A Fiscal Cliff?

By Tom Branna, Editorial Director | November 6, 2012

 If you’re reading this, the US Presidential Election has come and gone. Regardless of who won, you can bet that federal government gridlock will be worse than ever. Unfortunately, the hard feelings come at a time when real leadership, in the US, as well as in Europe and Asia, is needed to avert a meltdown in the global economy.

Congress was not expected to debate the automatic implementation of austerity measures until after the US elections, but if the Senate and House of Representatives end up in a stalemate, roughly $600 billion in spending cuts and tax increases will emerge early next year. Both the Congressional Budget Office and International Monetary Fund have said the $600 billion in austerity measures have the potential to cause another recession.

Will cooler, and wiser, heads prevail? Call me an optimist (and I’ve been called a lot of things over the years and optimist certainly isn’t one of them), but I’m convinced a deficit reduction deal will be worked out in the US Congress to avert automatic spending cuts and tax increases that could wreak havoc on the US and global economy.

More than a few business leaders in our industry have the same idea. Most are preparing for tepid growth—not catastrophe—in 2013. Few categories in the household and personal products industry track the economy like the industrial and institutional cleaning sector. Turn to p. 79 in this issue to find out what successful I&I companies do to maintain growth when the economy slows.

Other observers predict that if Congress can reach an agreement on the budget, then the US economy should be on pace for stronger growth in 2013.

Be sure to read Melissa Meisel’s article on the fine fragrance market (p. 65). After several years of declining sales, the category has come roaring back and analysts expect good gains during the 2012 holiday selling season. Starting on p. 73, Christine Esposito takes you through the latest developments in the personal cleanser category.

This issue of Happi also includes an in-depth look at the latest patent activity surrounding hair care technology by industry expert Dr. Robert Y. Lochhead (p. 51), an overview of new hair care technology from Akzo Nobel Global Personal Care (p. 60) and a report on recent actions taken by FDA regarding cosmetics (p. 48).

We hope you enjoy this edition of Happi. As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions.


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