Letter to the editor: Solution to workforce housing shortage is free enterprise | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: Solution to workforce housing shortage is free enterprise

Ralph Ragsdale

The front page of Wednesday’s paper was filled with the great strides being made in solving day care and low-cost housing problems in the county. To be sure, government officials and volunteers have worked hard toward those and other subsidized solutions. But they are socialistic, not free enterprise, solutions. They are based on more collected taxes and government regulations.

What we really need are solutions based on free enterprise, one of the cornerstones of Americanism guaranteed by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Examples of free-enterprise solutions are where a business furnishes employee housing and day care.

Some of our major cities and virtually all resort communities are experiencing low-wage housing shortages and are using more and more taxation to alleviate the conditions.

What would be the process if free enterprise were unleashed in resort areas to solve the challenge?

  • Businesses pay livable wages
  • Prices of their commodities increase to cover the cost
  • Cost of living and visiting the area spiral up
  • Additional wage increases become necessary
  • Homebuilding follows the demand for it
  • Spiral reaches equilibrium
  • Tourism reduces as equilibrium is reached, becoming financially out of reach to some

The key words are “unleashed” and “equilibrium.”

So the price of avoiding creeping socialism in resort communities is fewer visitors. But we have preserved free enterprise, a cornerstone of our democracy. By the way, have we just described Aspen?

As to day care, local or universal: It was not an issue 70 years ago. But women were largely not insisting on working outside of the home then. So that subsidy, where the facilities are not provided by employers, appears to be a part of women’s liberation, just like the right to vote. And who could argue against that privilege?

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