Rent control produces dismal results for renters and cities
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While I find myself largely in agreement with the June 26 Sun-Times editorial “Chicago has to push more affordable housing across the whole city,” I would like to emphasize one additional point of importance.
Some view the policy of rent control as a helpful tool in the noble cause of creating affordable housing, but history has proven exactly what the vast majority of economists have predicted: Rent control policies do not produce their intended results.
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There are four universal facts of rent control that should be considered, 1) Supply of affordable housing decreases due to diminished investment and condo conversions, 2) The quality of affordable housing decreases due to arbitrary price caps, 3) Property values erode causing the tax base to shrink, and 4) Systemic abuse occurs by unqualified applicants.
Your editorial references San Francisco’s dilemma, and in fact, 2017 research of San Francisco’s rent controlled market conducted by Stanford University found that rent control reduced the rental supply by 6 percent, while causing an additional 7 percent increase in rental prices above market growth. Those dismal results are the opposite of what Chicago needs.
Michael Mini, executive vice president, Chicagoland Apartment Association
Say no to march
I am at a loss to understand why the Chicago Police Department and the Illinois State Police just can’t say “No” to the proposed protest march on the Dan Ryan Expy. It’s an expressway, not a park. The protest on the Ryan will only inconvenience thousands of holiday travelers, and do absolutely nothing to stem the violence in our city. In fact, the shootings might increase because of the hundreds of cops that will be taken from the neighborhoods to guard the protesters.
Mike Kirchberg, Little Italy
I notice that after any article that alludes to a labor issue, there is a “disclosure note” stating that “Some unions have ownership stakes in Sun-Times Media.” Commendable honesty!
It’s too bad the rest of the mass media — controlled by bankers, hedge fund managers, high-tech tycoons and other members of the corporate elite — is under no such obligation to disclose ownership when discussing economic and political issues.
Which means that readers and viewers have to mentally add a disclaimer statement to almost everything they read, see and hear. Something like, “Some billionaires have ownership stakes in this media property. Just think about that, OK?”
Hugh Iglarsh, Skokie
Where is the justice
Last week, the Sun-Times published a short story noting that the Federal Reserve has given a green light to 32 of the 35 largest U.S. banks to raise their dividends and to buy back their shares because they are financially well off. Isn’t it nice that the shareholders of the big banks, the ones bailed out by the taxpayers after the 2007 financial crisis because they were “too big to fail,” are now going to reap more dividends? And that the executives, who are rewarded based upon the price of the stock, will have their compensation boosted by stock buy-backs?
What of the millions of mortgage holders who lost their houses or are still “under water”? What of the non-existent prosecution of the bank and investment bank officers who clearly caused the crisis by creating billions of dollars of worthless securities based on of toxic assets? What of the Congress which was bought by the banking industry so it would relax the regulatory standards enacted after the Great Depression and again after the financial crisis has faded?
Where is the justice when the banking system pays off the Congress to allow it to enrich its executives, directors and shareholders while continuing to pay virtually nothing to account holders in interest. When will the voters start to penalize politicians who continue to put their fundraising interests ahead of the interests of their constituents? Who will stand up for the rights and interests of the middle and working classes?
Ed Bryant, Evanston
Only two masters
Let’s face it, the GOP faces a really hard clog; after all, it serves only two masters, corporations and millionaires and billionaires. Not many votes there. So, how do they manage to win so often?
Money. This has always greased politics, but it’s not enough. So they have reached out to factions who hate: hate abortion; hate blacks; hate Hispanics; hate Muslims; hate “other.” Hate is very powerful; it can get millions of people to vote against their own self-interest, over and over and over again.
But the GOP is running out of hate voters, so they are resorting to their second strategy: cheat. All you need to do is:
1. Make GOP votes count for more than Democratic votes, a la gerrymandering.
2. Keep registered Democrats from voting, ala Voter ID.
3. Remove Democratic voters from the voting rolls, a la Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, the Ohio “Inactive” means moved Voter Purge process.
Now these are all violations of respect for the rule of law since they violate the principle of the Constitution’s one person, one vote rule, but never mind. The GOP-controlled Supreme Court backstops their every action: opening the floodgates of money through its Citizens United ruling; approving Voter ID programs; refusing to overturn or, in the case of Texas, approving gerrymandered redistricting; upholding the fallacious Ohio purge. Cheat — cheat — cheat. And we can’t even trust the Supreme Court to stop it.
Lee Knohl, Evanston