There is a tsunami of backlogged remodeling need in this country, yet here we are struggling for work. Properties have been neglected for decades, our cities are (on the whole) a mess, and yet we are laying off skilled labor. This work must and will be done. We as a nation should not leave our housing and cities to future generations to fix. Young people lucky enough to buy property today are not responsible for the decades of neglect they are inheriting. We should supply them with long-term low-interest loans for upgrading their homes — 40-year notes at 2.5 percent. The bankers won’t get rich, but the work will get done and the money will spread through the general economy.

A boost like that will also quickly reveal an underlying issue: the lack of skilled labor. We need a campaign to promote the trades to young people and a nationwide program to test and train young men and women. Perhaps the unions could work with the military to create a training program in uniform. Each graduate could receive a nationally...

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