Affordable Housing Is Only A Catch Phrase



After all the dust has cleared, what we are left with is a truly meaning-free catch phrase: "Affordable Housing."

The high cost of housing is, of course, affecting lots of places other than Payson, but since this is a very small community, what we are dealing with is our friends and neighbors.

The bottom line, as I have said before, is this: A business must pay a wage sufficient to hold its workers. If they cannot pay that, then that business is simply irrelevant to the community.

I am unalterably opposed to any form at all of public tampering with the housing market for persons able to be gainfully employed. My opposition is founded on a basic premise: The public, the taxpayers, shall never be asked to underwrite the financial health of private businesses, including the construction industry, period.

Nationally, a way needs to be found to produce high quality, comfortable, durable and attractive housing at much lower costs. This will require a virtual revolution in how that industry operates and produces and that is not going to happen without a very messy political fight involving both the building materials industry and the building trades. Like most revolutions, it is inevitable, the only variable being "when" it happens. Most of the technology already exists, but it is a big job with an initially slow return that venture capital is loath to bankroll.

A key requirement on this new building technology must be that any able-bodied person with a high school education and average mechanical aptitude should be able to construct his/her own residence -- or subsequently alter it as his/her family grows -- without the intervention of skilled craftsmen, if he/she so wishes. This factor will clear our nation of substandard housing and give everyone the chance to dwell in a decent, safe house -- a fundamental right of all persons.

Additionally, public land released for private development must be stringently price-controlled or it will immediately and spontaneously react to absorb the cost savings produced by the "revolution" above. The profit on such transactions needs to go directly back into the public treasury, not into the hands of developers. The developer should be allowed a profit only on the infrastructure he installs and on the buildings he erects. Public land must no longer be allowed to be "harvested" by developers.

Allen N. Wollscheidt, Payson

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