California’s Progressive War on Suburbia

For three years in a row, California’s progressive lawmakers have attempted to legislate higher density housing by taking away the ability of cities and counties to enforce local zoning laws. And for the third year in a row, the proposed law, Senate Bill 50, was narrowly defeated. But eventually, inevitably, something like SB 50 is going to passed into law.

In opposition were homeowners who understandably don’t want their single family home neighborhoods subjected to random demolitions in order to replace single family homes with construction subsidized fourplexes to be filled with rent subsidized tenants. These homeowners, and the local elected officials who represent them, were joined by “housing justice advocates” who claimed the law didn’t adequately address the gentrification effect, whereby higher density developments often displace existing residents to construct luxury condominiums that only the wealthy can afford.

There’s a lot going on here, and it seems that very little in the way of analysis can support a dogmatic ideological perspective. For example, from a property rights perspective, you can argue that people who purchase homes have a right to expect the zoning density of the neighborhood to be respected, since that’s what they relied on when they invested their life savings and lifetime earnings. But a property rights perspective might also have one argue that each individual home owner has the right to do whatever they wish with their property, even if that means demolishing the home to construct a multi-story apartment building. These unresolved and conflicting […] Read More

California Pioneers Subsidized Housing for Public Employees

When it comes to affordable housing, what California’s state legislators have done epitomizes what happens when you have a government bureaucracy that serves itself instead of the public, one that is under the complete control of special interests.

They have enacted laws that have made it nearly impossible for the private sector to build homes, which has made homes unaffordable. Then to supposedly solve the problem they created, they brought in the public sector to build “affordable housing.” Their “solution” is a preposterous fraud that has already wasted tens of billions, and the worst is yet to come.

Nothing about publicly subsidized affordable housing is affordable. As a matter of fact, government funded “affordable housing” costs far more to construct than privately funded housing. But thanks to the politically engineered shortage of privately funded housing, and thanks to the result of this, a politically engineered and unaffordable price to rent or purchase homes, public housing is being sold to voters as a humanitarian necessity. And after the taxpayers foot the bill to construct this housing, taxpayers then foot the bill to subsidize the “affordable” rental rates charged the lucky occupants. Forever.

Subsidized housing developments were once known as the “projects,” which back in the 1960s were built as part of the “war on poverty.” These attempts at providing free housing backfired, as tenants with no ownership stake had no incentive to care for their property. But at least the projects were built cost-effectively. No such luck this time around. […] Read More