by Leslee Kulba
Wild West blogger
The Buncombe County Commissioners will be going on retreat this Tuesday. I will not attend, as I am low-income, working-class, and I need to pay my taxes. The commissioners would agree, as on the agenda is consideration of government’s role in affordable housing. Make no doubt about it, the role is not questioned, it’s more of a matter of how much and how soon.
For one thing, I question the calculations about being rent-burdened. They assume somebody making $12.50 an hour is going to work 40 hours every week. Good luck finding an employer offering such generous hours, or an employee who never has to take PTO to fight with bureaucratic errors in the system somewhere. But that’s beside the point. The calculations indicate that this person would be rent-burdened spending $650/month on housing. I know “They” raised the amount one is supposed to spend on housing from 25 to 33 percent, but $650 is 30 percent of pre-tax income. Since I sit comfortably in this bracket, I know at least some of us owe 20-25 percent in taxes at the end of the year. Therefore, the rent burden would trigger at $487.50 a month. More likely than not, I am biased from associating with conservatives who spend more providently and pay more taxes than the bulk of the population.
The mightier matter is, of course, the idea that more government is the solution. We are talking about that same government that doesn’t want anybody living in trailers, that would rather have people leeching off the system than stigmatized by using an avocado, 1970 Frigidaire. I’m all for lightening minimum housing codes; particularly, where health and safety are not affected; and letting up on zoning, which “protects people” from the absence of gentrification. But one of the ideas suggested is a tax increase (which, for all I know, will be billed not as an increase but a diversion from another fund, which, after a couple more diversions, will necessitate a tax increase).
Every time I see something like this, I think back to families of snot-nosed ragamuffins with a working mom and dad, living in a rotten house, eating gross discount groceries – and paying taxes so Little Miss Bling with umpteen China dolls and her brother with the go-cart-sized, remote-control car can throw cell phones against the wall for kicks. But, it is not for me to judge the latter lifestyle, only to subsidize it.
Why do all these rants lead down the same road of begging government to just take everything and redistribute it according to the whims of their all-wise experts? It worked so well in the USSR and China.