Skip to comments.CA: P.T. Barnum Democrats. Left frets over gov't-caused housing costs, demands more government.
Posted on 08/14/2006 8:18:40 AM PDT by John Jorsett
About a month ago, playing off her husbands presidential campaign slogan, Senator Huller Clinton said, Its the American dream, stupid, implying that Democrats should focus on making sure people can buy a home the American dream.
Immediately, legislative Democrats began trying to find ideas that would expand government under the guise of providing affordable housing. Two hit the floor of the Legislature this week. SB 521 (Sen. Tom Torlakson) would allow Contra Costa County to assess an extra $1 per page on the recording of documents for real estate transactions. The rationalization for this tax increase is that it would provide seed money for affordable housing in Contra Costa County.
SB 1432 (Sen. Lowenthal) would allow the use of the so-called Mello-Roos districts to assess fees on existing houses. But of course all that moves Sen. Lowenthal in proposing this tax increase is his desire to provide incentives for lower income housing.
Torlaksons SB 521, expected to take a mere $2 million per year, evidently shot too low. It failed on the floor, while Lowenthals SB 1432, promising a serious tax hit on California homeowners (without a vote) amounting to untold millions, passed.
These bills again demonstrate the lefts duplicity. They ignore the Democrat-imposed actual causes of hard-to-afford housing and, in fact, make matters worse for ordinary people by loading onto their shoulders yet more burdensome taxes and fees. The attitude in our Legislature is, well, if the suckers will let us keep doing it, why not?
For anyone actually interested in the problem of high-priced housing and the American Dream, a little historical context: in 1972, Neil Diamond wrote I am, I said, which starts out commenting on the weather, the flora, and low housing prices in Los Angeles. In fact, 80 percent of the people in California could afford a median-priced home in 1974.
Then Jerry Brown became governor. In 1970, apartment owners in Los Angeles were offering free televisions to potential renters. In the next six years, the environuts running as Democrats took over the reins of California government. Through a series of changes in laws, regulations, and tax assessments, they significantly reduced Californias supply of houses and apartments.
As any economist or even any relatively bright high school student knows, reducing supply (unless demand also drops in proportion) raises prices. By 1980, housing prices and rental rates had skyrocketed, so much so that the Los Angeles City Council had imposed rent control and voters enacted Prop. 13.
The Democrat-imposed straight-jacket on the housing market remains, and has grown tighter, so that today only 17 percent of the people can afford a median priced home. Now even Huller has discovered that the American Dream is threatened, and her Democrat colleagues propose surprise! more government, more burdens on the people as solution.
I understand that people dont like growth, but people have to live somewhere. Freeways can be unpleasant, noisy, smelly things that break-up nice views and create barriers we must go around. But people have to move around. Life happens: neighborhoods change, job opportunities move, a million influences work daily in all our lives altering our circumstances, our alternatives, calling for flexibility and diversity of action in response.
Democrats talk about diversity, but seem shocked when anybody actually tries to show any. Their policy prescriptions, to the extent they go beyond mere demands to increase their power to control people, consist almost exclusively of hemming us in, eliminating flexibility, closing down creative responses to a changing world, as if the changes could be stopped by commanding people to stop responding to them. Pretty soon, things stop working, then they present themselves as the generous benefactors who will help us now that they have taken from us our ability to help ourselves.
In 1980, the environuts enacted a no-growth initiative in Riverside. It stopped growth there by causing an explosion of growth in more outlying areas. It forced people, who had to have a place to live, to drive further to work. That brought rising traffic congestion and air pollution. Democrats who want an idea why housing is so costly might remember that average new home prices include more than $75,000 in government fees, imposed before anyone turns a shovel. As Milton Friedman once said, If you want less of something, tax it.
SB 521 and 1432 tax housing, which will further decrease supply, making homes that are built and that already exist more expensive. These taxes to provide low income housing will be counter-productive. The question is: how long will Californians let Democrats treat them like suckers?
Hearing her labeled 'Huller' is a new one on me. Is this to suggest she's a peanut-farmer between the ears?
Of all the things I would interpret her to be, dim is probably last on the list.
The only question is whether the finale will be an explicit suspension (possibly due to a "fiscal emergency") or a de facto suspension due to "parcel taxes", this Mello-Roos end-run, et al, slowly and quietly bringing property tax values back to pre-Prop-13 levels without boiling the frog.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, the combination of businesses and high-income would-be taxpayers leaving the state and low-income illegals moving in makes the state increasingly dependent on homeowners as a captive taxable entity.
It's wonderful. All those involved in real estate create feeding frenzies to raise the price of housing to unaffordable, then cry over those without.
(Go Israel, Go! Slap 'Em Down Hezbullies.)
Dems will do all they can (through taxes, laws, permits and judicial action) to PREVENT the American Dream and then offer government to ENFORCE a solution.
Look, if you can't afford a house, you should save until you are able to afford one - or move to another political jurisdiction where housing is more affordable(if owning your own home is a major life goal).
Devising more government schemes to help "make housing more affordable" never works. The market works.
True, but they didn't do this in isolation. Californians for the most part wanted to pull up the drawbridge and keep all of those "other people" out. But these tactics didn't even slow the newcomers down - they just jacked the prices of low-to-moderate quality real estate up to ridiculous levels.
"...they just jacked the prices of low-to-moderate quality real estate up to ridiculous levels."
Then they take their profits and "invest" in the rest of the country. Sort of reminds me of "Manifest Destiny", ruining the lives of others for personal gain.
"The attitude in our Legislature is, well, if the suckers will let us keep doing it, why not? "
My future wife and I purchased a home in Bakersfield, CA. We will eventually purchase another home along with investing. In the end, we will probably move out of CA due to the fiscal insanity of CA. I'm beginning to think Idaho just might be the place to retire.