On Affordable Housing – Biden Team is 0-2!
Generally speaking, I try not to write politically charged posts as I’m fully aware that about half the readers will want to give me a high-five while the other half will want to hang me.
That said, I must weigh in on two recent stories about the Biden Administration’s plans to address housing. First, we learn that the U.S. Commerce Department wants to double the tariffs on Canadian lumber, from 9% to 18.32% at a time when lumber prices have more than doubled in the past several months.
The National Association of Home Builders immediately responded to the idea by issuing a statement which read in part: “At a time when soaring lumber prices have added nearly $36,000 to the price of a new home and priced millions of middle class households out of the housing market, the Biden administration’s preliminary finding on Friday to double the tariffs on Canadian lumber shipments into the U.S. shows the White House does not care about the plight of American home buyers and renters who have been forced to pay much higher costs for housing.”
Then comes the White House announcement on their proposed “American Jobs Plan” and its stated goal of creating 2 million affordable housing units. A few paragraphs into the release is this little nugget: “Employers will be required to pay workers prevailing wages; enter into project labor, community workforce, and local hire agreements; and use workers from registered apprenticeships and other labor or labor-management training programs."
Now, it has been a few years since I took an economics course in college. But at a time when labor is already tight, how will it help costs by steering billions of dollars of work to organized labor when they only represent 12% of the construction workforce? Requiring outdated and costly mandates like project labor agreements and local hiring agreements essentially kill the entire housing market for the modular construction industry.
To propose such nonsense and claim a goal of “affordability” with a straight face would be laughable if the housing crisis weren’t so dire. I know our President has been around a while and has a ton of experience. But we do not need 1980s era policy to address real time and real-world problems.
We need incentives to encourage innovation, not political favoritism. So, when it comes to this administration’s housing policy, we have to just say no to Joe.
Started on May 26, 2021 by Tom Hardiman