A lot of bogeymen appear in the run up to elections. This could be because our election season is at its peak around Halloween. The problem with bogeymen, however, is that they can be recognized as imaginary, which renders them bereft of their horror. It's therefore not surprising that the once horrifying Rent Control (RC) has now sprouted another head, which goes by the name of Higher Property Taxes (HPT). People around Boston came home to scary messages on their telephone answering devices about the doom and destruction that would be wrought by this old, tired demon, now with a newly grafted identity.
These horror purveyors are no fools, though. For Bostonians, HPT is not an unfounded fear, it's a reality. This makes it useful as a scare inducer, in case...oh, I don't know...say, you want people to vote for your favorite candidates, and diss the others. What they don't tell you is why property taxes here are as high as they are, because then we might get educated about the real causes, and the element of fear may not work for them anymore.
At issue is the Community Stabilization Act that was rejected by the Boston city council last year. It didn't propose to unleash any RC ghouls on an unsuspecting public. What it did propose, however, was to put in place measures to protect those most vulnerable to being displaced by Boston's irrationally exuberant housing market. These measures accounted for the Economics 101 arguments against rent control, and most homeowners (local owners of six or less units) were exempt.
Of course, that's not good enough if it might bring down the return on your giddy real estate investments a notch or two; and it would go against the edicts of the Church of Ayn Rand to have "society" meddle with the free enterprise of the strong and dashing uber-individual, just so the sub-individuals among us can claim a modicum of humanity.
[My del.icio.us: community stabilization � affordable housing | Boston | Economics | Ayn Rand]
This was posted on Thursday, November 3 -- the permalink is http://iq.mythicflow.com/2005/11/03.html#a107. If the date above is October 3, then it's due to a bug in the software.