Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Housing Does Not Cost To Much

Housing doesn't cost to much, people are to poorly paid. Housing does not cost to much because planing and construction regulations make it too expensive. Housing costs to much because lack of regulation, lack of protection for working people, has allowed incomes to collapse so low people can no longer afford healthy diets, healthcare, even healthy lives, housing included.

Zoning exists to ensure that what gets built is of appropriate quality and location to house the citizens who deliberated and enacted the regulation. The answer to shortages of housing of such quality is infrastructure investment to build the systems to support more distributed density as required by demand for housing in proximity to sources of income. Of equal importance is jobs, sources of income.

Building Codes do not cause buildings to cost to much, they cause them to be built safely and to be safe. Declining wages cause housing to cost to much. Building Codes exist to prevent unscrupulous people from building and selling dangerous buildings or building them in ways dangerous to the people doing the actual work of building. If no one can afford safe buildings, societies resources are not being adequately distributed. There is certainly plenty of wealth in our society, it just does not find its way to anyone who actually works on anything real.  

The labor market has been "de-regulated", a euphemism for the removal of protections for workers from the exploitation of bald market power by corporations and other employers. Proposals to apply the same euphemism to construction and planning would simply make cities and buildings less safe for people who work on real things or have been displaced from employment by deliberate policies that stem from the belief that dis-employing people is an appropriate way to control inflation.

This policy of keeping prices down by preventing people from earning a living creates the appearance that safe, well designed and constructed housing in appropriate locations is an extravagance we can't afford. Our world only gets better when our policies are set to improve it. To the extent we set policies to improve the lot of the already wealthy and comfortable, the lot of everyone else deteriorates. What we can not afford is to waste the lives of our population. Housing does not cost to much, unemployment and underemployment does.

Underpaying the American work force as we have done since the 70s makes housing cost to much. 

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