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Letter: Seniors not entitled to housing subsidy

Published 1:04 pm, Wednesday, January 9, 2013
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Seniors not entitled

to local housing subsidy

In his Jan. 4 column in support of affordable housing in Westport, Woody Klein makes a number of assertions and statements that cannot go unchallenged ("New Year's wish -- affordable housing for Westport Seniors).

Woody suggests the affordable (subsidized) housing should be the primary objective of our town, above all else. I suggest that the safety and well being of all of our town's citizens should be the primary objective of the town, with an emphasis on the education and safety of our children (the traditional model). While it would be nice for all people to be able to live where they want to live, such a luxury is not the financial responsibility of fellow taxpayers. The fact of living in town for many years, participating in our town's life, and paying one's fair share of local taxes (for services delivered by the town during those years) does not entitle anyone to town-subsidized living later on.

Woody also believes profit motive is evil, but profit motive is not evil. It enables us all to eat, to live out of the elements, clothe ourselves, and hopefully pursue happiness, whatever that means to us -- one person's pursuit of happiness may be another person's unattractive "private craving." If there is no profit, there would be no coin in the pocket after the work is done or capital invested to buy anything, to hire anybody, or to pay any taxes to support our community. Profit motive is not only in the public interest, but it creates the wealth that enables everything, including our ability to spend vast amounts of capital on educating our children and supporting those members of our society in need of assistance. It should be noted that profit motive in providing services to the town leads to competition among all service providers, including real estate developers, and enables the town to most efficiently spend its limited tax dollars.

Finally, memories of how good things used to be relative to today are mostly flawed. The good old days were generally terrible. In the good old days, life was harder, medical care was worse, people were hungrier, mutually assured destruction was the best national security policy available, being bullied was a right of passage, drinking and driving was a sport, seatbelts did not exist, women and minorities did not have rights, homosexuals were afraid, and our society lived in abject poverty compared to today...as bad as things are today. The old days were perhaps slower and simpler, but they were comparatively awful; people were not nicer, more generous or more community minded but the same as us.

Suggesting that anybody has a moral ethical obligation to work for no profit (i.e., for free) in the interests of the public good is not only silly but ultimately promotes our society's impoverishment and all of our social programs -- including things like affordable housing.

Thomas J Kalb

Westport