among options put forward by White House officials for raising $400 billion in revenue over 10 years during the recently stalled negotiations led by Vice President Joe Biden.More

SWA Members Succeed by Choice Not by Chance
American Supply Association
This week, the Southern Wholesalers Association, which represents Region 6 of ASA, held a very successful 83rd annual convention in Hilton Head, S.C. In addition to 35 wholesaler firms being represented, sponsorship contributions from manufacturers were at the highest level in 10 years. Program highlights included a keynote address and extended industry forum with David Kohler, president of Kohler Co., remarks from both Bill Kenny and Reggie Hickman, the presidents of ASA and SWA, respectively, and best practice round-table sessions focused on sales, marketing, purchasing and vendor relations. According to Chris Murin, ASA's executive director and a first-time attendee at the event, "The energy and camaraderie I felt among all those in attendance was refreshing and encouraging, especially in light of ongoing economic and political circumstances." Next year, SWA will hold its 84th annual convention in Panama City, Fla.More

ASA Legislative Fly-in Speaker Offers Commentary on Washington Tax Debate
American Supply Association/Investor's Business Daily
Last week, 2011 ASA Legislative Fly-in speaker James Carter took to the pages of Investor's Business Daily to ask a fundamental question: "Just what is a tax increase?" Blurring the line between humor and cynicism, Groucho Marx famously declared: "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... well, I have others." Indeed, Marx's quip reflects what many Americans have come to expect from their political leaders. But even when America's leaders try to act according to principle, decades of political spin and "Washington-speak" make doing so difficult. Consider the problem facing House Republicans. With the federal government bumping up against its debt limit, Republicans are demanding that any increase in the limit be paired with equally large spending cuts. As a matter of principle, they have ruled out raising taxes. This elicits the nettlesome question, "What constitutes a tax increase?"More

ASA Networking Councils on the Move
American Supply Association
Peer-to-peer networking is a key factor in staying current with industry trends. It is also a valuable resource when you are faced with challenges and need a creative solution. ASA's Networking Councils are designed with these important concepts in mind. Our Warehouse & Operations, Trainers, CFOs and Showroom Manager Councils are comprised of representatives from a wide variety of distributor and manufacturer member companies from across the United States. Each of these councils is having a face-to-face meeting during NetworkASA 2011, Sept. 13-16 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, to not only network but also to help develop educational tools and resources for these areas of the industry. Don't miss this invaluable opportunity to network with your fellow industry professionals! This week we highlight the Warehouse & Operations Council, which will be developing a Best Practices Manual as part of their face-to-face meeting Thursday, Sept. 15, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. We need your input to help bring this industry resource to fruition. Please click here or call 312-464-0090, ext. 210, to contact Ruth Mitchell at ASA for more details.More

US Industrial Production Rises Less Than Forecast on Drop in Utilities
Bloomberg
Industrial production in the U.S. rose less than forecast in May, restrained by a slump in utility output and shortages of auto parts from Japan. Output at factories, mines and utilities rose 0.1 percent after no change the prior month, figures from the Federal Reserve showed. Economists projected a 0.2 percent gain, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Factory production climbed 0.4 percent, led by the biggest gain in business equipment output in four months. Manufacturing may pick up in coming months as disruptions of parts supplies ease after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Overseas demand and business spending also may spur sales of U.S.-made equipment and technology, helping bolster the industry that's been a mainstay of the recovery.More

Obama: We Need More Manufacturing Jobs
NPR
President Barack Obama was in Pittsburgh on June 24 to highlight American manufacturing, which he hopes to boost with a series of appearances and a program called the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. Coming from the industrial Midwest, Obama knows the value of factory jobs. From his first days in office, he's been talking about lighting a fire under the nation's factory boilers. "One of the changes, and I'm going to be talking about this in the coming weeks, is I'd like to once again see our best and brightest commit themselves to making things," he said at Georgetown University in the spring of 2009. The president's keen interest in making things is more than just smokestack nostalgia. Economist Jared Bernstein, who until recently led the administration's Middle Class Task Force, notes that pay and benefits in factory jobs average 20 percent higher than those in the service sector.More

US Steel Up 5.6 Percent in May
The Journal of Commerce
U.S. steel imports increased by 5.6 percent in May. "The increase in imports in May reflected improved steel market conditions, principally in the flat rolled market, as semi-finished imports by domestic mills jumped by 38 percent in response," said David Phelps, president of the American Institute for Imported Steel. He said finished imports declined in May.More

Copper Price Increases on Euro Assurances
The Street
Copper futures were drifting slightly higher June 21 ahead of an expected vote of confidence in Greece later in the afternoon. The stock market opened in positive territory on hopes that Greece would pass through new austerity measures. Fading fears of a global domino effect from the euro fiscal crisis are helping to buoy copper prices. "There are risks on the horizon," said independent copper trader Eric Zuccarelli. But, "as uncertainty in Greece gets taken out of the marketplace," he explained, "trends in copper will shape up even more toward the positive." Goldman Sachs has projected a 12-month London Metals Exchange copper price forecast of $11,000 per ton.More