Liberals Decry Rising Rents After Causing Rents to Rise

There is a series of articles in the Portland Press-Herald (PPH) newspaper in Maine about rising rents in ultra-liberal Portland, which is Maine’s largest city (more than 500,000 in the Greater Portland metro area out of just 1.3 million statewide). Naturally Portland socialists are totally ignoring how their own policies created the crisis in the first place. Here are some examples:

First, Portland is a “sanctuary city”. Illegal immigrants put demands on rental housing, pushing up rents through the law of supply and demand which says that prices will rise for a product or service if demand for that product or service rises or otherwise outstrips supply.

Thus if we have 10 million or 20 million illegals in the US, that creates a demand for millions more rental units and for hundreds or thousands of units in Portland alone. That demand pushes up rents.

Naturally the sanctuarians and other Trump-haters have an instant solution for the housing crisis and that is government-imposed rent control.

No, they do not want to control our borders under existing federal law, which would be one factor in controlling rents and other social problems like crime and dependency. They want new government-imposed limits on rents, which never works. After all, if government control worked, then government would have solved all social and economic problems long ago.

A Portland city council candidate named Joey Brunelle recently wrote in the PPH:

As a candidate for the at-large seat on the Portland City Council, I have had a lot of conversations with Portland residents lately. The two issues that come up most often are the skyrocketing cost of rent, and ever-increasing burden of property taxes.

I have been both a renter and a property owner in Portland. As a young renter, I saw firsthand the negative effects of rapidly rising rents. Many of my friends worked in retail or in one of Portland’s many popular restaurants.

As rents went up year after year – sometimes by as much as 25 percent at once – they were forced to take up second jobs or relocate to Westbrook, Biddeford and more affordable communities with fewer career opportunities.

OK, so notice first of all that the liberals are running away from their precious liberal bastion in Portland in order to survive economically. This is typical. They are going to more conservative suburbs and smaller towns, i.e., Trump Country.

Gee, I thought that liberalism was supposed to attract people. Yet in millions of cases throughout the world every day it is repelling them.

Brunelle then goes on to describe how rising property taxes for landlords are leading to higher rents. Now here is Brunelle’s alleged solution as reported in the PPH:

If you’re over 62 years old, you’ve lived in town for at least 10 years and your household’s annual gross income is less than $50,000, you can apply for tax relief. The town will then write you a check for the amount that your property tax bill exceeds 5 percent of your income up to a maximum of $500. It’s that simple.

So let me get this straight. One of the principal causes of rising rents is rising property taxes. But rather than campaigning to control or reduce city spending in order to limit taxes and limit tax increases Brunelle is actually proposing to increase city spending with this program. He also is employing the usual Democrat tactic of offering checks from the government as gifts to good citizens.

This will lead to a need for higher taxes and higher rents. It is a vicious cycle that is typical of socialism. But don’t try and explain that to a socialist. They are too busy thinking that they are saving the world.

Brunelle also blames high rent costs on… get this… “income inequality”, the catch-all bogeyman of Democrats. But he does not seem to care much about hundreds or thousands of destitute illegal aliens who flood into a ‘sanctuary city’ like Portland with no money, possessions, skills or education, placing great demands on the city. Brunelle also writes:

It’s just not fair that lifelong Portlanders are being forced to relocate as a limitless supply of new luxury housing on the Peninsula (section of the city) is snapped up as second homes for people from out of state.

So like a good socialist Brunelle somehow blames rich people from Massachusetts for the problem when in fact they are contributing to the economy with new construction and to the tax base with their property taxes. They also spend a lot money when they are in town, helping the Portland economy.

But then again socialists never miss an opportunity to bash “the rich” even when most of the rich people with second homes in Maine are liberals from Massachusetts, in and around Boston. Then a reporter named Randy Billings writes in the PPH in a separate article:

A new citizens group is organizing to demand a referendum in Portland to curb rising rents and mass evictions in Maine’s largest city.

The rent control effort, or “rent stabilization” as the group calls it, is being pursued by a new group of Portlanders called Resurgam, which was formed after the last presidential election as a way to become engaged in the local community, said member Bre Chamberlain.

They’re calling the campaign Fair Rent Portland and hope to limit annual rent increases in larger buildings and ban no-cause evictions, among other things.

Yes, and if you artificially limit rents, then property owners will not be able to keep up their properties, leading to decay. This has happened in cities all over America. Second, developers won’t build new housing since they will have no control over what rents they will be able to charge. These two factors will cause deterioration of the housing stock and rising rents for worse and worse housing. It is a slow incremental process.

Also neighborhood preservation groups often oppose any new developments in older neighborhoods. It gets worse. In California particularly, and all over the country it is now ‘green’ gospel to also prevent new housing development in nearby suburbs in order to preserve ‘open land’. This is pushing up California rents dramatically by restricting the housing supply.

Ironically these same leftists who want to use government power to keep rents down also want to use the same government power to increase the minimum wage. These actions represent two different types of artificial control of the economy and they never work. The best solution is to build more housing. That will bring down rents and housing costs naturally. Billings then writes:

“We need to make sure the workforce that helps make Portland so wonderful and desirable are actually able to live in the city they work in,” (Resurgam member Bre) Chamberlain said.

Portland is experiencing a boom in construction of high-end and market-rate housing that is often unaffordable to students, artists and people who work in the city’s large service industry.

Meanwhile, high demand for housing has pushed up rents for some existing apartments, with some landlords using no-cause evictions to empty units so they can be improved and fetch higher rents.

A Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram analysis showed that rents in Portland increased 40 percent from 2010 to 2015. The rapid increase, most dramatic in the Munjoy Hill area, happened at the same time incomes were declining for the average renter in Portland.

Hmmmm… Let’s see: Obama was president when these bad things happened. We had massive economic stagnation under Obama that led to income “inequality”, stagnation and declines. And conservatives repeatedly criticized Obama policies but were ignored and shouted down. Billings writes:

Local landlords such as Tom Watson say rents have plateaued, and that the proposed referendum would backfire and worsen the housing situation because developers would stop investing. Watson is a property manager at Port Property Management, which owns or manages 1,300 units, mostly in Portland.

“This will effectively aggravate what they have identified as a problem,” Watson said. “This will end any and all development in Portland.”

Yessiree, here is a guy who actually owns and manages property. He can tell you what is really going on. He must have voted for Trump. Billings writes:

Chamberlain said she and her family were “priced out” of Portland.

In 2013, her landlord on Munjoy Hill kept talking about raising the rent by as much as $1,000, so she and her family moved to Yarmouth to give her daughter stability as she entered school. She believes the proposed ordinance will provide stability to renters, including families, immigrants and the elderly.

Yes, we gotta take care of those “immigrants” whom the liberals are allowing to waltz into America and into their “sanctuary cities” by the millions with no money, education or skills. That couldn’t possibly be having an adverse effect!

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