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The Rent Is Too Damn High

by John H. Cochrane via Grumpy Economist
Sunday, June 23, 2019

NPR covered the Democratic candidates' plans to address housing issues: [Julian] Castro would provide housing vouchers to all families who need help. Right now, only 1 in 4 families eligible for housing assistance gets it. He would also increase government spending on new affordable housing by tens of billions of dollars a year and provide a refundable tax credit to the millions of low- and moderate-income renters who have to spend more than 30% of their incomes on housing.


Victor Davis Hanson: America’s First Third-World State

interview with Victor Davis Hansonvia The National Review
Friday, June 21, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Victor Davis Hanson discusses the declining fortunes of once-fortunate California, the problem with raising the minimum wage, and one minister’s nuanced response to state prohibitions on conversion therapy. 


The Economics Of Why Homelessness Worsens As Governments Spend Even More On The Problem

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, June 18, 2019

California’s homeless population is rising rapidly despite substantially higher government spending on the problem.

Analysis and Commentary

Social Trust Lower In Neighborhoods Without Amenities

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, June 17, 2019

Americans may like to buy things online, but people who live in neighborhoods with stores, libraries, restaurants, schools, and parks nearby have higher levels of community satisfaction and lower levels of social isolation.


Real Estate Ups And Downs

by John H. Cochrane via Grumpy Economist
Sunday, June 16, 2019

In a delightfully YIMBY "Americans Need More Neighbors" the New York times gets it almost all right. Housing is one area of American life where government really is the problem. The United States is suffering from an acute shortage of affordable places to live, particularly in the urban areas where economic opportunity increasingly is concentrated. And perhaps the most important reason is that local governments are preventing construction.

In the News

Cory Booker's Very Bad Ideas To Solve America's Housing Crisis

quoting Thomas Sowellvia Sean Hannity
Friday, June 14, 2019

In the first presidential election after the full recovery from the subprime mortgage crisis, which was largely caused by legislation promoting “affordable housing,” presidential hopeful Senator Cory Booker (Spartacus) has released his plan for achieving affordable housing. Thomas Sowell clarifies this way of thinking in his book “The Housing Boom and Bust,” where he explains how the market learns from these mistakes and adjusts with remarkable speed, but “the question is whether politicians and government bureaucrats learn, especially when they pay no price for being wrong, and are able to deflect blame toward the market with denunciations of ‘greed,’ ‘Wall Street’ or whatever other convenient scapegoats are available.”


Jonathan Rodden: The American Urban-Rural Split Examined: "Cities Lose"

interview with Jonathan Roddenvia Jefferson Public Radio
Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Jonathan Rodden talks about his book Why Cities Lose: The Deep Roots of the Urban-Rural Political Divide, and shows how events both accidental and deliberate make Democrats and the left stronger in cities, and Republicans and the right stronger in rural areas.


How Long Does It Take To Build A New Community In California? 25 Years And Still Counting

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The year is 1994. Only about one in four American homes has a personal computer. The internet is virtually unknown. Blockbuster Video rentals are the go-to source for home entertainment. And a development group submits plans to California regulators for a new 22,000-home planned community about 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles. With luck, now that all lawsuits have been resolved, the first homes will go on sale in 2021—27 years after the application process started.

In the News

California Lawmakers Haven't Learned Their Lesson On Rent Control

quoting Thomas Sowellvia The Hill
Monday, June 3, 2019

Economist Thomas Sowell once quipped, “The first lesson of economics is scarcity” and “the first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.” With California’s recent flirtation with statewide rent control, it seems Golden State lawmakers are treating Sowell’s warning as a game plan. The results will be predictable: less affordable housing for all.


Regulations And Failed Governance Are The Root Causes Of California’s Housing Crisis

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, May 28, 2019

State and local governments claim they desperately want more residential construction to increase housing affordability. But what politicians say and what they do are two very different things. This is the only explanation for why a San Franciscan recently spent over six years and paid $1.2 million in legal fees and application costs before finally obtaining approval to build an apartment building. I can think of no better example that showcases how badly-designed regulations and remarkably poor governance have created California’s housing crisis.