“The supply of government exceeds the demand”
— Lewis Lapham
Nine months into the 24- month lifespan of the 117th Congress and, of the 9400+ House and Senate introductions, we count 3000+ resolutions and legislative proposals related to “education”; many of them reckoning with the circumstances of the pandemic; many more Orwellian ledgerdemain (however well-meaning).
Once per month we break down legislative, regulatory and executive action affecting the cost of education communities; generally limited to physical infrastructure which includes instructional spaces, athletic, healthcare, transportation, research, agricultural, food supply and arts facilities. Some universities own and operate churches, nuclear power plants and airports. In nearly every way, education communities are cities-within-cities and near-perfect study units for understanding civilization itself.
The education industry builds about $80 billion of new or renovated square footage it every year and took at least another $240 billion to manage it. The physical infrastructure of education communities is the largest non-residential building construction market in the United States (CLICK HERE for our coverage of the monthly US Commerce Department report on construction activity).
The $300 billion number we have been approximating from several sources was a fair and solid number in 2016. That number likely gets closer to $500 billion in 2021; even discounting the circumstances of the pandemic. Five-hundred billion running through any industry tills the soil for market-making by incumbent stakeholders (“niche verticals“) using legislative processes that converge in Washington D.C.
Incumbents make markets for themselves on 2-3 fronts:
- Direct legislative influence — i.e. crafting new legislation, or revising legacy legislation.
- Writing passages in codes and standards that are incorporated by reference into new or legacy legislation
- Executive action
Some administrative information is available at the link below:
In the process of scanning through technical details in best practice literature that frighten ordinary mortals, many federal proposals get “caught in the net” of our tracking algorithm; particularly social justice issues. (We usually throw them back)
We do not advocate in legislative action at any level — we are not lobbyists or communication consultants — but it is wise to follow because, when commenting opportunities present themselves, some knowledge of action elsewhere informs our response to the development of the consensus products that do affect the cost of education communities in the United States. For example, from time to time we find adjustments to the “boilerplate” legislation referenced in construction project bidding documents (Davis-Bacon Act, OSHA Rules of Construction, etc.) These “adjustments” are supposed to be made public but unless you are one of the Washington insiders, you may miss them.
The ferocity of federal-level action may surprise you; with food, technology and energy-related proposals the most fierce; soon to be replaced in ferocity by legislative solutions responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. We list a few proposals from the present (117th Congress) below:
We devote an hour every month scanning sorting through action in new and existing federal regulations during out Leviathan colloquia. We do not have the resources to follow all of it but we believe we follow most of it. See our CALENDAR for the next online meeting, open to everyone.
VIDEO ARCHIVE: ANSI CEO Joe Bhatia explains the US Technology Transfer & Advancement Act at the University of Michigan.
*(CLICK HERE for our post on how the Canadian Parliament reckons with the strengths and weaknesses of this law-making technique)