Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Got a Housing Crisis? Start a New Bureaucratic Agency with Taxing Authority

Posted by M. C. on December 13, 2018

Since 2010, the San Francisco Bay Area has added722,000 jobs but only106,000 housing units.

Bay Area mayors, other government officials and assorted cronies have come up with the ultimate in an absurd plan to “fix” the problem.

A panel of mayors, developers and transit officials has an aggressive plan to stanch the Bay Area’s housing crisis by combining a regional rent cap, new property taxes, laws against arbitrary evictions and loose zoning near transit centers, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

The group, named the Committee to House the Bay Area but called CASA, also recommends creating a new agency with taxing authority to implement region-wide housing solutions.

This is a list of almost everything you shouldn’t do to alleviate a housing crisis.

Rent controls and eviction controls eliminate incentive to build and to rent. It does the opposite of what you want to do: create more rental housing.

New property taxes have nothing to do with sound housing development. It is just a revenue generator for a bureaucracy and will ultimately result in further limitations and distortions in the real estate market that will benefit cronies. Free markets can get housing built if free markets are allowed to operate.

Government agency “housing solutions” are what the Nobel Prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek called a fatal conceit, the idea that central planners can more efficiently solve problems in a complex society than via unregulated free exchange.

The one positive in the plan is to loosen zoning regulations near transit zones. But if it is recognized that zoning regulations hamper development, why not eliminate them from the region entirely?



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