Yesterday, the SF Chron ran a story about a family that can’t get by in the City on a $53,000 annual income, which contained within it the favored prescription for this ill: not mobility but money, yours and mine. I blogged this question: why don’t people who can’t afford to live in a given place move where it’s cheaper, something that humans have done since time immemorial. Mine is not a question that will ever reach a politician’s ear. Instead, as sure as the sun rises in the East, a politician instantly came up with the “appropriate” way to deal with low income people:
A supervisor wants voters to decide whether The City should be required to spend nearly $100 million annually on below-market-rate housing and other residential needs.
I know I sound selfish, but I’ve never understood why it’s incumbent upon me to be forced to pay for housing for people who couldn’t otherwise live in my community. This is a really hot button issue for me, because a social engineering judge ordered my town (read: me, the taxpayer) to pay for low income housing to be built within a couple of miles of my home. I am completely incapable of understanding why this should be forced on me. To begin with, I didn’t just waltz into this neighborhood. I worked incredibly hard and scrimped and saved for decades, both to educate myself so that I could rise to a higher income level, and to stockpile money to make a down payment. My husband did too. I know other people work hard and don’t have a lot of money to show for it (that would be my parents), but that’s life — it’s not perfectly fair and it never will be. Frankly, I don’t think it’s fair that I’m not as rich as Bill Gates or as good-looking as Vivien Leigh was. But what can you do?
As it is, if I were charitably inclined, I could contribute to housing for the poor, or even to turn my home over to a poor family while I find living elsewhere. Alternatively, if the absence of poor people in my community began to make life difficult for me, I might, in a selfish but beneficial way, work with others suffering as well to create housing for poor (or poorer) people. But I still don’t get why I should be forced to do so.
Can anyone give me a rational reason why I, who worked for every penny I used to buy into this neighborhood, should be required to subsidize people who just really, really, really want to live here?