Op-ed: Rising inflation and housing crisis — Where is the American dream?

Written by: Peter Reichard

High housing costs. Rapidly rising interest rates. Surging oil prices. Escalating inflation.  If you don’t already own a home or if rising grocery costs don’t fit your budget, you might be excused for feeling a sense of dread. The American dream is built on homeownership and the idea that you can earn more in real dollars than your parents. But the elevated housing costs and surging interest rates are suddenly putting the first part of … Continued

Op-ed: Utah should be broadening educational horizons

Written by: Peter Reichard

Few dividing lines in our nation are as bright as the line between those who have some form of post-secondary degree or certification and those who do not. A shortfall in post-secondary educational attainment diminishes both social capital and economic prospects. And the consequences echo through generations, as the children of those with low educational attainment are more likely to follow suit. Some of the steps to expanding post-secondary attainment involve long-term, bottom-up changes. But … Continued

Op-ed: America’s middle class is in trouble, but not in Utah

Written by: Peter Reichard

The nation’s middle class has gradually been shrinking. Fifty years ago, more than 60% of Americans were in the middle class. Now the percentage is less than 50%. It’s worth noting that the upper class grew during that time. But so did the lower class. In short, our nation is becoming increasingly stratified. This is particularly evident when we look at America’s major cities and the urban-rural divide. A robust middle class provides a pipeline … Continued

Op-ed: How communities can change the playbook to expand housing options

Written by: Peter Reichard

Scanning the older cities of Utah (or indeed any state) you encounter in the historic core a mix of lot sizes and uses. You might see small setbacks and often find single-family homes alongside small multi-family housing. Often, these areas appear designed for pedestrian commuting, shopping and recreation. As you move away from the historic core into the suburbs, the old patterns dissolve into a new one: All of the residential lots are larger and … Continued

Op-ed: Utah has strong families, but warning signs loom

Written by: Peter Reichard

Confucius may have put it most succinctly in observing that “the strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.” Family is the basic building block of society. To the extent that families are stable, the larger civilization benefits from greater social stability. To the extent that family connections are strong, the members of that family will tend to enjoy stronger social capital and related socioeconomic benefits. Strong family health is inextricably linked … Continued

Op-ed: Can Utah bring in new housing types without ruffling feathers?

Written by: Peter Reichard

Those struggling to get developments done often use the acronym NIMBY – not in my backyard – to describe opponents of their plans. While it may serve as a useful shorthand for neighborhood opposition to projects for the common good, in many cases it may also be unfair. Most Americans’ wealth is tied up in their home, a home that they often choose because of the quality of life the neighborhood offers. To routinely throw … Continued

Op-ed: Utahns score well on the ‘art of association,’ except in this category

Written by: Peter Reichard

Going back to Alexis de Tocqueville’s monumental study of the American character in the 1830s, the U.S. has been known for what the Frenchman called our “art” of association. He noted not only “commercial and industrial associations in which all take part,” but also that Americans participate in groups that are “religious, moral, grave, futile, very general and very particular, immense and very small.” But those studying the American art of association find that it … Continued

Op-ed: Utah’s housing numbers draw a double-take

Written by: Peter Reichard

Astonishing. Jaw-dropping. Mind-blowing. When it comes to housing price increases in Utah, the exclamations could just keep flowing. The cost of housing in Utah has been skyrocketing. Median home prices increased by 15.4% in 2020 and even further in 2021 – with a year-over-year appreciation of 29% at September. Yes: 29%. That’s not a typo. And Utahns have noticed. Recent Utah Foundation research reveals that more than 80% of Utahns perceive home prices and rents … Continued

Op-ed: Our national fabric is tearing. Here’s how to fix it

Written by: Peter Reichard

There’s no use in pretending anymore. Our national fabric has been tearing for decades. Political polarization is widening. The economic divide keeps growing. Solidarity is slipping away. Social capital is in decline. Shaylyn Romney Garrett, co-author with Robert Putnam of “The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can do it Again,” illuminated the convergence of these challenges at the Utah Foundation’s recent 2021 annual luncheon. The situation is not good. … Continued

Op-ed: Is America’s sense of well-being slipping away?

Written by: Peter Reichard

A couple of years back, a mental health professional asked me to sit down with him. He had noticed a big uptick in his teen patients coming in with an acute sense of foreboding. Among the issues that seemed to trouble them most were apocalyptic worries about global climate change ruining their future. But it wasn’t the topic that alarmed the therapist most; it was the growing anxiety. And that was before 2020. That was … Continued