Housing prices in Arlington County continue to climb and it is becoming increasingly difficult for relatively low-income earners to live there. In an attempt to increase the amount of affordable housing the Arlington Green Party has collected enough signatures to bring the question to voters of whether to create a government housing authority to address the issue. Hopefully the voters of Arlington will reject this idea as they have in the past since more government is hardly the answer to a government created problem.
The Green party states that the creation of a government housing authority will make Arlington eligible for federal handouts and tax credits that will allow them to subsidize housing for low income earners. But these “solutions” just mask the problem; they do not solve it. The federal government is going broke and counties like Arlington should not count on taxpayers from around the country subsidizing their housing forever. They need to come up with their own local solutions, which involve reducing the government’s influence.
Rather than create another government agency that will only further complicate an already complicated housing bureaucracy the voters of Arlington should push for a liberalization of the local housing market. Let the producers and consumers of housing work together to find the solutions that fit each person’s individual preferences. Lot requirements, height restrictions and other zoning barriers reduce the supply of housing, especially at the bottom end of the market. This results in higher prices that reverberate upwards making housing more expensive for everyone. If the voters of Arlington really want more affordable housing they will let the market work.