Prediction For 2030: Can We Stop The Government Take Over Of Rental Housing?
(This is Part 3 and the Final Article in a Series)
By Roger Valdez
After years of working on housing policy, I have found myself frequently referring to Virgil’s Aeneid, the story of the journey of Aeneas from Troy to Italy where he would be the founder of Rome. Like many epics – the Pentateuch, the Mahabharata, or Gilgamesh – the plot is riveting, but so are the images that become cultural touchstones. The Trojan Horse is one of these. Barbara Tuchman dedicated an entire chapter of her book, March of Folly, to the horse as an emblem of humanity’s addiction “to pursuing policy contrary to self-interest.” The government takeover of housing would be just such a policy. But how do we stop the wheeling of this Trojan Horse into the center of our economy?
I’m not going to argue against the notion that housing should be de-commodified and controlled by the state other than to say that even in such a world, without an absolute, stable, and perpetual equilibrium between supply of housing units and demand for them, high prices would simply be replaced with rationing and long waits for “free” housing. This seems to be enough. Except that, as I’ve pointed out before, the desire to seize private housing isn’t about housing at all, but political power.