The Elephant in the Room
Laura Van Zeyl

Having only completed two quarters of compulsory economics courses while studying journalism at Northwestern, I’m hardly qualified to comment on the government shutdown and looming debt ceiling crisis. But these stories are so pervasive in the news right now, it seems conspicuous to discuss anything else.

As you may have already heard, the first lighting industry-related casualty of the shutdown was the Energy Star® program. Partner applications and inquiries were put on hold, as were qualified product updates and specification drafts. The Environmental Protection Agency had hoped that the shutdown would be resolved before the annual Energy Star Partners Meeting, which had been scheduled for Oct. 7-9 at the Sheraton New Orleans, but no such luck. (I even heard nightmare stories of some participants finding this out upon arrival at the venue.)

The other front worth watching as this battle plays out is the housing market. Since lenders rely on government data such as verifying income, the partial closure of the Internal Revenue Service and other agencies is delaying loans and home sales. Not to mention that the environment of uncertainty isn’t exactly conducive to making major purchases with confidence.

I will be curious to see if this mood also affects buyers at the High Point Market this weekend. Who knows? Maybe the donkeys will join the elephants in the room and actually work something out, ending this ridiculous high-stakes game of chicken.

About this author

Laura Van Zeyl

Laura Van Zeyl is the Publisher/Editorial Director of Residential Lighting and Home Fashion Forecast magazines, and has been covering the lighting and home furnishings industries since 1993. In 2014, she was named one of "100 Women of Inspiration" by Today's Chicago Woman magazine.

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