NAHB Targets the Good, the Bad and the Ugly Regulations
NAHB highlighted 10 expensive and overreaching regulatory programs in comments submitted to the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) this week in response to a presidential directive to “alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens.”
construction is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the country. In these economic times, the
decrease in production, loss of jobs within the industry, and other factors point to the need to reduce the regulatory
burden on this vital industry,” NAHB said in its comment letter.
NAHB also urged continued funding for three programs facing proposed budget cuts or elimination: Energy Star,
WaterSense and the Sustainable Communities programs.
“NAHB understands that energy efficiency is in the best interest of the nation’s economy, environment, security and
energy independence in the long term, and that the nation must look beyond short-term fluctuations in the cost and
availability of energy in establishing energy policies and programs,” the comments said.
The NAHB Senior Officers already brought to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s attention three of the programs that
NAHB members would like to see improved, curtailed or eliminated.
The Lead, Renovation and Repair Rule needs to be reexamined because an accurate, EPA-approved lead paint
testing kit is not yet available. If home owners without small children or anyone who is pregnant in the household
could allow their contractors to forego the requirements for lead-safe work practices, they’d save money, and the
“target population” for whom the rule was designed would not be affected.
The new rules that define what constitutes a water of the United States – for which enforcement has already been
stayed by the courts – need to be jettisoned all together, NAHB wrote. “NAHB looks forward to working with the
Trump Administration, EPA and the Corps to develop a clear, commonsense rule to protect our nation’s waterways
while taking into account the interests of local businesses and communities nationwide,” the comments said.
Stormwater management regulations continue to cause confusion – ironically in the wake of new “streamlining”
measures designed to fix the problem. “Paperwork violations related to record keeping for Stormwater Pollution
Prevention Plan or SWPPP implementation, for example, often do not result in real water quality improvements,
and only serve to increase administrative costs for cities, states, and EPA,” the letter said.
For additional information, contact Michael Mittelholzer at 800-368-5242 x8660.
Congratulations to Jason Plummer for receiving the
Young Retailers of the Year award
Jason Plummer, vice president of R.P. Lumber, was recently named one of the hardware industry’s 2017 Young
Retailers of the Year award recipients by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA).
The award, now in its 21st year, identifies and promotes the next generation of
aspiring independent home improvement retailers, recognizing individual
achievement by industry retailers age 35 and younger throughout the United
States and Canada. Selected from different retail categories, eight winners were
chosen based on a number of criteria including professional activities and
highlights in areas such as career and community involvement, hardware
industry education and extracurricular activities. Plummer was honored at an
event May 8 in Las Vegas as part of the National Hardware Show and NRHA
Plummer’s commitment to excellence is shown in his dedication to constantly
improving and growing R.P. Lumber, one of the largest family-owned hardware,
lumber and building material dealers in the country. Plummer is involved in numerous functions at R.P. Lumber,
including new store development, finance, merchandising, purchasing and operations. Plummer also pointed out
the close-knit organization at R.P. as a key strength of the company. Click here to read complete article.
Jason Plummer (center) receives a
Young Retailers of the Year award.
Over the past year, there has been considerable talk
about GDP growth and the desire to raise it. While
higher GDP growth is clearly good, getting there
will be tough. Since the end of the Great
Recession, the US has been averaging chronically
weak GDP growth of 2.1%/year. By contrast, from
late 1991 through the onset of the Great Recession
in mid-2008, GDP growth averaged a reasonably
robust 3.1%/year; 50% higher, a huge difference.
While there are many explanations for the
slowdown, the core reason comes down to three
specific ways that people impact GDP growth.
Firstly, growth in the overall population generally
leads to more people working, which grows the
economy. Secondly, a greater share of the existing
population can be employed, which also increases
our economic output. And thirdly, those who are
working can perform better -- and that rise in
worker productivity also increases GDP.
Regrettably, on all these fronts, the US has been
On the population front, the news is not good. In
the early 1990s, population growth was a
reasonably strong 1.3%/year. While the rate
generally declined over the next two decades, it
was still 1%/year when the Great Recession began.
By the end of the recession, however, population
growth had slowed to 0.85%, and today, it’s just
0.7%/year. Worse, the Census Bureau projects
population growth to be just 0.2%/year by 2026,
and that assumes net immigration of 1.3 million/
year through the coming decade. And, under those
assumptions, GDP growth in 2026 will probably be
only 1.5%/year, down from the weak 2.1% of
As for the percentage of the population in the labor
force, it’s unfortunately declining. After peaking at
67.3% during the latter years of the Clinton
administration, the civilian labor force participation
rate steadily declined through the end of 2015,
bottoming out at 62.4%. Since then, it has risen
slightly and now stands at 63%. However, because
of the damage caused by the recent financial crisis
and aging of the population, it is, at best, expected
to remain where it is, although a small decline is
entirely possible. Were the labor force
participation rate to reverse course and return to
67.3% over the next decade and a half, by 2032,
about seven million extra people would be
employed, and GDP growth during that 15-year
period would be a quarter-of-one percent/year
higher than otherwise.
As to the third concern, labor productivity growth
has been poor for quite some time. Since the end
of the recession, productivity gains have averaged
about 0.75%/year. By contrast, between 1990 and
2007, labor productivity averaged 2.4% annually.
While 1990-2007 were good years for labor
productivity growth, never has there been such a
long period of time with such anemic productivity
growth as we are now experiencing. The closest
we came is the 1973 – 1979 period when labor
productivity growth averaged 1.3%/year. Since
every 1% increase in productivity boosts both GDP
and per capita income by an equal amount,
productivity increases are particularly beneficial.
While higher GDP growth is unambiguously good,
achieving it will be devilishly difficult given our
poor demographics and the productivity slowdown.
Solutions include increased immigration, improved
vocational training, and lower marginal tax rates on
both labor and capital. More immigration and
lower tax rates on labor should increase the size of
the labor force, while improved vocational training
and lower taxes on capital can be expected to
increase labor productivity. If it were up to me, all
these solutions would be employed.
Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. is President of
He can be reached at Elliot@graphsandlaughs.net.
His daily 70 word economics and policy blog
can be seen at www.econ70.com.