Two truisms at play in this story:
- If someone has to mandate your equal outcome [*], then you probably really aren’t equal.
- Economics 101: Forcing people to pay more or less for a good or service than they naturally would will distort the market. Force the price up, and you’ll get a black market. Force the price down, and you’ll get less of the good or service.
With that in mind, see if you can see both currents in this piece, about developers in NYC and their reaction to being forced (as a condition of a bailout) to include “Market-Rate rentals” which are, in fact, well below the market rate.
A Queens luxury tower that was bailed out by the city is blocking the large terraces of a few affordable units so tenants above with tiny balconies don’t get jealous, one resident claims.
Erin McFadzen chose her middle-income — and rent-stabilized — corner apartment at Long Island City’s new Q41 building because of its wrap-around terrace.
But when she moved in, half of it was fenced off by what she calls a “Jurassic Park”-style barricade.
The ugly 6-foot-high wire barrier also interferes with views from every window of her sixth-floor, $2,186-a-month pad.
“We’re caged in,” McFadzen told The Post.
“Every time someone comes over, I have to explain why the fence is there . . . and tell them we’re rent stabilized, like it’s a badge I have to wear,” she said.
And the tenants aren’t the only innumerate ones; the developers (read the story, for crying out loud) are just as bad.
The innumeracy washes over us in waves in this piece:
- Rent Control/Rent Subsidy (as well as the city’s systematic demonization of landlords, much as Minneapolis and Saint Paul are doing, although not nearly as effectively as NYC does – yet) is exactly why it’s impossible to find an affordable apartment in NYC. “If you make a good or service worth less than it would naturally be, there will be less of it”.
- The city shouldn’t be bailing out failed developers – so the developers shouldn’t be complaining that the bailout comes with strings attached requiring them to include rentals for much lower rates than the market would ordinarily bear.
Real estate in New York being as much about image as value, the “low-income” tenants shouldn’t be surprised that the developers are doing something to give the residents paying the actual market rates some sense that they’re getting something justifying the premium that they’re paying for the upscale places they’re renting. And in that case, that means making the the full-rent balconies a better deal than the cut-rate ones. Even just by the seemingly bitchy means they used.
If governnment has to make you equal, you’re probably not.
[*] Civil rights legislation is, of course, not an example of this; civil rights and liberties are not given to us by a landlord, but by our creator. Nobody can justly take them away. Housing is not a right – much less a specific class of housing for a specific price.