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I really have to limit how involved I get with local politics, because it tends to rot my soul.  I get bitter, angry, resentful, frustrated, just so totally helpless. I learned long ago that you just can’t fight city hall, or in this case the country commissioners. That doesn’t mean I don’t pray intensively, attend a few meetings, write a few tersely worded letters, and blog.

I am an anti poverty advocate, as in how can we make people’s lives better, and for many years now I’ve been facing this Behemoth that just seems bound and determined to prescribe all the wrong solutions, to create additional problems we don’t even have yet, and to spread the misery far and wide.

In other words, what can we do to kick people who are already struggling in the head and then pat ourselves on the back for having “fixed” everything?

We have a terrible jobs crisis here and an affordable housing crisis. So naturally the “best” way to fix this crisis is to run as much business and development away as possible and to just levy an “affordable housing tax” against the working poor, seniors, and people on a fixed income who own homes. This talk of raising property taxes is coming in the wake of other discussions about wanting a county income tax.

You simply cannot tax your way to prosperity. This is utterly crazy.

So many of us, who were actually born here like my husband, are bitterly clinging to this little rock attempting to survive and raise families. We can’t afford to pay higher taxes of any sort, not on wages and not on homes we will spend a life time trying to pay for anyway.  For some of us, the amount we must now put aside for property taxes each month is already equal to our mortgages. We will never actually own our home outright, we will never retire, in fact we’ll be lucky if we manage to hold onto what little we have worked our entire lives for.

Why are we in this predicament? Government. Too much  government trying to regulate everything and to fix problems on the backs of working people. Land use regulations, bottlenecked building permits, protests against businesses that want to move here, this relentless parade of virtue signaling that seems to make people in public office feel good, but does absolutely nothing to help people. In fact, it hurts us.

It is so genuinely painful to watch I actually call it swallowing bitter. Year after year after year. I was 16 years old when we first began to address the “affordable housing crisis.” I am 52 now. My voice is just as small today as it was back then.

So many of our problems would quickly right themselves if government just got out of the way. This is basic economics 101. There is a huge need, also known as “demand.” You meet demand with “supply,” also known as potential employment. Economies are driven by finding a need and filling it. That work is done in the private sector. To attempt to tax business owners and homeowners so you can acquire this pocket of funding that will magically create “affordable housing” is fairy dust, unicorn glitter. It totally lacks fungibility.

Fungability  is “the property of essences or goods which are capable of being substituted in place of one another.” Fairy dust is not fungible. You do not levy a tax on existing housing and magically create more housing. That is actually called a wealth transfer, as in you will be taking from the working poor and funneling it over to the more well off, and in the process housing a tiny handful of people who have already learned that attempting to work and pay one’s own way in this asylum run by clowns is a fool’s errand.

 

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