Sunday, March 27, 2011

RENT SEEKING. Nicole Gelinas is still beating the drum for an end to rent stabilization in New York, but now she has a new angle -- stabilization advocates should give up because anti-stabilization has already won:
If you look at how much government-protected tenants pay, they’re not getting a break. Sixty-two percent of “rent-stabilized” households paid between $800 and $1,750 monthly in 2008. But 56.8% of vacant non-regulated apartments rented in the same range.

Man bites dog: What the pols and the market have done worked.

Former Gov. George Pataki allowed vacant apartments to escape regulation above $2,000, so between 1994 and 2009, nearly 100,000 units have become unregulated — spurring landlords to invest and compete for tenants. Government bureaucrats have been reasonable about allowing landlords to raise the rent on “stabilized” units, and landlords have maintained them better.

New York has what the pols have long said was their goal: a healthy market...

If the rules expired (with some exceptions for the elderly and poor), chances are things would remain much as they are today.
That is, the apartments still cost an arm and a leg to rent -- and you're much less likely to luck into a deal than you used to be -- but every so often your landlord might re-grout your shower tiles. Thanx, free market! You're every bit the miracle we expected.

So why is she even talking? I thought at first she just wanted to gloat at the rent-poor peons (this is a person, after all, who thinks New Yorkers don't pay enough to ride the subway). But it soon became clear she's in it for the class war:
New Yorkers have gotten tired of people who’ve gotten cheap apartments because of connections or luck...
No poll data cited, of course. This is conservative boilerplate on the order of their anti-union propaganda -- it's based the notion that, if someone else is getting a break, citizens ought to feel resentful and punitive, instead of asking why the system can't be fixed so that they could get similar breaks for themselves. Don't ask for more, in other words -- only ask that others get less.

And in case you were tempted to take her seriously:
In “mixed income” buildings, one person can pay $3,000 a month for a one-bedroom while the person down the hall pays $1,200, not because of appreciable differences in income but because of chance. If the market was allowed to do its job, that $1,200 may go up — but that $3,000 would also likely go down.
Does anyone on God's green earth believe that a landlord getting $3,000 a month in New York City is going to lower the rent, ever? Only if the city collapses -- which a few more years of this bullshit might accomplish.


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