Marked by inflation, political division and the stubbornly persistent after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2022 has been another year that Americans are understandably eager to see end. The new year provides an opportunity for a sharp break from the struggles of the last few, and a forward-looking agenda for boosting social mobility is precisely what’s needed.
But a divided Congress and a simmering presidential contest that has begun far too early leave little hope for Washington, D.C., to make progress on the important issues. Instead, states and localities must take the lead.
Just like you and I aren’t likely to make it through the first weeks of January by over-committing to a crash diet and hours at the gym, local governments need not search for radical or revolutionary changes to make meaningful progress on increasing upward social mobility. Rather, just a few simple New Year’s resolutions (each with broad support and proven examples of success) can make all the difference.
The first resolution should be to address the housing crisis, which leads to soaring home and rental costs while limiting the ability of people to move to economically vibrant areas in pursuit of new opportunities. Restrictive zoning laws and bureaucratic red tape often make the building of new housing either illegal or prohibitively expensive.