By: G. David Sload, President-CEO, ABC Keystone
As we watch today’s headlines unfold before our eyes, we begin to wonder, “Haven’t we been here before?” I have said many times that we can’t live in the past, but we need to learn from the past. Based on the current state of affairs all around this country, I’m not sure our politicians have learned anything from the past.
Let’s take a journey back to the late 70’s. In 1976, Jimmy Carter was elected President and was set to put the USA on a new course post-President Richard Nixon and the infamous Watergate scandal. The country was ready to put crooked politics behind them and move on with the leadership of a fine, upstanding man from Georgia. Some will say Carter was probably one of the most honest men to hold that office.
As the Carter years progressed, things began to unravel quickly. Inflation grew to the highest level in decades. As a result, mortgage rates soared. I was offered my first mortgage on a house I was buying at 14.5%. Gas production was down causing higher prices and shortages. We could only buy gas on certain days based on the last number on your license plate, and then you waited in line just to get to the pump. Overseas, we left our embassy in Iran to be overrun and our citizens to be taken hostage. These fine American people were held from November of 1979 until early 1981.
Does any of this seem familiar? We’re enduring the highest inflation in decades. Gasoline prices go up weekly. Americans are left behind in Afghanistan. Will our current inflation lead to higher interest rates? Will all of this slow the construction industry down? Time will tell. But there’s one more way we’re reliving the past. Let’s go back to 1950.
1950 was a time when ABC was founded. Seven contractors from Baltimore wanted the right to be able to bid on and win work that was only set aside for union contractors. This began a movement that would over the next twenty years sweep across the country. After 72 years, who would have thought we would go back to those days? On February 4, 2022, President Biden signed an executive order requiring all Federal construction projects above $35 million dollars be done with a Project Labor Agreement (PLA). In other words, those projects are to be done using union labor. The President has decided to discriminate against the more than 87% of construction workers that choose not to be union.
So, what’s my point? Plain and simple, elections have consequences, and you and your employees need to be engaged in the process. It took the leadership of President Reagan to get our hostages home, to stabilize the economy and to put us back on a path to prosperity. Unfortunately, we have three more years until the end of this failed administration. The upcoming mid-term elections give us the ability to take back the House and Senate. If we do, maybe we can neutralize Biden’s next three years until we can elect a pro-people President.
This year we elect a new Governor along with State House and Senate members. The Governor’s race is crucial for our industry, because if you think Governor Wolf was bad for business, just imagine a Governor Shapiro. ABC Keystone will continue to provide you, the members, with position papers and issue advocacy on the candidates to help you navigate the very crowded field of people running for office.
In closing, like the very beginning of ABC’s existence, you the members, need to “Get into politics or get out of business.” Your business and your employees depend on it.
Posted March 17, 2022