Letter: A look at salaries | AspenTimes.com

Letter: A look at salaries

If you think socialized and subsidized housing is a “liberal” idea, you would be wrong. I will grant you that “bleeding-heart liberals” cry over the plight of low-income working people who live too many to a room, have to work several jobs to pay the bills and may not have enough to keep the heat up in winter. Like, say, residents of the former Pan and Fork trailer park.

Fortunately, I arrived in the valley before the construction of the first government-built housing and was able to put enough together to buy a lot and build a place. Of course, we went way out in the sticks to an area called Brush Creek. A number of oddities developed around this new cheap housing that have never really gotten much attention over the years. The college-educated planners and government officials who helped push these projects into being were trained to see this housing as a necessary social benefit and as the kind of project that the private sector would not do. Of course, many of these same people conveniently moved into this housing. With their low government salaries, that is all they could afford.

Which brings me now to the main point. Salaries in general, to this day, are low in this valley as compared with the cost of living. Economics 101 tells us why. There are more people looking for work than there are jobs. Because the valley is such an attractive place to live, people are always looking to move here. And people do come — from all over the planet.

Business interests in the valley love this inexhaustible supply of employees because their labor costs stay low and their profits stay high. Property owners love cheap government because their taxes stay low.

So if you are a person working for wages and are lucky enough to own your own place, keep in mind that the property taxes you pay to build cheap housing is bringing in people who will do your job for less and keep your wages down. You might even lose your job, as did a number of people working for an out-of-state corporation that were just replaced with lower-paid staff.

Low-income housing, therefore, is really about the business community increasing their profits on the government dime. And there you have capitalism at its finest.

Patrick Hunter