Urbocentric Problems

A reader emails:

Several months ago, when white, urbanist homeowners were busy advocating for rental housing for everyone else, I would ask why. Why would we advocate for renting over ownership? I never got a good answer- it was determined to be mostly racist to ask the question, which to me seems to be more of a racist answer than the question is.

Anyway, now with COVID-19 shutdowns, I started to see this hashtag pop up- #cancelrent

I searched the hashtag on Twitter. More than 80 within the last hour.

The biggest complaint seems to be that it is now suddenly wrong for someone else to earn money by “doing no more than allowing you to have a place to live.

Great, then it’s settled. Can we stop building luxury $2000 per month apartments and go back to building single family homes or at least make the apartments that are being built condos or both?

I’m a little concerned that the generation that thought milk came from cartons, now thinks housing, healthcare, and benefits descend from the skies in velveteen treasure chests on the backs of unicorns.  

29 thoughts on “Urbocentric Problems

  1. I have a relative who works construction. He likes to work, so about 20 years ago he accumulated enough capital to buy a beat up, foreclosed house north of the Twin Cities. He worked on it in the evenings and on the weekends. After a year or two of this labor he made the house like new again and rented it out for a few years, then sold it. He has done this a total of four times in twenty years. He is trying to build up a retirement nest egg.
    He currently has one rental house. He bought it for ~$60K. The market value is about ~$150k. He nets around $5k/year on the rent. Property taxes + insurance eat up about half the rent payments he receives. So if his renters stop paying him, it costs him $5k/year to own the place.
    And its value becomes zero. Who would buy a house they can’t live in that costs them $5,000 to own?
    Maybe the #cancelrent people should talk to him.

  2. House for sale: priced at a substantial 20% discount (to the price my friend said it was worth 3 months ago after finishing 3 bottles of wine). The house is for sale inclusive of debt, with the sitting tenant, who is now unemployed and reliant on government handouts to make rent. The water electricity and gas have been cut off but will be reconnected at some point in the next 18 months. We found some rot in the basement but have paid a contractor to cover this up. This was expensive and the house sale will require that the new owner take over payment of this debt. We are not sure that this job will hold and the house may require that an entirely new foundation is built. Oh, and there is currently a fire raging on the second floor. Grab this bargain now while you have the chance!

  3. I cannot understand why people still manage low to mid priced rental properties in leftist cities.

    Everything is stacked against the owner. The tenants, the inspectors, city hall. Who needs the aggravation?

  4. Trump should take advantage of the virus crisis to steal voter support from Biden and Bernie.

    “In light of the unprecedented emergency, when millions of Americans are out of work and unable to pay their bills, I call on Congress to return to a historically proven solution that will get Americans back on their feet and get our economy surging forward. And I know there’s bi-partisan support for this idea.

    As Senator Saunders has pointed out, student loans burden our young for decades, if they’re ever repaid at all, hindering their ability to buy a home or start a business. As Senator Warren has pointed out, medical bills force Americans into bankruptcy. As New York State Gianaris has pointed out, eviction moratoria don’t go far enough, renters need their rent canceled. But canceling rent means the landlord can’t pay the mortgage or the taxes, so those debts must also be addressed.

    I call on Congress to declare a Debt Jubilee. All debts cancelled. Mortgages. Credit cards. Student loans. Hospital bills. Taxes. Not deferred, gone, for as long as the Shelter in Place orders remain in effect. If you agree with me, tweet hashtagdebtjubilee to everyone you know. Together, we can Make America Great Again.”

    No danger of having to sign the law, since we know Congress would never pass it. But it certainly would put the fox among the chickens, give the media something to talk about besides Bring Out Your Dead.

  5. JD;
    He may already have brought over some of the Bernie Bros.


    I’ll go so far as to predict that after the free money goes out, this number will jump to 30 – 35%.

    If anyone knows who Emery really is and where he lives, please have someone do a wellness check on him in a couple of hours. Once he reads this, his head will explode.

  6. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 04.03.20 : The Other McCain

  7. … getting a check from the government is now a function of soc@lism? So, when you’re not simply lying about things, you fill in the gaps by making things up.

  8. They’re changing Death Certificates to pump up the numbers of COVID deaths.


    Everybody who dies of respiratory distress – pneumonia, emphysema, influenza, even asthma – are now presumed to die of COVID-19 and will be reported that way on the death certificate. No test required to confirm.

    It’s the ultimate participation ribbon. Everybody’s a WuFlu victim.

    Of course, the change makes mortality statistics worthless for public policy analysis purposes. You can’t debate the balance of harm when one side of the equation is a false number.

    But it’s a wonderful way to keep the panic going until the election.

  9. The Surgeon General teaching Americans to make their own masks, because the world’s superpower can’t produce or secure enough for citizens.

  10. Sit back for a moment, friends, and imagine the courage, the pluck, the good ol’ American can-do-ism that Emery would have exhibited in a foxhole during WW2. Or in leading a group of boy scouts camping out in the woods on a rainy night.

  11. One more death in Hawaii, bringing our total to 3. The latest victim was an elderly man who returned with the disease from Washington state two weeks ago.
    Over 12,000 tested, only a little over three hundred positive in the state. That is 2.5% of all the people they thought should get the test.
    On the Big Island (pop. ~150k), we still have a total of 24 cases, 15 of whom are considered completely recovered, 9 quarantining at home, no hospitalizations, no deaths.

  12. Emery, read the MPR article linked in my April 4th 8:25 am post.

    Mortality statistics just became worthless because bureaucrats are intentionally blaming EVERY respiratory death on COVID-19 and no testing will be done to validate the cause of death.

    Stop talking about mortality rates. They’re meaningless now.

  13. Yes, Mister Doakes. Things are getting weird with the numbers. The number we really need is the seasonally adjusted excess deaths in the United States, and these numbers, as far as I can tell, are not updated daily, or weekly. At least I have not been able to find them online.
    It is possible that the excess deaths are low because the majority of deaths that are said to be covid-19 deaths include those who would have died shortly of something else.
    The latest numbers from the state of Hawaii show that in 2017, there were 11,193 deaths from all causes. This works out to about 31 deaths per day. In the last month 3 people in Hawaii have died from covid-19, so the excess deaths is in the noise, not detectable.

  14. Another interesting number would be seasonally adjusted excess hospitalizations.
    In the past week, I have heard from personal friends, people I know on FB, who swear that they are immune because that nagging cough they had back in January must have been coronavirus. People are getting stir crazy, e.g., they are trying to come up with reasons why it is silly for them to be on lockdown.

  15. But the excess hospitalizations number might be tainted since, as I understand, voluntary & non-emergency hospital stays have been eliminated. So to find the excess deaths created by the coronavirus, the only good number is deaths per day, and for typically American reasons, these numbers aren’t instantly available. They are accumulated at state level by morticians, who report them to the feds based on local laws, etc. I do not know if copies of the death certificates written in the US are provided to the feds on a daily basis.
    I doubt it.

  16. JD, here’s something interesting that seems related to your MPR link.

    Pneumonia Deaths have fallen off a cliff this year, I wonder what could have caused this to happen…..

  17. This sure seems like a sort of ghoulish cheer-leading as the death toll rises. To get Trump.

  18. JDM, to someone with Trump Derangement Syndrome, the only purpose any event can legitimately have is to serve as a tool to bash Trump.
    In all the years that Obama was prez, I knew only one person who had the Obama equivalent of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Just one. I think that there was some ODS on fringe websites and talk radio as well.
    But this is ridiculous. All of the mainstream media, all of academia, and all of Hollywood has gone mad. Literally mad, they live in a world where they pick and choose the color of the sky, and whatever other “facts” they need to feed their TDS.
    In the Youtube video link I posted the other day, the young woman (a liberal) who had gotten over her TDS was able to do so because she had heard some claim about Trump that was over the top ridiculous, she believed it, and slowly came to the realization that it could not possibly be true. She had enough introspection to ask herself why she had believed that something so preposterous was a fact, and found that it was because she had not used her power of reason, but that she had believed the false statement because it appealed to her emotions.

  19. You know, that’s so true, MP. Remember how we got like almost daily if not hourly counts of the dead in Iraq and Afghanistan while Bush was president? And then Obama gets elected and that stopped toot-sweet.

  20. Haters scoff but “what have you got to lose” is at the core of the scientific method.

  21. Hey Emery;
    By your logic, Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Occasional Cortex and Warren Wilhelm aka Bill DeBlasio should be indicted for causing additional cases of COVID-19 for encouraging people to get out and about, specifically Chinatown. And, the stupid Democrat Governor of Louisiana and mayor of New Orleans, LaToya Cantrell, don’t have the brains to cancel Mardi Gras, knowing people will be coming from everywhere, should be right there with them.
    Keep bashing, hater! Your narrative is getting more pathetic every time you post it, while even Trump haters like Gavin Newsom, Andrew Cuomo and Dana Bash of CNN have praised him for his response and leadership, as well as his quick actions of closing the borders to people traveling to the U.S. from China and Europe, which, I might add, made him the first national leader to do so. Despite their protests and criticism of Trump’s action by European leaders, surprise! They ended up closing their borders! And, finally, Trump’s approval ratings continue to rise, even among Democrats. So, stick it, sucka!

  22. There has been some talk of the “scientific method” on this thread.
    The “scientific method” has changed a little over the years. When Bacon first discussed the idea the “scientist” was supposed to be a pure observer, like a machine, simply recording his observations. These days previous observations are allowed to influence the direction of the next experiment.
    But the problem with the scientific method is that it assumes the observer is an object, a thing upon which observations are impressed, while of course the observer is a subject. The observer can not be absent from the observation, he decides what to observe (for one thing), and what observations are relevant enough to record.
    So an important part of the scientific method is repeatability. If anyone can reproduce your data, there is a greater likelihood that your observations are not subjective.
    But the number of interesting problems that can produce repeatable and reproducible results is much smaller than the number of interesting problems. The more the experiment involves human activity, the less likely the experiment will be repeatable and reproducible. There are too many dependent variables. Regression analysis can only do so much.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.