But, here comes Colorado, to put the causality back to policy. Here is a new proposed Constitutional amendment that literally is the problem. On the one hand, at this point, it would be unfair to claim this proposal represents broad support from Coloradoans. On the other hand, it is such a nicely packaged example of the problem at the heart of the progressive policy framework, that it is worth looking at.
From the article:
It’s quite the long shot, but one of the first constitutional amendments that will try to get on the 2018 ballot aims to limit residential growth in Colorado’s highest-populated counties.Filed by a Golden man and a woman from Wheat Ridge, the so-called “Proposition 4” will aim to limit new residential building permits in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer and Weld counties to 1 percent of the current number of existing units in both 2019 and 2020.
The proposition would also require 30 percent of new developments be affordable housing or affordable senior housing.
This is just classic. The limit on the number of new units is literally THE cause of unaffordable housing. No city that limits housing in the face of demand has broadly affordable housing and no city that allows housing supply to grow to meet demand has unaffordable housing. The correlation is practically 1:1, and the different outcomes in these cities are famously becoming more and more extreme. This is not anywhere close to a subtle point. This amendment is, at its base, the formulation of the one and only cause of unaffordable housing at an aggregate level.
But, then we have that precious second part. Now that Colorado would make it illegal for affordable housing to be built, in practice, they would demand it by mandate. Because that's just how much they care.
In Dallas, affordable housing just kind of shows up everywhere. Across the distribution of incomes in cities like Dallas, household spending on rent settles at a comfortable portion of household budgets. Most households adjust their real housing consumption to get to that comfort zone - by changing location, size, etc.
But, if Colorado can manage to pass this amendment, it will become like San Francisco and New York City. There, households manage their housing costs by applying to the local "affordable housing" commissioners. In those cities, affordable housing doesn't just show up. The reason you have affordable housing is because people who vote the right way - the right-thinking, moral people who are on the right team, and who care more about you - are fighting for you. They are out there doing the hard work for justice because that's how working class people win. The way households get affordable housing in urban California and New York City is because those cities are filled with heroes, God bless 'em. What would you do without them?
Of course, for many households, what you do with them is you move away from them to Dallas, where affordable homes just sort of appear. I know. It's weird. But, they just sort of are there, even though Dallas is sorely lacking in heroes. Go figure.