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It Failed to Meet Our Goals, So Let’s Do It Again!

One of the running jokes I’ve always heard about the left is that when they see one of their favorite programs utterly and completely fails to fix whatever problem they identified, they say that they just need to do the exact thing again – only harder! I don’t think I’ve ever seen that joke so plainly stated like I did today in this post from a Philly site.

It used to be that cities responded to [wildly swinging rents] with hard rent control, actually preventing price increases, but now virtually all economists on both the left and the right think rent control is a horrible policy that leads to housing shortages. Rent control was great at halting price increases for the small number of people lucky enough to get rent controlled apartments, but for the majority of people it meant higher market rents in all the other buildings.

See, we have the concession that the idea to control the problem was a total and utter failure that actually made the problems they were trying to solve much worse and invited new problems. So what’s the solution they want to see? A newly branded rent control program that’s slightly softer and given a new name – rent stabilization.

The immediate impacts that I can see in the specific policies they cite, even as a person who knows next to nothing about real estate or property management other than having rented with several different property owners, are that buildings would never be improved because rents could not increase beyond a set percentage to pay for it, building owners would have a harder time selling buildings because of mandatory longer term leases that would have to be honored by the next owner, and landlords would be less likely to take risks on renters who don’t come with a perfect background because of a mandatory guarantee right to renew from tenants.

Calling a “bullshit policy” a “manure-infested idea” doesn’t change the fact that it will ultimately hurt people seeking nice and reasonable accommodations that fit their budgets.

I realize that this is way off topic for this blog, but it was just too funny not to share.

6 Responses to “It Failed to Meet Our Goals, So Let’s Do It Again!”

  1. StevieY43 says:

    It’s not that off-topic, if you substitute “gun control” for “rent control”

  2. NotClauswitz says:

    It’s a lose-lose proposition. The City can’t fine owners of unimproved or sub-standard buildings enough to get the fixes completed, either. Here in Mountain View there was a woman landlord notorious for substandard apartments that failed Building Inspectors who lived in Hong Kong and couldn’t (or wouldn’t) be touched.

  3. JDRush says:

    I thought they “solved” rent control with section 8 housing. Bought them more votes, too.

  4. Andy B. says:

    “. . .when they see one of their favorite programs utterly and completely fails to fix whatever problem they identified, they say that they just need to do the exact thing again – only harder!”

    Anyone who cannot see that that phenomenon is independent of ideology, really needs a few more years of study.

  5. Nick says:

    When someone tries to use a strategy which is dictated by their ideology, and that strategy doesn’t seem to work, then they are caught in something of a cognitive bind. If they acknowledge the failure of the strategy, then they would be forced to question their ideology. If questioning the ideology is unthinkable, then the only possible conclusion is that the strategy failed because it wasn’t executed sufficiently well. They respond by turning up the power, rather than by considering alternatives. (This is sometimes referred to as “escalation of failure”.)

  6. Nick says:

    Looks like I screwed up the cite attribute on that quote; my previous comment is from a post by Steven Den Beste.

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