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Re: I think his argument has plenty of substance

Posted by TenantNet on February 04, 1999 at 15:23:17:

In Reply to: Re: I think his argument has plenty of substance posted by Richard on February 04, 1999 at 14:18:08:

The last two posts demonstrate the problems of many discussions on the
value of rent regulations. Most of what is seen in the press is based on
inaccuracy, fallacy and ignorance of the system, its operation and
purpose, and how the system has been undermined and gutted to where the
objections become self-fulfilling. These arguments then occasionally
erupt in forums such as this leading to endless chatter and flame wars;
they may be appropriate on usenet, but not here.

The best example is the notion of subsidy. It's false. But through endless
repitition, some believe it. Of course, some believe Clinton never
inhaled. Subsidies and regulation of commodity pricing are two different
animals, but in a right-wing politically-charged atmosphere, it's a
cheap shot and at best, can only lead to a pissing contest. If one believes
rent regulation is a subsidy, then the reasons for regulation are skewed
and any rational argument is impossible. "Subsidy" is seen as some sort
of left-wing give-away to hoards of lazy bums. It's baiting. Of course
government's biggest (real) subsidies go to large corporations, but the
baiters are in denial over that.

The notion of (the need for) means testing is also based on a false
premise and ignores historical facts. When we say above that objections
to the system have become self-fulfilling, it's because means testing
was instituted in 1993 and revised in 1997. That changes the purpose of
the system from a way to temper market forces and stabilize neighborhoods
into a system for the less affluent. Of course that begs the question, if
the system is for the poor, then why are tenant advocates trying to
protect the rich tenants (like the Mia Farrow case). There's no defense
to that either, but that's if you accept rent regulation was meant to
protect the poor. We don't. (although some of our more left-wing tenant
advocate colleagues do).

Although means testing is now part of the law, it's not the purpose
of rent regulations. Never was until 1993.

We aren't in denial that these arguments exist or that some find some
merit in them. But the underlying premise is wrong and it leads to a
situation where one must disprove a negative. Indeed, these arguments
exist only because the RSA has carefully honed them with the express
idea of creating a jealous class of market tenants. That some aren't
beneficiearies of the system is true, and they may feel jealous is
also true, but the notion that lower regulated rents are causing higher
rents for others is false and ignores speculative market forces and
many other factors. The answer to Nick and others that may troll along
these lines is that they "should" be protected and they once were
so protected. Guess who carved them out of the system... it wasn't
those who are still in the system.

This forum always has been an area for tenants to discuss problems and
strategies. Occasional discussions along these lines may be appropriate,
but only as long as they are rational and don't get out of hand.
Perhaps the most honest discussion would be from a landlord who would
state his/her objection to rent regs simply because the system limits
their profit.

To the extent that these arguments are based on recursive notions of
jealousy, subsidy or means testing, we call an end to this thread.
We suggest that such discussions move to a more informed basis.

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