It’s The Economy…
By Stephen Borg
We are a year into the Biden Presidency and quickly heading into the dreaded midterm election for a first term President. Sen. Manchin has thrown a massive wrench into the President’s plan to pass a massive multi-trillion dollar tax and social policy spending package and it appears, at the time of writing, has also thrown a wrench into Senate Leader Schumer’s plan to get rid of the filibuster to pass Democrats’ election reform package.
Nearly 30 House Democrats have announced their intent to retire rather than run again and the President’s poll numbers continue to remain stagnant and in numerous targeted states continue to fall. We are a little over a month away from the first primary of the election season and fully in the throes of the spread of the omicron COVID variant. To be honest it seems a little like Groundhog Day… I still think that the old political adage “It’s the economy stupid,” is going to run the show for 2022.
I am constantly hearing from MCAA members, whether over email, at the Midyear Meeting in Nashville, or at the annual convention at the World of Concrete in Las Vegas how big of a deal the workforce struggles each of you is experiencing is to you and your businesses. Whether it is the lack of willing, reliable employees or the salary rates you must pay if you find an employee, we know that this perfect storm of pressure is not sustainable.
While we have not been able to conduct our annual Congressional Fly-Ins over the past couple of years, MCAA and I have been busy reminding Members of Congress of this number one issue facing our Members, Workforce! We have been endlessly discussing the need for a solution to the workforce shortage in the construction industry and while we have been receiving good feedback from our targeted meetings.
Unfortunately, Congress has seemed to grind to a halt with the Democrat Leadership focusing most of their attention the last year on passing their massive Build Back Better package and now quickly pivoting to election year “messaging bills.” I am not holding my breath that Congress will actually find a solution to this in the near term and I believe that is one of the reasons we have seen so many Members decide to retire as well.
Most members have experienced, and heard endlessly from constituents on, inflation, supply chain issues, and the ebbing and flowing COVID restrictions that continue to drag down our economy… Help Wanted signs, salary pressures, and an unstable international arena will continue to put pressure on our nation’s employers, the supply chain, and the economy as a whole and I don’t see this easing as we quickly enter election season.
Members of Congress and candidates running to replace them will need to address the economy in their campaigns and debates. At this point, I would not be surprised to see Republicans take control of the House of Representatives with a 20-25 seat majority, and potentially even the Senate as well, strictly as a result of the economy.
We will continue to make your voices heard in Washington, D.C., to ensure the workforce and the economy continues to take center stage. Still, I would encourage you as well, as you are talking to candidates on both sides of the aisle, to continue to share your stories and workforce struggles.
Your personal stories will keep this issue in the front of their minds. Implore them to find solutions and ensure we are responsible for them, focusing on policies to ease workforce shortages and keep the construction industry at the forefront of an expanding economy.
About the Author
Stephen Borg is Vice President of The Keelen Group.