Out of Control Policy Blog

Middle class qualify under LA's inclusionary zoning proposal

Just in case you were worried the private housing market might have a chance at coming back, LA's mayor has proposed an inclusionary zoning ordinance that would target "affordable housing" for lower income and middle income households. Apparently, housing costs have skyrocketed to the point only the rich can buy a home, so the goverment is coming to the rescue.

Villaraigosa said the proposal was necessary to address a housing crisis that has made it difficult for even middle-income families to afford a home, chipping away at the very workforce that stabilizes the local economy.

Of course, no one's asking the real question--if the demand for affordable housing is so great, why isn't the private sector responding? One obvious barrier is regulation. Now, to provide incentives to the private sector, Mayor Villaraigosa is willing to selectively deregulate the housing market for privileged developers:

Acknowledging that his plan could scare off some developers, Villaraigosa said he would try to help projects stay cost-effective by offering incentives, such as giving builders the right to construct more units or to set aside less space for parking. Villaraigosa's aides said they were still debating whether the plan would apply citywide or just along mass transit corridors.

What is striking about this approach is how closely it resembles fascism. Not the genocidal kind of Hitler, but the Moussolini kind that strived to get the "trains to run on time". Essentially, the housing market remains technically in private hands but is regulated to achieve collective goals and values. Apparently, this is okay with some LA developers:

"It's time," said Greg Vilkin, president of MacFarlane Partners, a prominent development firm that helped organize the summit. "We have to put the public's good in front of everyone's gain. It's time for everybody to take a little pain."

It just goes to show you that Atlas Shrugged is as relevant today as it was in the Cold War.

Samuel Staley is Research Fellow


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