Is rent control about protecting the working poor and lower middle class from homelessness?

The average household income in the United States is $30,000 per year. Yet tenants in New York City are entitled to rent protection even if their income is as much as $250,000 per year.

Most Americans know how markets work — you make a deal when the seller and the buyer agree on a price. But that’s not the way it works in the Rotten Apple, where landlords operate under a byzantine web of restrictions. The current rent control laws are due to expire on June 15. Now every demagogue who’s ever promised something for nothing is joining in the chorus of cheers for a system that has been plagued by corruption and abuse since it was implemented.

Governor George Pataki has weighed in with a proposal that would decrease the income limit to $175,000, but with no limit for the elderly or the handicapped. So if you’re a retired New York City financier with an income of a million dollars a year, you’re still entitled to a subsidy from your landlord. Pataki said that his proposal “will insure that every middle class tenant has the right to remain in their apartment for the rest of their lives.”

What planet are these guys living on that they think that an income of 175 thou a year constitutes middle class?

Pataki’s plan was not enough for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who thinks that even those who make more than 175 grand need “protection.” Silver called the plan “simply unrealistic in today’s economy.”

Even Cardinal O’Connor got into the act, calling housing a “human right.” We’re amazed that in a city with as much need for spiritual and moral assistance as Gotham, the Cardinal still found time to do all the background reading necessary to understand the effects of rent-control.

In addition to affordable housing, Cardinal O’Connor also described food, health care, and education as “human rights.” He didn’t mention which humans were required to provide them.

(Source: New York Daily News.)

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