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The following articles written by Rich Walker (AAMA President and CEO) were originally published in Window & Door Magazine.


New Tax Act; Good news/bad news for business, March/April
The new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is largely positive for business but has some potentially devilish details to navigate. This is an inevitable result for a measure pieced together through a myriad of compromises among varied interests. But then, as has also been observed, if both sides are dissatisfied, chances are it’s a good deal overall.

The Skilled Labor Shortage: How manufacturers can take the lead on addressing the issue, January/February
Availability of qualified labor is increasingly seen as a major problem for both the construction industry and for manufacturers. In the former case, the National Association of Home Builders,, reported in a 2017 Eye on Housing blog that the percentage of its surveyed builders who indicated that cost and availability of labor is their most significant problem skyrocketed from 13 percent of builders in 2011 to 82 percent in 2017.


Industry Evolution: Disruption? Or windows of opportunity?, October/November
Although the term “disruption” sounds vaguely apocalyptic—conjuring asteroid impacts, nuclear war or some folks’ vision of climate change—in business, it refers to innovation that creates a new business model and market that eventually disrupts an existing one, displacing established market-leading firms, products and alliances.

Energy Star’s Future: Could privatization be a positive for the fenestration industry?, September
Energy Star has become a highly visible target for budget sharpshooters looking to reduce the nation’s critical $20 trillion debt—some make a valid argument in this regard, but it’s also a potential excuse to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Do the Benefits of Regulations Truly Outweigh the Costs?New legislation seeks to ensure that’s the case, August
This May, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee passed the proposed Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017, which seeks to reform the process federal agencies use to analyze and formulate new regulations.

Consumer Confidence and the Wisdom of CrowdsAccording to the experts, June/July
Looking at a smaller crowd, the National Association of Manufacturers reported that the Index of Small Business Optimism—derived from a sampling of the membership of the National Federation of Independent Business—was not far from its 12-year high in March, based largely on predictions of more pro-growth policies post-election, the Index found. Optimism has not faded, but its manifestation in terms of spending and hiring will require progress on the agenda that business owners voted for, NAHB says.

EPA on the Chopping BlockCutting regulations with a two-edged sword, May
As we have been observing over the last few articles, the regulations imposed by various federal agencies has, in large part, been initiated by a blizzard of executive orders. Many feel that these usurp the prerogatives of Congress and that duplicative and unnecessary rules have unjustifiably harmed manufacturers, without demonstrable benefit to the citizenry. To illustrate the point, an Office of Management and Budget report shows that Americans spent 9.78 billion hours complying with federal regulations in 2015.

A Rebalancing of Powers?, March/April
In the last installment of Industry Watch, we looked at the Department of Labor’s move to redefine overtime
pay. As readers may recall, the new edict proposed last summer set out to essentially double the salary threshold under which employees would have to be paid overtime for hours worked beyond 40 per week from the current annual level of $23,660 to $47,476. If it became effective December 1, 2016, it would also have
given DOL the authority to unilaterally adjust (i.e. increase) that threshold every three years.