Taking our time, too

  Dear HCN,

If the concept of "takings' is to be a part of our way of life, then the concept should extend to population growth.

Increased traffic congestion resulting from population growth could, for example, cause a person to spend an extra half-hour a day commuting to and from work; added up over a working lifetime this lost half-hour constitutes a substantial "taking." Suppose a person's time is worth $30 an hour; then each extra half-hour spent in traffic jams leads to a loss of $15, which is $75 a week, or $3,750 a year. Over 30 working years this loss is more than $100,000.

If the air pollution produced by population growth is responsible for medical conditions that cause the loss of ability to work, then this lost ability is a "taking" and surely merits compensation.

Individuals have too long been victimized by governments that permit or encourage population growth. The lavish use of tax breaks, grants and the promised expenditures of public funds to recruit new businesses is the ultimate obscenity. These recruiting actions all result in losses and extra expenses for citizens; why not call them "takings'?

Albert A. Bartlett

Boulder, Colorado

High Country News Classifieds