It’s the sector, stupid

Here in Clark County, Aneurin notes that creating relentlessly pro-development policies hasn’t worked out all that well over time. From Politics is a Blood Sport:

Every election cycle, commissioners run on a “good jobs” platform promising to reduce the number of commuters heading over to Oregon and then proceed to go out and approve more growth management changes favorable to the residential construction industry. When the hang over comes, as it is now with a vengeance, the county then has nothing to fall back on other than increased retail sales taxes.

It’s really kind of sad to watch how the Republican majority on the Clark County Board of Commissioners doesn’t seem to understand how fundamentally things have changed. Not only would re-inflating the bubble be a bad thing, it’s also unlikely to happen any time soon. The easy credit rip-off days are gone, and the banks aren’t going to fuel the speculation again.

So the question is: does it matter that much to the regular workers if they’re pouring foundations for an endless, sprawling bedroom community versus bridge footings, new schools and light rail projects? Residential construction, after all, requires a huge public investment for roads, sewers and other public services, so since it’s taxpayer money maybe taxpayers deserve a better value for their dollar.

We can still have a vibrant construction sector that creates a better community, it’s just that the people who made fortunes building subdivisions will have to adapt to changed circumstances. You know, like in capitalism!

Clearly the BIAW-types think everyone else in the county owes them a time machine, and the way to make the time machine work is to give them tax breaks. Luckily the citizenry of Clark County kind of let the BOCC have it and the BIAW isn’t getting every last thing it wants. Now that’s progress!


  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The human species is subject to a fundamental Malthusian problem: If you just keep building houses, you’ll eventually run out of humans to occupy them!

    Rabbits don’t have this problem. Burrows are so quick, cheap, and easy to make that it doesn’t cost anything to abandon them. But in any case, given our exponential reproduction rate, the world will never run out of rabbits — no matter how many burrows we dig.

  2. 2

    Huh? spews:

    @1 – Did you know that pygmy rabbits are the only rabbit species native to the USA that dig their own burrows? Feral domestic rabbits can too, of course, as they are bred from the “Watership Down” European rabbit species, but they aren’t native to the USA.

  3. 3

    ArtFart spews:

    If you step into the other dude’s shoes…say you’re a smallish contractor who’d been scratching out a living for 15 or 20 years building spec houses. When the boom came along, fueled by all that “creative financing”, all of a sudden you had fifty crews putting up five-story stacks of crackerboxes on land 15 miles from East Bumfuck Nowhere that you bought for next to nothing, and selling them for outlandish prices. You were able to dump that rusty old Chevy pickup and buy a Hummer for yourself and a Benz for the old lady, took a couple cruises to the Carribbean and scored a loan to put one of your crews to work building an uber-mansion on a hilltop.

    Now that’s all going away, and no matter how much you whine and throw teabags and call the president a pickinninny and the governor a whore and half your employees goddam wetbacks–even if the state stepped aside, suspended all taxes and let you do whatever you wanted–it’s all over because nobody’s going to lend all those unemployed people half a million dollars to buy a one-bedroom condo in the middle of an old cow pasture any more.

    Reality’s a bitch, but it’s still reality.

  4. 4

    ByeByeGOP spews:

    Nothing makes me happier than to think about the various right wing fools in Clark County going bankrupt, losing their homes and businesses, going without luxuries, etc.

    They get what they deserve.

  5. 5

    ArtFart spews:

    4 Huh? That doesn’t make me happy at all. I’m even more unhappy about all their former employees and their families.

    Some of us might think a little bit about “There but by the grace of (fill in your own preference) go I”.

  6. 6

    ByeByeGOP spews:

    @5 Nah I don’t have any sympathy for people who vote Publicans into office and then end up screwed by Publican policy. In fact, I enjoy seeing them suffer. I want them to feel the pain that their right wing bullshit brought to the land.

  7. 7

    Crusader spews:

    @3 ArtFart – if you think it’s the specuvestors who are throwing teabags at the President, you are sorely mistaken. It’s just regular folk who don’t want generational theft.

  8. 8

    Blue John spews:

    To repeat common point, it’s OK to waste billions and billions on an invasion of a country that did not attack us, but when we (kind of) spend the money on helping Americans, now you have a problem?

  9. 9

    YLB spews:

    It’s just regular folk who don’t want generational theft.

    Why didn’t they protest the Iraq War? We’re talking at least two trillion when all is said and done.

    Why? Because they’re Limbaugh-lovin’, boot-licking morons.

  10. 10

    Crusader spews:

    @6 ByeByeGOP – so voting for a Republican is an automatic death sentence in your perverted twisted world?

  11. 13

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @3 Sounds a lot like those Texas rubes of a few generations ago who stuck a pickaxe in the ground, watched in amazement as oil sprayed into the air, and pretty soon were driving Rolls Royces and living in castles located in subdivisions whose street signs they couldn’t read.

  12. 14

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @7 What a load of crap. The teabaggers didn’t protest Bush’s spending. This is nothing but rightwing grandstanding. Everyone knows it, and that’s why no one’s listening to them.

  13. 15

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    If I were a Democratic congressman, I would ignore every teabag mailed to me. Why? Because they all came from Republican assholes who voted for my opponent. I won, they lost, that’s what elections are all about, and I won’t waste 1 minute of my time on these sore losers. My time is better spent serving the needs of my constituents who elected me.

  14. 16

    YLB spews:

    12 – Loads. All those addicted to the Limbaugh show couldn’t think their way out of a paper bag. The big picture is completely lost on those joke teabaggers.

    Notice you didn’t address the “generational theft” of the Iraq War boondoggle one bit.

    Your kind never does.

  15. 17

    John-John spews:

    Unfortunately, the give-a-ways to the housing industry by Clark County began over 25 years ago during the 80s recession. It got so bad that a key County manager at the time was exempting builders from rules, regulations, and conditions of approval – to the point that a subdivision of homes was built and occupied before the sewer had been extended to the site. Only when it was discovered that the toilets were flushing into a field next door did the freewheeling attitude start to change.

    However, it was years before development review staff again felt supported in enforcing the law when reviewing new developments. A Democrat controlled board worked to bring things back under control in the early-late 90s – adopting impact fees and supporting the role of County staff in reviewing and inspecting developments.

    However, those accomplishments have been slowly eroded in the new millenium by a pro-development board that hovered over staff, actively interfered in the planning, project review, and inspection process, and bowed low before the BIA and its money.

    The icing on the cake was when they revised the 2-yr oldd Comprehensive Plan to project growth based on the high growth rates of the housing boom, rather than an average rate over a longer period that accounted for slower times. Now their projections look rather silly, but the lands have already been designated for development.

  16. 18

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    16. YLB spews:
    Notice you didn’t address the “generational theft” of the Iraq War boondoggle one bit.

    Considering how far in debt obama has put your grandchildren, I’m not sure a democrat has the moral standing to complain about bush and his spending.

  17. 19

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @18 I don’t remember you complaining about how far Bush put my grandchildren in debt to give tax breaks to billionaires.