Worth consideration

Published 9:05 pm Saturday, January 10, 2009

By Staff
The North Carolina housing industry’s call for Congress to address the nationwide housing crisis could be interpreted as that industry looking out for itself.
There could be some degree of truth to that, but it appears the North Carolina housing industry is on the right track with its appeal to Congress, which called the housing crisis the root of the nation’s recession.
Richard Gaylord, president of Richard Gaylord Homes; Joe Appelmann, president of Stock Building Supply; Rick Judson, owner of Evergreen Homes; and Dan Tingen, president of Tingen Construction, urged Congressional leaders to enact daring initiatives that they believe will stimulate the housing market and, in turn, revive the local, state and national economies.
Their call for action makes sense. Housing is a key segment of the nation’s economy, in part because building houses requires construction workers to build the houses, workers who make the building supplies — lumber, roofing material, hardware, drywall, bricks, siding and the like — needed to build the houses and workers who do landscaping and other work associated with getting houses ready for occupancy by their owners.
According to the News &Observer of Raleigh, Appelmann said Stock Building Supply has laid off at least 1,000 employees in North Carolina and 9,000 jobs nationwide — reducing its total work force by half —during the past 14 months.
The association asked Congress to OK a $100 billion aid package to help the construction industry. The association’s suggestions include tax credits of up to $22,000 for home purchases and subsidies that would bring mortgage rates to as low as 3 percent for the first half of this year, according to a report by The Associated Press.
The association’s proposal deserves careful consideration by Congress. If the proposal results in spending money to help put people back to work, that would be a good thing, especially in North Carolina where the unemployment rate in November was the highest it’s been in 25 years.
Judson, it appears, has hit the nail right on its head.
Once again, Judson is hammering home an important point.
The North Carolina housing industry isn’t looking out just for itself. Considering what its proposal calls for, the industry is trying to help North Carolina residents cope with and eventually recover from an ailing economy.
The association’s proposal is more about building a better economic future for many people and less about the housing industry building up itself.
That proposal could become part of a foundation of a comprehensive and nationwide economic-stimulus plan geared toward reviving the nation’s moribund economy.
Something is needed to fix the economy. This proposal deserves a fair hearing by Congress. It could be one of the solutions to a growing problem.