So I read in the Washington Post last week that Montgomery County is projecting a shortage of affordable housing and "needs" for the government to help provide a minimum of 70,000 new units over the next 20 years for people who make less than $50,000.
What happened to the market economy? When and where a product is demanded - of any type - private enterprise (unencumbered by onerous regulations and taxes) will find a way to provide it. If the profit incentive to satisfy the demand doesn't exist… perhaps the market is better off without the product. In any event, our government has proven inept at providing services. Why would we trust it to intervene in the housing market more than it already does?
The worst part? The concern is based on projected immigration patterns. So people who are not here, are not part of our community (yet) are going to be the beneficiaries of a wealth transfer from me and all other property owners in the county. That's right, the County Council is taking money from hardworking, home-owning taxpayers and using it to subsidize housing for people who don't even live here yet!
And why would people who can't afford Montgomery County come here? Perhaps the excellent, bi-lingual schools are an attraction? Perhaps they come to enjoy quasi-urban living where you really can live car-free? Perhaps people have heard about our generous social services that ensure all residents can access higher education and health care regardless of ability to pay and an abundance of opportunities for anyone willing to work.
Folks, wake up. Montgomery has nothing to be ashamed of relative to our generosity to the poor and working classes. Our beneficence is manifest and will keep attracting service workers and unemployed people without any effort to create MORE affordable housing. We need to actually reverse these spending patterns and work to attract wealthy individuals and businesses to Montgomery County.
Wealthy people own businesses, employ workers and pay taxes. This alone should attract workers - without the government spending YOUR tax money on social services. When the government charges too much in taxes or makes living here unattractive to the wealthy, we risk turning the equation around. Demographic patterns clearly show Montgomery County is in the process of chasing away wealthy taxpayers in favor of the poor and working classes. That's all well and good if it makes you feel good, but play out the long term consequences and not only will we run low on taxpayers but without the revenue they provide, we won't be able to pay for any of the social services of which we are rightly proud.
It is counter-intuitive to those whose political persuasion demands increasing our reliance on entitlements, but economic truths are hard to deny. If you think it's important for the government to give more pie to the less fortunate, you need to grow the pie. Increasing taxes and entitlements means less pie for everyone and eventually… you'll run out of pie.