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  #51  
Old 05-04-2020, 08:28 AM
Little Nemo is offline
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Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
How low should it be, and how does not paying rent bring that about?
I've already stated my opinion, in this thread and in others. I have doubts about the idea of running the healthcare system by private industry with government set profits. I would prefer to see a healthcare system run by the government as a public service with no profit motive involved.

And I do not see a connection between not paying rent and changing the healthcare system.
  #52  
Old 05-04-2020, 09:12 AM
ArtBeforeScience is offline
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I do NOT support a general nationwide "rent strike" and wish they would think things through a little more. However I quote 2 people from the Oakland Tenant Union as to why people were planning this even PRIOR to the shutdown:

Quote:
#1: The national call for rent strike is an attempt to make a political statement: That the nation's economy has become so corrupted that rents are out of balance with the need and basic cost of housing, compared with the depressed wages and financial conditions of workers and tenants, and that no rent is owing or should be paid until this balance is realigned.

#2: rent strikes as a way by which tenants can learn about organizing for renter rights… State and local moratoriums will end at some point… tenants will
[be] affected by the same laws [that were] on the books before the moratorium [which included] situations when
rent strikes could be a serious option.
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  #53  
Old 05-04-2020, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
I have doubts about the idea of running the healthcare system by private industry with government set profits. I would prefer to see a healthcare system run by the government as a public service with no profit motive involved.
Profit is always a motive in some factor. You can hide it, or force into warped forms, but you can't get rid of it. And trying usually causes problems, but that's an argument for another day.
  #54  
Old 05-04-2020, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
Okay, here's four specific proposals which I feel would help:

1. A universal health care system. Health care should be seen as a public service like education or firefighting or law enforcement.

2. Overturn the Buckley v Valeo decision. It was bad law and it's had terrible consequences. This would probably take a constitutional amendment at this point.

3. Raise the minimum wage and index it to inflation.

4. Raise the child care tax credit.
I can't believe I am going to say this but I think I agree with 75% of this!

Except #4, why would we want to incentivize people having kids who currently cannot adequately support them. (and I have 5 kids myself)
  #55  
Old 05-04-2020, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Do Not Taunt View Post
I'm not a huge rent control fan, but I'd love to see a cite that shows that abandoned buildings increase with and result from rent control.
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Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
Cite.
Cite.
Cite.

Simply saying that you can't evict for not paying rent is a pretty extreme form of rent control, and the longer and more extreme it is, the greater the likely effects.
First of all, let me say that I appreciate you actually providing three cites for your claim. It's honestly more than I expected.

Now, that said, the quality of these cites is poor. You've cited three opinion pieces which agree with you. None of them lay any kind of framework for their opinions - they basically just assert that rent control is the cause of abandonments. And they almost universally cite decades-old examples, strangely needing to rely on a period of time in the US (and all examples are from the US, of course, even though rent control isn't a uniquely American phenomenon) when cities were undergoing increases in crime and white flight. How about looking at the differentials between cities that did and did not enact rent control, with some attempt to control for other economic factors? How about a comparison with European cities, which did not experience the same level of urban decay as their American cohorts but did enact rent control?

The serious economic literature on rent control is relatively damning - there's a lot of data around underinvestment, cheating, limited mobility to keep a low, locked-in rent level, and other problems. Property abandonment is not one of them.
  #56  
Old 05-04-2020, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by ArtBeforeScience View Post
I do NOT support a general nationwide "rent strike" and wish they would think things through a little more. However I quote 2 people from the Oakland Tenant Union as to why people were planning this even PRIOR to the shutdown:
The problem with this is that the reason rents are so high is that there is a chronic undersupply of housing units, due to various nimby laws. Rent strikes would make people more reluctant to rent properties, further restricting supply and raising rents.
  #57  
Old 05-04-2020, 11:45 AM
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The problem with this is that the reason rents are so high is that there is a chronic undersupply of housing units, due to various nimby laws. Rent strikes would make people more reluctant to rent properties, further restricting supply and raising rents.
I remembering listening to a whole Chapo Trap House episode about the 'housing crisis' because I was curious about the left-wing persective. They spent most of the time mocking both nimbys and yimbys, because of course, and at the very end they asked their guest, well what should we do. The answer was a bunch of blah-blah about supporting your local tenants union to fight eviction laws, etc. My take-away was that if there's no acknowledgement whatsoever that the core of the problem is a shortage of supply, there's no hope of getting a sensible prescription.

In short, I think this is a major blind spot of the left (and I mean the real left, not mainstream liberals): we need large banks to fund new construction, particularly in cities where construction projects usually mean multi-story buildings that need serious capital, but since banks are bad guys in their worldview, they don't want them to be an essential part of the solution. The way to square that circle is to pretend that there is no supply problem.
  #58  
Old 05-04-2020, 12:37 PM
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In short, I think this is a major blind spot of the left (and I mean the real left, not mainstream liberals): we need large banks
Complete non-starter. Banks could easily be replaced by credit unions, banks do not need to be "large" to function in a loaning capacity (far better to have 10 small loans from 10 small banks than 1 big loan to one SIFI), and the knock-on effects of allowing large banks to exist vastly outweigh any and all potential benefit.

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Originally Posted by Do Not Taunt View Post
to fund new construction, particularly in cities where construction projects usually mean multi-story buildings that need serious capital,
This is what municiple bonds are for. Not banks.

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Originally Posted by Do Not Taunt View Post
but since banks are bad guys in their worldview, they don't want them to be an essential part of the solution.
This did not used to be a "leftist" view. The founding fathers were openly hostile to banking institutions, as were many of the presidents that followed. "I sincerely believe, with you, that banking institutions are more dangerous than standing armies... Letter to John Taylor (1816)

Source: https://quotepark.com/quotes/1806450...titutions-are/
."

But, in modern times, having abandoned all illusion of principle "conservative" and "right" just mean "as extreme an oligarchy as is possible."

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The way to square that circle is to pretend that there is no supply problem.
No. Especially not in California.

It has been discussed to death on this forum, but the supply problem in California was engineered. By banks. To - and this is a direct quote from the time - "protect capitalism." Sorry that I don't have the newspaper articles from the time (I spent long enough last time digging them up, and I can't find the posts from that long ago), but they were explicit - defeat socialism, protect capitalism, jack up housing prices by making it illegal for the state to fund additional construction.

Last edited by etasyde; 05-04-2020 at 12:37 PM. Reason: formatting fix
  #59  
Old 05-04-2020, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by puddleglum View Post
The problem with this is that the reason rents are so high is that there is a chronic undersupply of housing units, due to various nimby laws. Rent strikes would make people more reluctant to rent properties, further restricting supply and raising rents.
If desperate enough, renters will leave the area, which is what Californians have been forced to do the last few years.
  #60  
Old 05-04-2020, 12:55 PM
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Complete non-starter. Banks could easily be replaced by credit unions, banks do not need to be "large" to function in a loaning capacity (far better to have 10 small loans from 10 small banks than 1 big loan to one SIFI), and the knock-on effects of allowing large banks to exist vastly outweigh any and all potential benefit.

This is what municiple bonds are for. Not banks.
You at least seem to acknowledge that there is a supply problem. So congrats on that.

Quote:
It has been discussed to death on this forum, but the supply problem in California was engineered. By banks. To - and this is a direct quote from the time - "protect capitalism." Sorry that I don't have the newspaper articles from the time (I spent long enough last time digging them up, and I can't find the posts from that long ago), but they were explicit - defeat socialism, protect capitalism, jack up housing prices by making it illegal for the state to fund additional construction.
Oh bullshit. Even if banks opposed the state funding additional construction - a position I do not share - that doesn't make them responsible for the supply problem. The supply problem is because we overly cater to nimby dweebs and forbid building sufficient housing where there is demand for it.
  #61  
Old 05-04-2020, 12:57 PM
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Oh bullshit. Even if banks opposed the state funding additional construction - a position I do not share - that doesn't make them responsible for the supply problem. The supply problem is because we overly cater to nimby dweebs and forbid building sufficient housing where there is demand for it.
It's article 34 of the state constitution. The state is BANNED from funding public housing without local voters approving it. It was engineered with the full knowledge that no one would vote to cut their housing prices in half and was marketed as such at the time.

The marketing pitch for the ballot initiative was literally, and I shit you not, "Protect capitalism"
  #62  
Old 05-04-2020, 01:04 PM
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It's article 34 of the state constitution. The state is BANNED from funding public housing without local voters approving it. It was engineered with the full knowledge that no one would vote to cut their housing prices in half and was marketed as such at the time.

The marketing pitch for the ballot initiative was literally, and I shit you not, "Protect capitalism"
I don't care. It still isn't the reason there's a shortage. Private entities build most of the housing in the US, and they have been prevented from doing so in many of the most urban parts of California. Hopefully the momentum from the state to override local nimbys on this changes things.
  #63  
Old 05-04-2020, 01:18 PM
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I don't care. It still isn't the reason there's a shortage. Private entities build most of the housing in the US,
Dude. History and google are a thing. Why aren't you refferencing either?

Private entities build most of the housing nowadays specifically because the State (both federal and local) is often banned from doing so. Have you never heard of the housing act of 1949 and what that did for public construction? Private entities certainly were not doing the lions-share of the funding back then. These laws came down after that to reverse course and outright prevent any continuation of public funds for housing construction. Because, of course, we must "protect capitalism" from those nasty New Deal socialists!

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Originally Posted by Do Not Taunt View Post
and they have been prevented from doing so in many of the most urban parts of California. Hopefully the momentum from the state to override local nimbys on this changes things.
The state can't do much of anything, because their hands are legally tied. Private entities - at least in California - are largely only concerned with building high-rent luxury condos, especially in urban areas. In fact, in both San Diego and San Francisco, low rent housing is being replaced by unoccupied, high-rent luxury condos because they're believed to be more profitable (in theory, of course, as there's virtually no demand for them so they sit empty and rot).

I can't speak to housing issues elsewhere as I haven't done the research, but California is usually the poster child for housing issues... even though people ignore the legal environment and why that legal environment exists in the first place.
  #64  
Old 05-04-2020, 01:34 PM
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Dude. History and google are a thing. Why aren't you refferencing either?
Dude. Relevant arguments are a thing. Why aren't you making any?

I'm not discussing why things are set up such that the private market provides most housing. It doesn't matter. What matters is that it works when they aren't explicitly blocked from building housing. You see suburban sprawl everywhere combined with extremely expensive housing in cities because we no longer build dense, walkable areas, nor do we allow the dense, walkable areas we have to grow (much.)

If you want to go have a conversation about how awful it is that we have set up our social and legal structures such that housing has to be provided by private builders, I'd recommend starting a thread about it. Maybe someone else will care and discuss it with you!

Last edited by Do Not Taunt; 05-04-2020 at 01:39 PM.
  #65  
Old 05-04-2020, 01:38 PM
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Dude. Relevant arguments are a thing. Why are you making any?
Why am I making relevant arguments? Well, because they're a thing. Why aren't you making any sense?

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Originally Posted by Do Not Taunt View Post
I'm not discussing why things are set up such that the private market provides most housing. It doesn't matter.
It matters when you try to say one works and the other doesn't, and site present circumstance as evidence. Present circumstance exists not because public funding doesn't work, but because public funding wasn't allowed to happen.


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Originally Posted by Do Not Taunt View Post
What matters is that it works when they aren't explicitly blocked from building housing.
State funded construction? Exactly right.

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Originally Posted by Do Not Taunt View Post
You see suburban sprawl everywhere combined with extremely expensive housing in cities because we no longer build dense, walkable areas, nor do we allow the dense, walkable areas we have to grow (much.)
We don't allow those dense areas to expand because A) dense areas are not as profitable as luxury sprawl and B) we ban the public from picking up the slack and building them. So all you get is luxury sprawl when what you need is cheap, affordable housing.

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Originally Posted by Do Not Taunt View Post
If you want to go have a conversation about how awful it is that we have set up our social and legal structures such that housing has to be provided by private builders, I'd recommend starting a thread about it. Maybe someone else will care and discuss it with you!
Mad that you can't come up with a counter argument? No need to act this way, though.

Last edited by etasyde; 05-04-2020 at 01:39 PM.
  #66  
Old 05-04-2020, 01:43 PM
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Why am I making relevant arguments? Well, because they're a thing. Why aren't you making any sense?
It was a typo, which I fixed on edit. Which took two tries to 'take' given the board's slowness this morning.

The rest of your post doesn't really make a lot of sense, so I'm just dropping the rest of this. If you want to believe that the only reason there's a housing shortage is because states are restricted from funding direct construction, despite all the areas where private builders construct ample supply, you can persist in believing that. I can't stop you.
  #67  
Old 05-04-2020, 02:02 PM
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In short, I think this is a major blind spot of the left (and I mean the real left, not mainstream liberals): we need large banks to fund new construction, particularly in cities where construction projects usually mean multi-story buildings that need serious capital, but since banks are bad guys in their worldview, they don't want them to be an essential part of the solution. The way to square that circle is to pretend that there is no supply problem.
I'm not sure why you think a small number of large banks is better than a large number of small banks, but anyway focus on bank size is a response to bank corruption and uneconomic behavior.

Rating agencies abetted the 2007-2008 crisis because they became pawns to powerful banks. "Hyperefficiencies" like mortgage tranches and CDOs led to heightened risks; these characters are symptoms of concentrated power.

Ordinary regulation may not avoid the problems one barn-door is closed too late, while high-priced con-men are inventing new unsafe barns so breaking up the "too-big-to-fail" banks may have been the best route, albeit indirect, to avoid recurrence of problems like the mortgage bubble and its associated frauds.

Instead a small number of big banks are now more powerful than ever. The next financial crisis is a matter of When not If.
  #68  
Old 05-04-2020, 02:04 PM
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If you want to believe that the only reason there's a housing shortage is because states are restricted from funding direct construction, despite all the areas where private builders construct ample supply, you can persist in believing that. I can't stop you.
Er, if you can quote me saying or implying that it's the only reason, I'll tip my hat. I'm fully willing to acknowledge that housing is complicated and has many factors. The ban on public housing is certainly a major factor, but not the only one.

I should point out, however, that this entire side track began when you said large banks were required to solve the housing problem. I provided historical examples of this being untrue (e.g. Housing Act of 1949) and obvious alternatives (e.g. credit unions). You seized on the mention of public funding, and I simply gave you no ground. The banks - along with other institutions, because while powerful back then they weren't quite as all-powerful - were the ones behind Article 34 in California, which isn't national, but is a concrete, easily cited example that I happen to be familiar with.

To that point, I maintain that large banks aren't necessary or even beneficial for any solution to the housing problem.

I'll also maintain that the private sector has demonstrated a unique failure in providing housing: low-cost housing is [i]not as profitable[/b] whereas luxury condos offer much higher returns on investment (in theory). Because of this, the construction we do see in major urban areas is focused on luxury condos, to the point that luxury condos are replacing low-cost housing. The private sector is making the housing problem worse.

If the goal is to fix the housing problem and obviate the need for rent strikes, large banks are not necessary, the private sector is part of the problem, and the public sector needs to be allowed to operate without absurd constraints in the name of "capitalism." I don't think this would solve every problem, but it would dramatically improve the situation.
  #69  
Old 05-04-2020, 02:29 PM
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I can't agree with you, etsyde, because when government has tried to build housing directly, it ends up with the cost of luxury housing and the quality of late-Soviet housing blocs in Leningrad. The biggest obstacle to building more housing is that the governments listens very closely to voters who want to prevent housing in order to boost their home prices. To a degree, new high-priced housing can get around those restrictions. That can pay for lawyers, PR reps, proponents, and may even raise the average home value. These interests do not go away if you take away private firms building housing, and in point of fact they get stronger.

But, more to the point, if you want cheap housing, you just need to build more housing. The argument that developers building luxury housing causes high prices only works if you assume from the beginning that nothing else gets built, and that there is no effect on demand. The problem with urban housing is caused entirely and exclusively by not having enough housing being built. The more you block new construction, the more your city starts to look like San Francisco.
  #70  
Old 05-04-2020, 02:46 PM
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Er, if you can quote me saying or implying that it's the only reason, I'll tip my hat. I'm fully willing to acknowledge that housing is complicated and has many factors. The ban on public housing is certainly a major factor, but not the only one.
It's my understanding of your argument.

Quote:
I should point out, however, that this entire side track began when you said large banks were required to solve the housing problem.
If you banned banks tomorrow from ever funding real-estate development, sure, you'd get development by other means. Corporations would borrow money on the bond market, individuals would prepay for condos or houses, some form of construction REITs would form and fund building with equity, etc. I'm sure something would happen. So in that sense, you're right, "required" isn't strictly true. But without massive changes to the structure of the economy, big construction projects (say, buildings higher than five stories) are almost always funded by banks. If you want to ramp up housing production in urban areas in a big way, that means big banks - or major changes to the structure of the economy.

And honestly, if the answer to that question on the Chapo Trap House podcast had been along the lines of, "we need to restructure the economy to fund the construction of housing along the following lines...", I'd have a lot more respect for that answer. It would probably still have numerous other problems, but at least it would address the core problem - the housing supply shortage.

Quote:
I'll also maintain that the private sector has demonstrated a unique failure in providing housing: low-cost housing is [i]not as profitable[/b] whereas luxury condos offer much higher returns on investment (in theory). Because of this, the construction we do see in major urban areas is focused on luxury condos, to the point that luxury condos are replacing low-cost housing. The private sector is making the housing problem worse.
For-profit developers are going to serve the most profitable segment of the market first. If you restrict the residential acreage available to development to a handful of acres like Seattle does (I'm less familiar with the details of California cities, but I do know that restrictive zoning remains a massive problem), then you're going to run out of buildable land before you've sated that segment. Similarly, if you restricted the US auto market to 2 million vehicles / year, you wouldn't see a lot of Camrys either.
  #71  
Old 05-04-2020, 02:54 PM
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Profit is always a motive in some factor. You can hide it, or force into warped forms, but you can't get rid of it. And trying usually causes problems, but that's an argument for another day.
Okay, then I would like to see our healthcare system run in the same manner as our law enforcement system, our firefighting system, our public education system, and our highway system and have the profit motive in healthcare being the equivalent of the profit motive in those other public service systems I just mentioned.

I feel that explaining it in this level of detail is a little unwieldy however, so I'm going to continue to say things like "I would prefer to see a healthcare system run by the government as a public service with no profit motive involved" in normal conversation.
  #72  
Old 05-04-2020, 03:04 PM
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Except #4, why would we want to incentivize people having kids who currently cannot adequately support them. (and I have 5 kids myself)
I don't feel a child care tax credit is an incentive to have kids. Even if it's a 100% deduction (which I would feel is too high) it's still not something that makes a profit for a parent. At best, it's a break even.

And even if child care is a break even, this wouldn't address any of the other expenses of having a child. (Which I'm sure you must be more familiar with than I am.)

What I feel it would incentivize is for parents to go out and work because they wouldn't be facing the high expense of paying for child care while they are at their job.

The potential tax loss would, in my opinion, be minimal. It's a deduction not a payment. So it would be a loss of tax revenue rather than a government spending program. And I feel that the alternative for many of the people who would be affected by it would be not working, so they represent a loss of tax revenue anyway. And if people put more children into day care, it would mean an expansion of the day care business with more employees, so this represents an expansion of the tax revenue pool.
  #73  
Old 05-04-2020, 03:14 PM
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I can't agree with you, etsyde, because when government has tried to build housing directly, it ends up with the cost of luxury housing and the quality of late-Soviet housing blocs in Leningrad.
I'm sorry, but have you ever been in the FSU? Many of those housing units have had next to no maintenance and still provide housing to millions. In fact, one of the reasons homelessness is not a large problem in Ukraine is because of the abundance of soviet provided housing.

They're not phenomenal constructions. They're certainly not amazing places to live 40+ years after their construction with said shoddy maintenance. They're ugly as shtick, too. But they function quite well for purpose. They're certainly far better than living on the street, or having to make deep sacrifices in every other walk of life to just to have any sort of roof over your head. And they were cheap. That's a really bad example for your side of the argument to cite. It's one of the only good things the Soviets got right.

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The biggest obstacle to building more housing is that the governments listens very closely to voters who want to prevent housing in order to boost their home prices. To a degree, new high-priced housing can get around those restrictions. That can pay for lawyers, PR reps, proponents, and may even raise the average home value. These interests do not go away if you take away private firms building housing, and in point of fact they get stronger.
Oh, I'm a vociferous opponent of money in politics and the degree of oligarchy that exists in this country, and I totally agree that our government is corrupt to the core. You're not wrong here at all. My contention isn't that public funding is a magic bullet. It's just far better than leaving it to the private sector.

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But, more to the point, if you want cheap housing, you just need to build more housing. The argument that developers building luxury housing causes high prices only works if you assume from the beginning that nothing else gets built, and that there is no effect on demand. The problem with urban housing is caused entirely and exclusively by not having enough housing being built. The more you block new construction, the more your city starts to look like San Francisco.
Tearing down units that can house 10 families to build units that can house 1 does reduce supply. And supply of luxury houses does not help supply of family units. This isn't magic, there aren't infinite resources, and you will never reach a point of saturation so extreme that the supply of multi-million dollar luxury houses will be so great that the price becomes affordable to someone barely scraping by.

I agree you need to build more houses. But it must be low-cost family homes. The problem is, there's no incentive to build low cost homes in the private sector, and no capacity to in the public sector for aforementioned reasons. We need to address that fact.
  #74  
Old 05-04-2020, 05:22 PM
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It's a sad truth that even the best things have consequences that can be bad.

I think everyone would agree that civil rights and equality are good things. But one effect they had was allowing a lot of people who had previously been shut out of the job market by prejudice to compete for jobs which had previously been reserved for white men. And basic economics kicked in; when you doubled the pool of potential workers, you decreased their individual bargaining position. Employers knew this and were able to drive down wages.
I don't think they so much drove down wages as if it's some kind of mustache-twirling corporate evil-doing, as it's just a consequence of a LOT of marginally useful labor and not that many jobs.

Look at it this way... is there ANY able-bodied and not mentally-challenged adult you know of who can't handle flipping burgers at McDonalds? That's why they don't pay squat- if someone doesn't do a good job, gets too vocal, or otherwise makes themselves a pain in the ass for any reason, they can be replaced by literally ANYONE at that same wage.

Meanwhile, you can't just go find a chef anywhere; that takes culinary school, education and some demonstrated skill. So they command more money and/or better conditions than the McDonalds burger-flipper.

You see the labor prices fluctuate with the economy- low wage jobs WERE paying well above minimum around here, as people who could do better, were doing better. So they had to pay better to attract workers. I doubt that's going to continue though.
  #75  
Old 05-04-2020, 08:09 PM
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huge lol @ "working class landlord"
That's just willful ignorance in the digital age. The internet is chock-full of working class people that own rental property. Find out that some landlords are cops, order pickers at Amazon, or pizza delivery drivers doesn't fit your narrative.
  #76  
Old 05-04-2020, 09:08 PM
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That's just willful ignorance in the digital age. The internet is chock-full of working class people that own rental property. Find out that some landlords are cops, order pickers at Amazon, or pizza delivery drivers doesn't fit your narrative.
Cool, landlord is a parasitic role that leeches money off people for basically necessity while not providing any inherent service.

There's nothing wrong with charging a fee to clean and renovate a unit and facilitate transfer to a new party. There's nothing wrong with being a service that provides the option subscribe to keep people on retainer to perform maintenance. But those are jobs that could exist and don't need to be attached to sitting around and leeching money off people because they have the gall to want a place to live.

If all my rent is doing is paying your property taxes and mortgage then why the fuck do I even have the middle man? The whole dynamic of a landlord deciding if I'm allowed to live somewhere, charging me a deposit, and dictating what I can do with my home to preserve the value of "their" land is inherently parasitic and adds absolutely no value to society. Again, if the landlord goes over to fix the plumbing, then they're a plumber and can make money providing that service to a group of homes. If people don't want to worry about cleaning a unit or finding someone else to live there then it's reasonable to pay a service without the runaround of them keeping your security deposit in case you "ruin" "their" home, without directly paying them a fucking retainer while they skim off the top and pay what should be your own property taxes for you.

"Working class landlord" isn't nonsensical because there aren't people who have other professions that are generally working class who are also landlords, it's because landlordship is in itself not a fucking job and land ownership and rental places you in the rentier class by definition.

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I remembering listening to a whole Chapo Trap House episode about the 'housing crisis' because I was curious about the left-wing persective. They spent most of the time mocking both nimbys and yimbys, because of course, and at the very end they asked their guest, well what should we do. The answer was a bunch of blah-blah about supporting your local tenants union to fight eviction laws, etc. My take-away was that if there's no acknowledgement whatsoever that the core of the problem is a shortage of supply, there's no hope of getting a sensible prescription.

In short, I think this is a major blind spot of the left (and I mean the real left, not mainstream liberals): we need large banks to fund new construction, particularly in cities where construction projects usually mean multi-story buildings that need serious capital, but since banks are bad guys in their worldview, they don't want them to be an essential part of the solution. The way to square that circle is to pretend that there is no supply problem.
There is no supply problem because there is enough space to house everyone, but homes sit unfilled due to ballooned rent prices and rich people take up absurd amounts of space. This is directly in parallel to how we produce more than enough food to feed the world, but economic reasons prevent us from actually just getting everyone fed.

If you start from the premise that people need housing, then the problems suddenly become very easy to solve. For instance, converting giant mansions into cooperative housing (which is what plenty of, e.g., frat houses and such already are), or converting motels into permanent steady housing for the homeless. Places in the US already started doing this (at least wrt motels and such) during COVID because the rich people got so scared of the dirty poor and unhoused running around getting infected and spreading disease to their rich family, and played their hand that the only reason that these people do not have steady housing is basically because they didn't feel like it.

------------------

Anyway, I'm not really sure how I feel about the rent strike itself. Given how landlords react and how much of the law is on their side, I really don't know if this is really going to do anything other than make them mad. But if it hurts them boy I hope it really puts the landlords in a bind and makes them give major concessions. The ideal is outright dissolution of landlords in some areas instead replaced by common ownership or only allowing people to own a property they currently reside in (barring vacations), but that's not gonna happen. I'd settle for severe lowering of prices, restriction on evictions, and some form of rent control. Ideally also dissolution of rent (and mortgages and property taxes, anything that could cause someone to become homeless due to financial issues) for the duration of the COVID-related economic fallout.
  #77  
Old 05-04-2020, 10:44 PM
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Cool, landlord is a parasitic role that leeches money off people for basically necessity while not providing any inherent service.
Heh, yeah, you tell 'em. Wait, you're serious, aren't you?

This is ridiculous. You could make a fair case that land itself should not be ownable, and there are sane societies that are built on top of that principle. But no one really cares about the land anymore. This isn't 14th century France where everyone is renting a couple acres from the baron and trying to scrape out a living. What people rent is the improvement on the land - the structure and everything that comes with it. If I build that structure, I produced that value - I should be able to rent it out. If I commission someone else to build it, I produced the surplus value over what I paid the builders, and I should be able to rent it out. If I buy it from someone who did one of the above, I should be able to rent it out. Value is produced there. Livable buildings don't construct themselves, and they aren't built by 22 year-olds who just graduated college and need somewhere to live.

I rented for years before I bought a condo. I never once resented my landlord or felt like they were a parasite leeching off of me. I got what I wanted out of it - a functional place to live with no commitment beyond (what was usually) a twelve-month lease. That's a valuable service to a young man in a new city. I get that you can have bad landlords who game every inch of things to the tenant's detriment, and go ahead and condemn them. But to claim all landlords are parasites - not even close to true.

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There is no supply problem because there is enough space to house everyone, but homes sit unfilled due to ballooned rent prices and rich people take up absurd amounts of space.
Of course there's a supply problem. There's a lot more demand for housing, particularly in a small set of cities, than there are units available right now. And no one wants to negotiate with a bunch of small-minded socialists about how much space we get to take up. Look, if there was some fixed amount of housing on earth and some people were doing without, maybe this wouldn't be such a non-starter. But none of that's true. We can build more. Lots more. There are easy policy changes here. No need to try to run everyone's life for them. Sheesh, trying to dictate how much space everyone gets. [wanders off muttering..]
  #78  
Old 05-04-2020, 11:17 PM
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Cool, landlord is a parasitic role that leeches money off people for basically necessity while not providing any inherent service.
Am I being wooshed here? Is this a real opinion?

Landlords provide a great service: they allow people to live in homes that are way better than they'd otherwise be able to afford. Think about a recent college grad: they're just starting out in life; who knows where they'll end up living. Without landlords they'd only be able to afford a hovel; same with working-class families that are saving up for a down payment. Landlords also provide mobility; one of the problems in the Great Recession was that some home-owners (like in Las Vegas) were underwater and couldn't afford to move to where the jobs where. Renters didn't have this problem.

Landlords are not a product of land shortage. Roughly 25% of rural housing is rental (PDF) where land is relatively cheap.

Sure, there are bad landlords, just like there are bad renters, but calling them nothing but leeches shows a lack of understanding on how financing and the economy work.
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Old 05-04-2020, 11:41 PM
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Cool, landlord is a parasitic role that leeches money off people for basically necessity while not providing any inherent service.
This is nonsensical. That's like saying a farmer is providing you food (a basic necessity) but no inherent service, since you still have to cook dinner. It's the usual crypto-elitist toxic socialism of the privileged, where coffee beans should be free but a barista with a liberal arts degree should make $50k a year because she's adding value.
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Old 05-05-2020, 01:56 AM
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Okay, then I would like to see our healthcare system run in the same manner as our law enforcement system, our firefighting system, our public education system, and our highway system and have the profit motive in healthcare being the equivalent of the profit motive in those other public service systems I just mentioned.
I think yours is a reductio ad absurdem on smiling bandit's, but IIRC New York's City's early fire departments were private profit-making enterprises. When businesses were slow they drummed up customers by setting fires! Betsy DeVos is doing her best to eviscerate public schools so profits prevail in that domain. And Wars in the Middle East were justified by "Think of all the free oil we'll get!"

Be careful what you wish for.
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Old 05-05-2020, 02:52 AM
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Heh, yeah, you tell 'em. Wait, you're serious, aren't you?

This is ridiculous. You could make a fair case that land itself should not be ownable, and there are sane societies that are built on top of that principle. But no one really cares about the land anymore. This isn't 14th century France where everyone is renting a couple acres from the baron and trying to scrape out a living. What people rent is the improvement on the land - the structure and everything that comes with it. If I build that structure, I produced that value - I should be able to rent it out. If I commission someone else to build it, I produced the surplus value over what I paid the builders, and I should be able to rent it out. If I buy it from someone who did one of the above, I should be able to rent it out. Value is produced there. Livable buildings don't construct themselves, and they aren't built by 22 year-olds who just graduated college and need somewhere to live.

I rented for years before I bought a condo. I never once resented my landlord or felt like they were a parasite leeching off of me. I got what I wanted out of it - a functional place to live with no commitment beyond (what was usually) a twelve-month lease. That's a valuable service to a young man in a new city. I get that you can have bad landlords who game every inch of things to the tenant's detriment, and go ahead and condemn them. But to claim all landlords are parasites - not even close to true.
I totally agree that if you build some place it's reasonable to rent it out until the people who built it have recouped costs (throw in a small profit if you must). A rent-to-own scheme is not what's at issue here. But how many honest to goodness rent-to-own apartments and houses do you think people actually encounter? They're very rare. Sure, occasionally someone who rents a place for 10 straight years will buy the place off the landlord, and sometimes at a substantially discounted rate, but as a rule rental land is designed to be rented in perpetuity far past the actual value-added improvements to the lot.

And no, I don't think any land should be privately owned (perhaps publicly protected, such as nature preserves and such, but no private ownership of the land itself).

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Landlords provide a great service: they allow people to live in homes that are way better than they'd otherwise be able to afford. Think about a recent college grad: they're just starting out in life; who knows where they'll end up living. Without landlords they'd only be able to afford a hovel; same with working-class families that are saving up for a down payment. Landlords also provide mobility; one of the problems in the Great Recession was that some home-owners (like in Las Vegas) were underwater and couldn't afford to move to where the jobs where. Renters didn't have this problem.
And yet this wouldn't be a problem if we dealt away with ideas such as "for some reason you must spend money to live with a roof over your head." When I say "landlords are parasitic" I'm not saying everyone should be dropping fat downpayments on homes and taking mortgages. I'm saying peoples housing needs should be met, full stop, and nobody should be risking homelessness because they don't have a job.

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Landlords are not a product of land shortage. Roughly 25% of rural housing is rental (PDF) where land is relatively cheap.
When did I say that? I said almost the opposite: we have plenty of housing available, landlords and people who hang onto their empty homes because they've yet to find a "good" price, and people upselling and flipping homes to gentrify areas are creating (not a product of) a completely artificial shortage that causes people to not have homes, despite more than enough actual dwellings being available.

If you want statistics, in 2010 there were about 6 homes per homeless person. I highly doubt the number has gotten much better. And yes this isn't a perfect metric, I'm sure there are some homes where nobody needs one, and maybe a couple areas where no homes physically exist where there are people, but by and large there are a huge number of places for homeless people to live if we didn't expect them to come up with cast, a security deposit, and a guarantee they can support their rent in perpetuity just to get a place to live.

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Originally Posted by epbrown01 View Post
This is nonsensical. That's like saying a farmer is providing you food (a basic necessity) but no inherent service, since you still have to cook dinner. It's the usual crypto-elitist toxic socialism of the privileged, where coffee beans should be free but a barista with a liberal arts degree should make $50k a year because she's adding value.
Like I said above, I have no issue with rent-to-own schemes where the people (carpenters, electricians) etc rent out a unit until their costs are met (again, add a small profit if needed). That's adding actual value. Likewise, food requires significant labor to produce in terms of growth, resources, etc and it's reasonable to have a cost associated with it.

Now, if you want my hardcore unrealistic opinions: I think most work is a spook, and COVID itself has proven the economy is largely illusory anyway and we could get away with orders of magnitude less work than our society actually demands. Most jobs are not in any way essential to our survival (I recognize that "essential services" open now are not all that's needed to keep society running on their own, but that line is far closer to what's operating now than the jobs that exist during normal operations), and given nothing else to do humans will happily pursue endeavors that are of benefit to humanity. Entertainment, science, software, art, clothesmaking, whatever will all be produced without the spook that is money being required to live a decent life, so I don't particularly see a need to keep up this farce that you need to make up some positions just to justify giving someone a home and food. And the more advanced our science gets (crop science, materials science, automation, whatever) the more of a farce it becomes to require everyone to have money to live a comfortable life.

The fact of the matter is, yes there are some people who have to work: farmers, distribution chains, people who make buildings or tools necessary for production etc. But that number is far, far smaller than the number of people who work. And it's not noble to force everyone to work to survive just because some small amount of labor is necessary to live. That doesn't mean I vote to make some small number of "essential" service workers slaves, it means I think there are alternate routes towards making sure our needs as a society are met without maintaining some bizarre system that requires people to do what amounts to busywork to justify their existence on the planet.

Last edited by Jragon; 05-05-2020 at 02:57 AM.
  #82  
Old 05-05-2020, 03:53 AM
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I think most work is a spook, and COVID itself has proven the economy is largely illusory anyway and we could get away with orders of magnitude less work than our society actually demands.
given nothing else to do, humans will happily pursue endeavors that are of benefit to humanity.

yes there are some people who have to work: farmers, distribution chains, people who make buildings or tools necessary for production etc. But that number is far, far smaller than the number of people who work.
As long as we're going way off topic, may I ask: how old are you? And how naive?
You do realize that you are posting on the internet, which costs money? So you are using other people's "useless" labor:web developers,search engine optimizers, and mostly--the advertisers who post ads for all kinds of stuff which nobody needs,but which is produced by workers doing all that useless work you abhor. But that's what pays for it all, so you and I can keep on chatting here..

And of course, there are those terrible landlords who rent the office space and computers to whoever currently operates this site for the benefit of humanity.
  #83  
Old 05-05-2020, 06:41 AM
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It's all about perceived worth. This crisis has shown that the people we have made fabulously rich and upon whom we shower so much admiration and awe are, in reality, totally unnecessary to our daily human existence as individuals and as a society as a whole. In fact, they are pretty much useless. "Non-essentials", I believe, is the proper term. The people who matter the most and who have kept our society running at no mean risk to their personal safety are the ones we underpay and devalue. Yet, we give the former huge tax breaks and endless legal and social indulgence. Until our attitudes as a society change, no "movement" stands a snow ball's chance in hell of being successful.
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  #84  
Old 05-05-2020, 07:36 AM
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It's all about perceived worth. This crisis has shown that the people we have made fabulously rich and upon whom we shower so much admiration and awe are, in reality, totally unnecessary to our daily human existence as individuals and as a society as a whole. In fact, they are pretty much useless. "Non-essentials", I believe, is the proper term. The people who matter the most and who have kept our society running at no mean risk to their personal safety are the ones we underpay and devalue. Yet, we give the former huge tax breaks and endless legal and social indulgence. Until our attitudes as a society change, no "movement" stands a snow ball's chance in hell of being successful.
I wouldn't go quite to that extreme. The Jeff Bezos' and even the dirty, rotten hedge fund manager are useful and beneficial -- up to a point. We benefit from their innovations and their improvements to efficiency if nothing else.

What I object to is the notion that they're hundreds of times more valuable than the rest of us and that they get to live by a different set of rules. Yes, the creation of an idea and a product that we can all reap rewards from should reward its proprietors handsomely. But what we don't want is for those rewards to turn into anti-competitive leverage. And there's a very easy way to tell if they've already got that kind of leverage: just look at wealth and income inequality, and we can see that they do.

Up to a point, the billionaire class literally profits when the working class declines. That is something that is simply untenable in the long term. I see the rent strike as a shot across the bow, a first wake up call. People have a natural built-in 'fairness meter,' and there will come a point when they've had enough.

On the flip side, the typical reaction of the elite class is to seek greater means of control and suppression to enforce their inequality - through violent suppression if necessary. Why do you think Republicans want to suppress the vote? Why are they essentially winking and nodding at Russian interference?
  #85  
Old 05-05-2020, 07:40 AM
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It's all about perceived worth. This crisis has shown that the people we have made fabulously rich and upon whom we shower so much admiration and awe are, in reality, totally unnecessary to our daily human existence as individuals and as a society as a whole. In fact, they are pretty much useless. "Non-essentials", I believe, is the proper term. The people who matter the most and who have kept our society running at no mean risk to their personal safety are the ones we underpay and devalue. Yet, we give the former huge tax breaks and endless legal and social indulgence. Until our attitudes as a society change, no "movement" stands a snow ball's chance in hell of being successful.
Ok, I've seen this repeated elsewhere and I just don't understand what you're talking about. There are currently three tiers of jobs in society. We've got the people you're calling essentials, I think, who have jobs that must be done in person and are necessary to keep society functioning, we've got people who's jobs are essential to keep society functioning but can be done from home, and we've the people you've termed pretty much useless who's jobs are not essential and must be done in person. Somehow you seem to be conflating the third group with the fabulously weathly and think we shower them with awe and affection. From what I can see that third group is waiters, hairdressers, tattoo artists, bartenders, and people in the travel and hospitality industry none of those groups fit either of those criteria in my mind.

If feels like you are ranting about the second group that includes everyone from multibillionaire hedge fund managers to teachers who are all working from home keeping our economy limping along at 80%. I'm in this group too, probably one of the people you think you're ranting about, I'm an executive at a company making hand sanitizer and I've been working 60-80 hour weeks for the last 6 weeks trying to get more sanitizer to first responders my billionaire boss has put in more hours than me every single week and I can just feel you're talking about him but I have no idea what you're trying to say.

As far as how this ties into the rent strike, I'm not certain, maybe when you explain who you're talking about and what they've done you can tie it together. Its probably less crazy than the government owning all property and giving 99 year leases to people at the cost of the construction.
  #86  
Old 05-05-2020, 07:58 AM
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I think yours is a reductio ad absurdem on smiling bandit's, but IIRC New York's City's early fire departments were private profit-making enterprises. When businesses were slow they drummed up customers by setting fires! Betsy DeVos is doing her best to eviscerate public schools so profits prevail in that domain. And Wars in the Middle East were justified by "Think of all the free oil we'll get!"

Be careful what you wish for.
How does my writing that I would prefer healthcare be run by a government agency with no profit motive indicate I'm wishing for the privatization of schools and firefighting? And something about the Middle East?
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Old 05-05-2020, 08:36 AM
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Anyone that thinks the government owning the housing instead of private landlords is a good idea should take a look at Cabrini Green, Soviet block flats, or even English council estates. I'll take my single family detached house in the suburbs, thank you.
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Old 05-05-2020, 09:21 AM
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It's all about perceived worth. This crisis has shown that the people we have made fabulously rich and upon whom we shower so much admiration and awe are, in reality, totally unnecessary to our daily human existence as individuals and as a society as a whole. In fact, they are pretty much useless. "Non-essentials", I believe, is the proper term. The people who matter the most and who have kept our society running at no mean risk to their personal safety are the ones we underpay and devalue. Yet, we give the former huge tax breaks and endless legal and social indulgence. Until our attitudes as a society change, no "movement" stands a snow ball's chance in hell of being successful.
It is about marginal utility. Diamonds are not necessary to life at all but you would die an agonizing death without water for three days. Yet despite this a diamond ring is worth more than a bottle of water. This is because water is abundant and diamond rings are relatively scarce.

Basketball players are not vital for any society and farmers are, yet basketball players are paid more than farmers. This is because the best basketball players are more rare than farmers. People who can organize groups of other people to perform useful functions are rare and therefore highly paid. Grocery clerks and truck drivers perform valuable jobs but their skills are not rare.
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Old 05-05-2020, 09:30 AM
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What I object to is the notion that they're hundreds of times more valuable than the rest of us and that they get to live by a different set of rules. Yes, the creation of an idea and a product that we can all reap rewards from should reward its proprietors handsomely. But what we don't want is for those rewards to turn into anti-competitive leverage. And there's a very easy way to tell if they've already got that kind of leverage: just look at wealth and income inequality, and we can see that they do.
This makes no sense. Different businesses create different potential reward. If I have the skills to make a good neighborhood sandwich restaurant, it might make me a millionaire. If I have the skills to create a global software company it might make me a billionaire. That does not imply that there are different rules or that those in the second business are acting anti competitively.

The nature of the business is that the customers of the sandwich shop are restricted to those willing to drive to my neighborhood for food, and the customers of the software company is every in the world with a computer. Technology has made it easier for some types of companies to have many more customers than other types. This means more inequality.
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Old 05-05-2020, 09:49 AM
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I'm more than a bit baffled by this idea for landlords do nothing and all sit on fat stacks of cash while they're lowly peasant renters starve.

I'm happy to rent right now, because I'm in no position to own my own home. Someday, yes, I will. But for now, I'm happy to pay a fairly low (for my area) amount of rent and never have to care about snow removal, lawn care, upkeep costs for the apartment, property tax, trash removal, water, the list goes on. And they did make an effort to help people who lost their jobs, although they aren't in any more position to go rent-free than I am in a position to go pay-free for the sake of my employer. What do you think allows them to perform everything I listed earlier?

Sure, you have landlords that was shitty people. Just like you have shitty retail managers, restaurant managers, movie theater managers, etc. That isn't exactly new information to anyone. It's a fact of life.
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Old 05-05-2020, 11:39 AM
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Anyone that thinks the government owning the housing instead of private landlords is a good idea should take a look at Cabrini Green, Soviet block flats, or even English council estates. I'll take my single family detached house in the suburbs, thank you.
Of course you would prefer a nice house in the suburbs. Most people would.

But we're talking about urban housing projects for low income people. I think it's an open question whether the government can do as good a job in providing that as private business can.

There's no question that we could find examples of privately owned rental properties that every bit as bad as the ones you mentioned.
  #92  
Old 05-05-2020, 11:48 AM
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Cool, landlord is a parasitic role that leeches money off people for basically necessity while not providing any inherent service.

There's nothing wrong with charging a fee to clean and renovate a unit and facilitate transfer to a new party. There's nothing wrong with being a service that provides the option subscribe to keep people on retainer to perform maintenance. But those are jobs that could exist and don't need to be attached to sitting around and leeching money off people because they have the gall to want a place to live.

If all my rent is doing is paying your property taxes and mortgage then why the fuck do I even have the middle man? The whole dynamic of a landlord deciding if I'm allowed to live somewhere, charging me a deposit, and dictating what I can do with my home to preserve the value of "their" land is inherently parasitic and adds absolutely no value to society. Again, if the landlord goes over to fix the plumbing, then they're a plumber and can make money providing that service to a group of homes. If people don't want to worry about cleaning a unit or finding someone else to live there then it's reasonable to pay a service without the runaround of them keeping your security deposit in case you "ruin" "their" home, without directly paying them a fucking retainer while they skim off the top and pay what should be your own property taxes for you.

"Working class landlord" isn't nonsensical because there aren't people who have other professions that are generally working class who are also landlords, it's because landlordship is in itself not a fucking job and land ownership and rental places you in the rentier class by definition.



There is no supply problem because there is enough space to house everyone, but homes sit unfilled due to ballooned rent prices and rich people take up absurd amounts of space. This is directly in parallel to how we produce more than enough food to feed the world, but economic reasons prevent us from actually just getting everyone fed.

If you start from the premise that people need housing, then the problems suddenly become very easy to solve. For instance, converting giant mansions into cooperative housing (which is what plenty of, e.g., frat houses and such already are), or converting motels into permanent steady housing for the homeless. Places in the US already started doing this (at least wrt motels and such) during COVID because the rich people got so scared of the dirty poor and unhoused running around getting infected and spreading disease to their rich family, and played their hand that the only reason that these people do not have steady housing is basically because they didn't feel like it.

------------------

Anyway, I'm not really sure how I feel about the rent strike itself. Given how landlords react and how much of the law is on their side, I really don't know if this is really going to do anything other than make them mad. But if it hurts them boy I hope it really puts the landlords in a bind and makes them give major concessions. The ideal is outright dissolution of landlords in some areas instead replaced by common ownership or only allowing people to own a property they currently reside in (barring vacations), but that's not gonna happen. I'd settle for severe lowering of prices, restriction on evictions, and some form of rent control. Ideally also dissolution of rent (and mortgages and property taxes, anything that could cause someone to become homeless due to financial issues) for the duration of the COVID-related economic fallout.
Agreed, get rid of any and all rental units in the US. You can either afford the house (and have the good standing credit to get one) or GTFO!
  #93  
Old 05-05-2020, 06:34 PM
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How does my writing that I would prefer healthcare be run by a government agency with no profit motive indicate I'm wishing for the privatization of schools and firefighting? And something about the Middle East?
As my first clause ("I think yours is a reductio ad absurdem on smiling bandit's") implied, I didn't misunderstand your post. I discerned a tongue-in-cheek Nemo, and chose to answer that Nemo to make my own point, in support of yours.
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