According to Merriam Webster online, affordable means able to be afforded: having a cost that is not too high. And among New York’s Democrats and progressives there is always talk of having government policies make something affordable: affordable education, affordable health care, affordable housing, affordable transportation, etc. And yet observing 40 years of public policy in New York, I can think of only a handful of examples of policies that have actually made life, or a better life, less costly for the public at large.
When one examines the totality of public policies enacted in so-called Blue States, you see that the goal actually seems to be to make many things more expensive.
Sometimes for reasons I agree with. A developed country (and I’m not sure ours is) shouldn’t be making goods and services more affordable in the short run by making them more expensive, more dangerous, or more misery-inducing for the community as a whole, in the long run. That’s what the builders of the “affordable” Surfside condo in Florida did by cheaping out on the building structure.
But mostly for reasons that would be impossible to justify if openly admitted. To make some workers — those who work for the government, or are paid funded by government programs — richer compared other similar workers, at the expense of making those other similar workers pay more and become poorer. And to make it more expensive to live in politically influential “liberal” communities, ensuring the less well off, their burdens and troubles, will be somewhere else. The result is hypocrisy.
When Democrats and progressives say “affordable” what they really mean is “subsidized.” Part of the cost is paid for by someone else, so it seems to be more affordable. But since fiscal resources are not unlimited, even in New York City where we have the highest state and local tax burden and the most debt, the subsidies for “affordable” health care, education, transportation, housing etc. only end up going to the fortune few. And many if not most of those few often turn out to be among those were already fortunate. For the rest, somebody has to pay after all. Often those who are already burdened by policies to make things more expensive – policies that lead to the need for subsidies to begin with.Continue reading