A lot of people ask me about what the government can or should do about affordable housing. They may or may not know that I won a pretty big award in 1999 for investigative reporting on housing in Idaho, so I know something about the topic.
And what I have learned is that the lack of affordable housing has everything to do with the government. If housing is unaffordable, most of that is a problem caused by government. Not all of it, most of it.
And that’s why this week’s Statist of the Week is Gov. Brad Little. Little is reportedly looking to dump a bunch of federal money into the state’s Housing Trust Fund. The fund was set up in the early 1990s but never funded. There’s never been so much as a plug nickel in it. But now, Gov. Little is looking to change that.
Housing affordability is a problem the government created, and you would not expect government to solve it. I can’t begin to tell you how many times over the years some politician has promised some program to make housing more affordable. But pay no attention to the government officials who are responsible for higher property taxes, mandates on building construction, zoning regulations, requirements for open space, and so on.
Isn’t it kind of weird that two-thirds of Idaho land is locked up and housing is unaffordable? Isn’t it strange that government officials, like those in Boise, resist housing projects and then complain about the lack of affordable housing?
The last thing that Idahoans need is another program — or more bureaucrats, or another governor — meddling in the housing market. But statists have a weird habit of always suggesting that government will solve this problem when it has never done so before. And that’s why this week’s Statist of the Week is Gov. Brad Little.
Who should be next week’s winner? Drop me a note at Wayne@idahofreedom.org and tell me what you think.