Let’s reinvent taxpayer-subsidized housing

Aspen real estate is expensive. It got so bad some years ago that many workers had to commute about 25 minutes over a scenic highway from a cool little mountain town downvalley where housing is cheaper. Comfortable buses with free wifi are available at heated bus stops every 15 minutes, but commuters always seem to like their cars better.

Many of those commuters were employees of local, big business such as Aspen Skiing Co. which found that their employees wouldn’t work as cheaply as they’d like them to if they had to suffer that 25-minute commute. Other commuters were power-laden city elites.

So, they asked, what can be done about the fact that the place where they chose to work and would like to live is expensive?

This being the People’s Republic of Aspen, and the persons complaining being the persons who run the show, the first, second and third solutions were all … make the taxpayers pay. And so they did. Continue reading

Advertisements

Are we all Chavista’s now?

We are all Keynesians now.” ­— attributed to President Richard Nixon

In the depths of the Great Depression, economist John Maynard Keynes theorized that the government could control business cycles through monetary and fiscal policies.

Keynes was right to some extent. Lower taxes, higher government spending and lower interest rates stimulate the economy, at least for a while. Even Nixon came to believe in it.

The phrase “We are all Keynesians” caught on. Economics is the dismal science after all.

A Newsweek cover story in 2009 took the catchphrase a step further in proclaiming on its cover that “We are all socialists now” as they celebrated President Barack Obama’s promise to fundamentally transform America.

Maybe Newsweek didn’t really think socialism would save the world, but just hoped it would save Newsweek. Within a few years after that story, Newsweek was dead as a print magazine and was sold for one dollar. Which was worth less than seven cents in the 1930’s money used by Keynes. Continue reading