Poor Need Much More Housing, Not Protection From Eviction

Chris Powell

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Many elected officials make a living by causing problems and then purporting to solve them. So it is with the Eviction Protection Act recently re-introduced in Congress by Connecticut U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District. 

The legislation would have the federal government offer financial grants to state governments that provide lawyers to represent low-income people facing eviction from their apartments, as Connecticut and several other states do.

The proposal implies that the country’s housing problem is largely a matter of unscrupulous landlords gouging innocent tenants. But the housing disaster results mostly from the dislocations to the economy caused by government’s excessive restrictions during the recent virus epidemic; and then the money created and distributed by government to compensate for lost income; and then the money created and distributed by government to pay for the explosion of all kinds of spending under the Trump and Biden administrations — money created far out of proportion to the economy’s actual production.

These policies have devastated the poor — cutting their incomes through restrictions on commerce and again through inflation, which is far higher than the heavily manipulated official figures. Meanwhile inflation also has sharply increased the expenses of landlords. They pay more for nearly everything required to maintain their property, and their extra costs are passed along to tenants via rents.

The legislation for federal grants for state eviction-protection agencies identifies no source of funding for them. For financing for the whole federal government now is based largely on money creation — that is, on inflation. 

For Congress has fallen in love with a school of economic thought called Modern Monetary Theory, which is built on the truism that government can create money without levying taxes and that any government that can create money can never go broke. But Congress has ignored the remainder of Modern Monetary Theory — that the danger of money creation is not bankruptcy but currency devaluation. This devaluation — inflation — already become oppressive.

Then there is the problem of insufficient housing construction, especially construction of less expensive, multi-family housing. More than lawyers to delay their eviction, the poor need greater housing supply. But nearly everyone who already has housing doesn’t want more housing in his neighborhood, and nearly everyone who owns his housing has a selfish financial interest in perpetuating housing scarcity.

That’s why Representative DeLauro has not proposed legislation requiring or facilitating construction of multi-family housing in the comfortable suburbs of her district, like Woodbridge, Orange, Bethany, Guilford, and Durham.. It’s so much safer politically for her to pretend that the housing problem is unscrupulous landlords. 

Like most members of Congress, DeLauro is confident that few voters will ever learn that inflation is not like the weather, not an act of God, but an act of those who go to Congress and pose as protectors of the working class.

COMMUNISM IN CONNECTICUT: The Yankee Institute reports that some Democratic state legislators played footsie again the other day with Connecticut’s Communist Party, attending or sending greetings to the party’s Amistad Awards ceremony, which honored state Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, state employee union leader Stacie Harris-Byrdsong, and immigrant rights advocate Luis Luna. The award winners also received congratulatory citations from the General Assembly.

Connecticut’s Communist Party is no threat to national security. It has few members and little presence outside New Haven’s nutty politics, and Communist parties abroad now are mainly ordinary totalitarians and crony capitalists, not revolutionaries. But communism’s record remains one of mass oppression and murder. Why should anyone help celebrate that?

Yet while they are paling around with Communists, Connecticut Democrats are calling Connecticut Republicans extremist for supporting or tolerating Donald Trump.

The program book for the Amistad Awards ceremony was full of advertisements from government employee unions, including the American Federation of Teachers, the New Haven Federation of Teachers, and the University of Connecticut chapter of the American Association of University Professors. Apparently with the unions there can be no enemies on the left, no matter how bloody their hands throughout history.     

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Chris Powell has written about Connecticut government and politics for many years. (CPowell@cox.net)