Aug 072015
 

slippery slope

Will Cars Be Next?

by Dr. Larry Murray…..

There appears to be a growing belief in Monroe County that government has a responsibility to provide “affordable housing” for a select group of people. That group invariably includes police and fire (first responders), teachers and nurses. I am not entirely sure why these occupations are singled out for government assistance in that most of them have starting salaries in excess of $40,000/yr. with rapid increases after that.

Be that as it may, if government is expected to provide “affordable housing” for certain people who are having financial difficulty purchasing or renting a residence in Monroe County, what about subsidizing transportation expenses for the same group? Considering the cost of a new automobile, some people may have a problem purchasing what they would like so as to comfortably commute to work. I believe that it is a short jump from housing to transportation to whatever, as we slide down the slippery slope.

Assuming for sake of argument that government does bear some responsibility for providing “affordable housing” for “a select group”, how will government, in this case the county, determine membership in that group? What will the criteria and qualifications be? Who will make the judgments and decisions as to inclusion? To date, all I have heard are glib generalities about “helping” individuals whose salaries clearly make them middle class. There appears to be little, if any, discussion of the needs of lower income individuals and what obligation the government may have for them.

Much more importantly, I have heard little, if anything, about the responsibilities of the private sector or the public sector, for that matter, insofar as salaries are concerned. If the county goes forward with some sort of “affordable housing” program, will it expect participation by the private sector? What about other public entities such as the Sheriff’s Department, the School District, etc., etc., etc.? Will those agencies be expected to contribute in some manner such as guaranteeing some sort of minimum wage?

This is being written by a leftover, left-wing, 60’s hippie–but someone who believes firmly in capitalism, free enterprise and the marketplace. I cannot get over my friends of a Republican bent who are anxious to disrupt the marketplace, to toss it aside and bring in the government for rescue. Are not these the same people who, in other circumstances, bewail government interference into the economy? Call me crazy, but a little consistency would be nice.

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Dr. Larry Murray
A former 60's hippie with a strong belief in capitalism, Dr. Murray obtained his Ph.D. in American History in 1970 and went on to, in his own words, ‘publish and perish,’ teaching at colleges and universities while publishing in professional journals.

Now Dr. Murray is a tireless community activist, focusing primarily on the administration of the public schools in Monroe County. Hands down, Larry has made more public records requests to the school district than anyone else – ever - something he describes as “the equivalent of pulling teeth” or, as some have put it, "herding cats".

Pushing for the best schools possible, he pokes and prods, urging the School District, as often as not, to simply follow its own rules and regulations, not do something unique and different.

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More Articles by Larry Murray prior to November, 2014.
 August 7, 2015  Posted by at 12:32 am Dr. Larry Murray, Editorial, Issue #126  Add comments

  One Response to “WILL CARS BE NEXT? An Open Letter to Monroe County Commissioners”

  1. Larry, You raise some cogent points in an intelligent way. I’d take issue with a few things. The analogy between a private vehicle and housing is very exaggerated. Housing is the most fundamental aspect of anyone’s life, the one that takes up the greatest part of one’s income. A vehicle can be purchased on many different economic levels, and is well within the reach of most people. The “slippery slope” is really not there in this instance. As for the market, I believe in it too, but only when it works as it should. With regard to housing in KW, the market has failed brutally for workers. If the market cannot respond to this, then something else has to. I agree with you that any form of subsidized housing should not be restricted to certain jobs, but I don’t rule out subsidies. Good stuff, ciao,