Thursday, December 13, 2018

Got a Housing Crisis? Start a New Bureaucratic Agency with Taxing Authority

Since 2010, the San Francisco Bay Area has added 722,000 jobs but only106,000 housing units.

Bay Area mayors, other government officials and assorted cronies have come up with the ultimate in an absurd plan to "fix" the problem.

A panel of mayors, developers and transit officials has an aggressive plan to stanch the Bay Area’s housing crisis by combining a regional rent cap, new property taxes, laws against arbitrary evictions and loose zoning near transit centers, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

The group, named the Committee to House the Bay Area but called CASA, also recommends creating a new agency with taxing authority to implement region-wide housing solutions.

This is a list of almost everything you shouldn't do to alleviate a housing crisis.

Rent controls and eviction controls eliminate incentive to build and to rent. It does the opposite of what you want to do: create more rental housing.

New property taxes have nothing to do with sound housing development. It is just a revenue generator for a bureaucracy and will ultimately result in further limitations and distortions in the real estate market that will benefit cronies. Free markets can get housing built if free markets are allowed to operate.

Government agency "housing solutions" are what the Nobel Prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek called a fatal conceit, the idea that central planners can more efficiently solve problems in a complex society than via unregulated free exchange.

The one positive in the plan is to loosen zoning regulations near transit zones. But if it is recognized that zoning regulations hamper development, why not eliminate them from the region entirely?



  1. The 'loose' zoning around transit centers comes from the anti-private automobile new urbanists and other agenda 21/2030 promoters and activists. What they desire is to have people living in a high density arrangement dependent on transit to go further than a small walking radius.

    Generally speaking (SF may take a different form) the 'loose' zoning primarily takes away the requirements for private off street parking and the elimination of open to all street parking. Chicago has such a system of 'loose' zoning around L stations and it is entirely centered around parking of automobiles. The developers are free (often politically forced) to have their developments near transit have very little to no off street parking. The area is either already or is put under residential parking permit zones and the residents of the new developments are automatically barred from obtaining parking permits. Basically anyone in the new developments cannot have a private automobile at that residence nor can anyone visit their residence when traveling by automobile as there is no legal place for them to park nearby.

  2. In my conspiratorial mind, who owns the property and who develops under the new zoning rules and who did they pay off?