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

Op-ed: Utah’s economy could benefit from focusing on climate issues

Written by: Peter Reichard

Record heat and the drought this summer are putting the issue of climate change on Utahns’ minds. While a run of unfavorable weather measured in weeks or months does not in itself equate to climate change, it does invite us to pay more attention to the issue. The causes and effects of climate change, as well as the proper responses, remain matters for some degree of debate. And those debates, by the way, are worth … Continued

Op-Ed: Dry times in Utah highlight importance of long-term water management

Written by: Peter Reichard

It’s when your throat is parched and you’ve been baking in the hot sun that you most appreciate a glass of cool, clear water. We appear to be in such a moment at a statewide level. As of May 1, the 2020-21 winter snowpack in most of the state’s measured basins was well below median, and in some cases less than half of the median level. While one bad year may not plunge the whole … Continued

Op-Ed: Addressing the cost of health care is Utahns’ top priority – and a big-time challenge

Written by: Peter Reichard

A little over two decades ago, I learned how lucrative the pharmaceutical industry could be. The father of a friend of mine, who was nearing retirement after a career with a drug company, was discussing how nice their recent company picnic had been. He went on to mention that they brought in a well-known band to play the event. The band? U2. At a company picnic. That’s what giant profit margins can do for you. … Continued

Op-Ed: Rising housing costs and rising concerns in Utah

Written by: Peter Reichard

Concerns about housing affordability in Utah have become acute, to say the least. In Utah Foundation surveys dating back to 2008, housing affordability had never been a top-10 issue. That changed in 2020. In an initial Utah Priorities survey before the economic shutdown, we found that housing affordability had surged to become the second most important issue. In a new survey several months later, it remained in the top 10, even after the pandemic crisis … Continued

Op-Ed: Why should we care about educational attainment?

Written by: Peter Reichard

Post-secondary educational attainment matters a lot. For years, Utah Foundation has been uncovering data on challenges and successes that connect directly to post-secondary educational attainment. In fact, attainment matters so much to us that we just launched a series on the topic with a report that examines strategies that can be deployed to help boost attainment levels. What is educational attainment? In general, it is the highest level of education that a person or population … Continued

Op-Ed: Has Utah found a better way to pay for roads?

Written by: Peter Reichard

About 8,000 years ago, somebody in what is now Iraq came up with the idea of taxing the public for services and infrastructure. In addition to funding armies, taxation in the ancient world went heavily toward building roads. Whether it was property taxes or some other exaction, few were particularly pleased. Tax collectors were despised in the ancient world. After these millennia, is it possible that Utah has figured out the best way for the … Continued