Letter: Give workers the chance to invest | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Give workers the chance to invest


Give workers the chance to invest

Dear Editor:

Everyone seems to acknowledge we need to take a fresh look at our affordable-housing policies and goals. OK — let’s.

What is wrong with trying to figure out a way for locals in employee housing to use their investment not just to have a roof over their heads but to turn that into a true, meaningful investment? Why not put some thought into finding ways for locals in affordable housing to, if they choose, make money in that real estate market and be able to move up? Rather than staying in the same unit for decades, people will start to move, first up and then likely down. Every time a unit is sold, a new opportunity is created. I get the righties not liking it (even though I think it reduces subsidy and stimulates economic activity and opportunity). What I don’t get is why the lefties don’t like it. Why don’t they want to see the little guy have more opportunity? It can be done without leaving our next generation of little guys behind. In fact, I think, it inspires them to want to be in the system.

More prosperous locals means more money kicking around in the local economy and, as some move up, more buyers for free-market real estate.

The amount of money we are spending to bring new, status-quo employee units to market is absurdly high. That money, potentially in concert with freeing up some of the capital tied into current deed restrictions, can be used in far more efficient and creative ways for locals to have access to Aspen’s most prosperous industry — real estate. For you lefties: This is about creating opportunity, diversity and prosperity for Aspen locals; and for you righties: for those willing to work for it.

Wages are flat, there are few true careers, and we have hit our 60 percent of Aspen employees who live in the Aspen market goal; let’s find ways for real estate to help inspire and create a prosperous and vibrant “Aspen middle class” while also dramatically expanding the entry-level components of that system.

Scott Writer