2009 August 23 Sunday
Mormon Affordable Family Formation Problem?
Steve Sailer's Affordable Family Formation idea as a key element in determining the political leanings of a region comes to mind when I see in Businessweek that housing prices are strong in Salt Lake City. Will Mormons shift leftward or move to cheaper housing areas?
Local job growth is one of the most important factors to study when assessing a market's prospects. Omaha, for example, which has attracted employers such as Yahoo! (YHOO) and Google (GOOG), missed out on the boom but is likewise dodging the bust. With the city adding jobs, the prospects for home prices look good. Detroit, where home prices fell by a third from 2003 through 2008, is likely to suffer even more in coming years as the auto sector continues to shrink. Demographic change, another trend examined here, is equally influential. For instance, Salt Lake City's youthful population is primed for house buying. While the bust left prices in once-bubbly Western markets such as Phoenix and Vegas lower in 2008 than in 2003, Salt Lake prices rose 51% over that period.
Fortunately for Mormons plenty of neighboring states have cheap housing. But will they so develop some cities and drive up housing prices that Mormons in those cities will shift leftward politically?
The short answer is, "Yes".
This is not unlike the problem with Jack Mormons who kick the young men out of the polygynous community so they can maintain a high female to male ratio.
Basically, the Mormon leadership decided to violate Joseph Smith's injunction that tithes should be 10% of one's excess property -- that is 10% of one's property beyond the homestead required to raise children. They did this so they could eat out the substance of their young men who they sent off on missions.
Now, having said that, Mormons are the best of the Christians denominations.
Sounds like Steve Sailer has rediscovered Georgist/Geolibertarian economics. Yes, cheap real-estate prices (meaning cheap land, since most of real-estate value is in the land, not in the buildings) stimulate economics activity. The Mormons could easily mantain cheap housing prices in Salt Lake City by instituting a land-value property tax (much like Japan used to do before they got rid of it the 1980's - sounds familiar?) and avoiding detrimental policies such as California's Prop 13.
Mr. Bowery has his facts a little confused. In section 119 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord commmanded the saints to donate ALL their surplus property, not ten percent. After having consecrated all unto the Bishop of Zion, then they would receive an "inheritance" to be their private property. The income generated by their use of their inheritance would be tithed at ten percent. Here is the verse from section 119:
"VERILY, thus saith the Lord, I require all their surplus property to be put into the hands of the bishop of my church in Zion,
2 For the building of mine house, and for the laying of the foundation of Zion and for the priesthood, and for the debts of the Presidency of my Church.
3 And this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people.
4 And after that, those who have thus been atithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord."
Mr. Bowery's comments are not only prejudicial, but they are also uninformed.
Society for the Prevention of Anti-Mormonism
"Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed on their surplus properties, and shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you."
Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible:
"Wherefore Abram paid unto him tithes of all that he had, of all the riches which he possessed, which God had given him more than that which he had need." JST Genesis 14:39.
This is virtually identical to my 1992 proposal for a net asset tax on assets beyond those protected by chapter 7 bankruptcy -- the only difference being the percentage applied for governance would not be 10% but would be the short term treasury rate.
As it is the proper basis for civilization and the only other person I've run across promoting it is Joseph Smith, if the Mormon Church actually supported Smith's doctrines, I might consider joining despite my skepticism about Smith's precolumbian stories. Smith appears to me to be "the true prophet" in the area of political economy. Too bad modern LDS authorities don't believe what they profess about Smith's wisdom.