Subsidies for the Rich: Affordable Housing Boondoggle

Some in Fairfax Public Housing Make Six Figures.” That’s the title of a story in The Washington Post, which reported Sunday that families making up to $216,000 per year are living in public housing at taxpayer expense.

Property taxes are increasing at a rapid rate, in part so that counties can give their government employees subsidized “affordable housing.” County officials wail about how poor they and other county employees are, but after generous benefits are factored in, county employees’ overall compensation is generally higher than that of the average taxpayer, who receives fewer benefits. For example, in Arlington, Virginia, where I live, teachers last year were paid $69,156 on average, plus $25,629 per year in benefits. Many county bureaucrats are paid much more than that.

On another note, Arlington County, an inner suburb of Washington, D.C., foolishly provides subsidized housing for illegal aliens. It’s very inefficient to do so, since the illegal aliens could easily live further out in the suburbs, where housing is cheaper, without any subsidy. The illegal aliens typically don’t have office jobs that require them to work downtown and live in an inner suburb; they tend to work in fields like construction or service jobs that typically are located further out in the suburbs.

When I and my wife, who worked in Washington, D.C., looked at living in a rental housing complex near Ballston Metro station several years ago, it became obvious to my wife, an immigrant who speaks Spanish, that many illegals were living there and receiving a subsidized rent of around $800 rather than the $1300 that we would have been charged. (We backed out of the lease after the landlord refused to make promised renovations to the apartment).