January 20, 2009, 11:40 AM — During the Depression, economic stimulus came in the form of the WPA, which put people to work around the country building things. Some of the structures are still standing today, including a decorative riverfront stone fence right here in my hometown. And today, there's no doubt that the construction industry will benefit greatly from whatever stimulus package gets passed, VARs and the IT industry need to get in line behind the hardhats.
The House issued recommendations last Thursday on the bill. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which under the current House version has a price tag of $825 billion, carries plenty of provisions that will give a boost to the IT industry and create some new opportunities for VARs. Of course, this bill (hopefully) won't work like the bank bailout, in which the government said to Wall Street bankers, "Here's some money, do what you like with it"; but there are some very specific areas that could bring benefit all around. Health care information technology is a big area of interest with $20 billion in spending, designed to promote electronic medical records. Another $6 billion goes towards building out broadband and wireless networks in areas that have no access.
Lastly, a new item that treats capital equipment depreciation more favorably will help take the edge off of the current fear of capital expenditures a lot of businesses are facing--the item doubles the amount a small business can write off immediately for purchasing new equipment.