Vaughan: The Invisible Hand does exist |

Vaughan: The Invisible Hand does exist

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

The Red Ant’s latest missive, on the “Myth of the disappearing local,” is intelligent, articulate, and pointed as always. The city’s and the county’s affordable housing programs are not perfect. She’s right that a build-more-affordable-housing-at-any-cost philosophy is both doomed to fail and a runaway growth engine.    

But to a great extent, affordable housing programs work, even if in need of adjustment, and they are perhaps the only tool that the upper valley communities can employ to resist the power of the Invisible Hand that has been pushing people out of their homes and down valley since the ’70s.

That’s reality, and pretending that locals haven’t been getting pushed out of Aspen, Snowmass and Pitkin by skyrocketing real estate prices, ad valorem taxes, and tourist-targeted pricing is simply contrary to fact.  

As to restaurant prices, yes it’s a national phenomenon, but not like in Aspen. You can still get a decent meal in the midvalley for a reasonable price, as a lot of Aspenites have discovered. We all pay tourist rates when we’re on vacation, but to suggest that local resistance to paying sky-high prices is “chickens coming home to roost” or the result of “years of living the high life” is just silly.  That’s not why I can’t still get a sirloin and a baked potato at the Chart House for under $10.   

It may seem to someone who hasn’t been paying attention that “the only locals who have disappeared are the younger versions of themselves,” and yes, they haven’t disappeared, they’ve moved to the midvalley and beyond.

But what’s happening isn’t just nostalgia for a distant or misspent youth. The Invisible Hand is squeezing something magical and wonderful out of the Aspen Experience, even if there are those of us who cannot or refuse to see it.

Barry Vaughan

El Jebel