Is the Circus in town? Or Is It Just the Clowns Again?

NAHB’s clown shoes message delivered to the House Financial Services subcommittee needs to be called out for what it is.  

In a familiar sounding and exaggerated report boasting about its most recent display of saber-rattling, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has provided yet another embarrassing helping of that same old stale messaging to the members and observers by claiming that the organization has sent a “strong message to Congress on regulations.” Right.Is the Circus in town Or Is It Just the Clowns Again

The news of that powerful statement arrived in the form of an email, just one more in an endless stream of pointless, banal memos that are intended to massage those members concerned about attempts from outside the industry to enforce rules, regulations, and the kinds of requirements that virtually every industry must abide by, all in an ongoing effort to keep those dues dollars and other forms of financial support flowing.

Before you assume from their claim that NAHB has the ear of Congress, let alone the attention or respect of that body, the feeble message was actually delivered to the House Financial Services subcommittee.  The current board chair teed up the same broken record that the association has been playing for decades and once again tried to re-write the dictionary by substituting “affordability” for what is actually nothing more than profitability.

The testimony demonized many of the familiar targets…energy codes, Waters of the U.S., the Endangered Species Act, and FEMA, but added topical ingredients such as transformer standards proposed by the DOE, property and casualty insurance woes, and efforts to eliminate future installations of gas stoves as part of larger electrification efforts (the latter item a transparent case of scratching the back of an ally organization, the American Gas Association).   

Interestingly, they attempted to make their case by taking a flaccid swipe at ESG, claiming that such mandates “impede the housing industry’s ability to increase the production of quality, affordable housing.”  

Without explaining why, the organization promotes the notion that “supporting environmental, social and governance policies” are inherently bad for housing, but more importantly such forward thinking must be especially dangerous for trade associations who exist primarily to preserve the status quo and do everything in their power to thwart progress.  

All of this new-found wisdom is coming from an organization that lacks even enough integrity to accurately report its own membership numbers, which they have been inflating for most of this century.  Consistently strangers to the truth, many trade associations are notorious for their selectivity when presenting data, and in the event that the existing evidence doesn’t support their stated goals, they simply manufacture their own. 

The anchor dragging and fear mongering are nothing new, the only things that really change in this pathetic saga are the names of the movements emerging in society and the programs that are created to implement the changes.  Meanwhile the mainstream shelter industry as we know it is largely stuck in the 19th Century with little inclination to move forward.

If you are thinking of becoming part of an industry organization in order to improve your odds of success, please look at the broad spectrum of groups that you have to choose from so you can associate with those who share your values and sense of responsibility for taking care of more than a financial bottom line.  

And in case your existing membership affiliations are up for renewal I encourage you to ask yourself if your current alignment reflects your desire to be part of larger solutions and not just a chest-thumping part of the problem.

I suppose we can all be forgiven if we laugh aloud at the endless stream of gigantic shoes, polka dot bow ties, rubber noses and baggy pants that climb out the door of that tiny car, but it’s actually a very sad act that needs to be retired and replaced with something more up to date, an attraction based on integrity, authenticity, and professional accountability.     

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