Wash. Post Ignores Uncle Sams Monopoly in Wyoming

     According to The Washington Post, wealthy newcomers are forcing the middle class out of Jackson, Wyo. But the paper downplayed one of the biggest reasons for the exodus: Uncle Sam has virtual monopoly on property in the county.

     The rich have collectively inflated real estate to prices that are far beyond the means of those who serve them supper, take their blood pressure or police their gated subdivisions, staff writer Blaine Harden reported in the April 13 paper. Harden added that most service workers professionals and blue-collar alike tend to live in adjacent valleys and commute.

     The reason for the housing crunch, the Post correspondent insisted, is because Wyoming is the best state for the tax-averse rich to establish residency, luring businessmen and celebrities to move to Vice President Cheneys home state. Harden apparently did not consider that people of all income levels would want to avoid more taxes. The writer added that the influx of wealthy new residents has caused simmering resentment of the rich as the real estate market in Teton County becomes increasingly less affordable.

     Yet buried in Hardens article was the real culprit in crowding out residents: most of the land is owned by government and forbidden from development. Federal, state and local governments own 97 percent of Teton County, the Post correspondent acknowledged near the end of his article.

     Although government owns virtually all of Teton County, Harden failed to find any critics simmering with resentment for big governments role in high real estate costs.