Industry issues to watch as a new adminstration prepares to take charge
Changing of the guard.
The 2016 presidential election and the fallout after-the-fact truly surprised the United States. Who knows what the top story will be when this issue gets delivered to you?
I am not going to use this space to advocate for one side or the other. We, as a free nation and with the election rules we have in place, made our choice. But, I have concerns about what might come during the next four years.
I will limit my concerns to industry issues and the first comes from where President-elect Donald Trump and his administration are going to handle climate change issues and how it affects the green-building industry. On Twitter, our incoming president said that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. Along with many others in our industry, I believe that climate change is real and that green buildings will continue to play a major role in curbing climate change. On this issue, the incoming administration is off to a shaky start.
I realize some pme readers do not believe in man-made climate change. I do not know what to tell these readers, but the fact is that, right now, the North Pole is 36° F warmer than usual, according to a Nov. 17 article in the Washington Post. In fact, this is the second year in a row the temperatures in the Artic have reached “freakishly warm levels,” according to the Post.
Another area where I have concerns is the Trump administration’s desire to ease federal regulations on the financial services sector. According to Dodge Data & Analytics, the rollback of the Dodd-Frank Act could encourage banks to partake in risky loans for commercial buildings. Near-term, the industry will boom. Long-term, the bubble could burst, according to Dodge.
Sound familiar? How did that go last time?
If these — or any other policies — concern you, you should reach out to your elected officials in Washington. My experience tells me the best way to make sure your voice is heard is to call their offices. Email is OK, but an actual phone call will be recorded by aides and relayed to a senator or representative.
I will leave this space on a positive note: I have tentatively embraced one of the Trump proposals. I applaud the president-elect’s desire to invest in infrastructure throughout the country. Now, I have major concerns how the plan will be paid for, but for the moment I am intrigued.
According to Dodge, in late October Trump called for $1 trillion over a 10-year period for infrastructure work. The new plan would “leverage public-private partnerships,” encourage private investment through tax incentives and be “revenue neutral.”
Throughout 2016, I — and members of the industry such as Plumbing Manufacturers International — have discussed the pressing need for infrastructure investments, particularly in the removal of lead water mains throughout the United States, but especially in the most vulnerable areas such as Flint, Mich.
My advice is to prepare for the worst, hope for the best as we head into an incredibly interesting time when our industry could see major changes.
And do not forget that we still have a voice, and that is true power.
This article was originally titled “Changing of the guard” in the December 2016 print edition of PM Engineer.