Saturday, March 22, 2014

Rent Control and Boston

Having control of the press is a good thing for those who control the press.  It means that you get to write whatever silliness you want over and over, and no one ever contradicts you.  One of my personal favorites is that eliminating rent control will fix the housing market.  Yes, when tenants are at the mercy of the not-so-free market and the rentier class can maximize its profits, all will be well.  Builders will build, landlords will improve their properties etc. etc.

One wonders then why the industry doesn't point to the example of Boston, where rent control was ended by state initiative in the mid-1990s.  Rents increased by 75% over the course of the next decade.  But little rental housing was constructed.  The industry had an answer for that one.  It was the housing bubble, and developers prioritized condos.  Then the housing bubble popped and nothing was built.  But now we have a resurgence in rental construction, yes, for the luxury market.  Developers are hoping to push rents to the next level.  In fact, they've built so much luxury housing that there's a glut of stainless steel appliances and granite countertops.

Now I suppose we should await the trickle-down.  Don't hold your breath.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Book List

This has been floating around the Internet, so I took the test.  I'd read 68 of the books, far more than the expected 6.  But I did note that this is a list for my generation.  Two books that would have been required in my parents' generation--Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and George Eliot's Silas Marner--are nowhere to be found.  Now I've prosecuted a decades-long campaign to eradicate Silas Marner from required reading lists (and no, I'm not responsible for its demise), but I see no reason why Canterbury Tales shouldn't be required reading.  But then I have a special connection to the Wife of Bath.