Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Modest (Housing) Proposal

Shelter is one of our most basic necessities. Yet in our nation today, far too many American citizens do not have a home. Our government, in its mission to safeguard our general welfare, must find a way to ensure all Americans have adequate, affordable housing. Housing is a right.

Why do Americans not have housing? Housing costs have skyrocketed in the past few years, making it unaffordable for many. Millions go homeless, or must rent, and be at the mercy of their landlords. But nothing should come you and your home.

The government must ensure universal housing to all Americans. This could be achieved through a series of mandates on housing prices, as well as expanding the public housing option.

Private architects/engineers/housing builders would be mandated to make a certain minimum level of housing (which should include large master bedrooms and at least one Jacuzzi per home). Housing costs should not exceed a basic amount. If housing costs are beyond that level, they should be subsidized by the federal government.
The public housing option should be expanded to offer affordable homes to all Americans. These homes, which would have government subsidies, would compete directly with private builders to help "keep them honest."

Critics may say that the current public housing system is substandard. Nonsense, people love their public housing. It is on par with private housing. But if equal to private housing, some may say the cheaper, government subsidized housing would drive out of business the private builders. We are in no way eliminating the private housing industry. You are free to buy private housing if you wish. (But we will remind you that the public option will be far, far cheaper.) We will compensate those working for the expanded public option (engineers, architects, builders) a reasonable amount. This may be much less than they received in the private housing industry, but then again, that was industry full of special interests anyway. Besides, many in the private industry haven't paid "their fair share."

How would the expanded public housing project be financed? By cost-saving cuts in the current public housing system (where there is much waste, in terms of materials being used and salaries paid to those involved), and by taxing the "top 5%" of Americans only, of course.

We will also include a measure where architects and builders will be allowed to visit elderly homeowners (voluntarily) and explain to them the wonderful life they could enjoy in a large nursing home, which would also free up their house, which could be keeping other families from having a home -including their own children's families. We could thus advance land use more beneficial to the community, such as an apartment complex that could house many families instead of one or two elderly individuals.

We may run into larger deficits, and many of the private builders may need to work for the public sector, but at least that way everyone would have access to a home.

Up next, the public transport system: Government Motors will ensure all Americans have a vehicle (eco-friendly, of course). Because affordable, accessible transportation is also a right.

1 comment:

  1. What more shining example of good land use and public housing development than the super block upon super block of pre-fab apartment complexes that are still the quite visible urban legacy of Eastern Europe's recent past? Jonathan Swift could not have agreed with you more. Next up, a modest proposal of Swiftian proportions for embryonic stem cell research or "how to use your children for spare parts..."