Sanders's crazy scheme to flip American housing upside-down

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), self-avowed democratic socialist, just released his Housing for All (H4A) initiative as part of his 2020 presidential campaign.

According to Sanders, "[i]n the richest country in the history of the world, every American must have a safe, decent, accessible, and affordable home as a fundamental right.  We need a homes guarantee."

Based on his statement, it seems as though Sanders's belief is that affordable housing is a basic right that should be provided by government.  The U.S. Constitution, however, clearly defines Americans' natural rights, and affordable housing is certainly not one of them.

If housing is established as a right guaranteed by government, what else could be redefined as a right government must provide?

Why not clothing?  Perhaps travel, food, entertainment, or even internet access?  The list could go on forever.  For all we know, politicians in 2050 could declare that all Americans deserve an exotic pet.  Just replace "homes" with anything the government could possibly provide.

Obviously, this is ridiculous.  The only rights guaranteed by government are those outlined in the Bill of Rights.

Establishing universal housing as an intrinsic right would set a dangerous precedent.  It would give government the power to declare not just anything, but everything a human right.  Once the United States heads down this slippery slope, there will be no stopping this socialist stratagem from slowly snowballing into a full-out socialistic regime.

And don't forget: this is all coming from the mouth of a self-proclaimed democratic socialist.

Aside from the fact that housing is not a fundamental right, Sanders's definition of "safe, decent, accessible, and affordable housing" is purposefully unclear.  With such a vague definition, the federal government can easily shift interpretations to attain maximum power.

So what exactly does "safe" mean in the context of government housing?

Government-provided housing has a pitiful history of safety.  In fact, far too much of the violence and crime in urban areas occurs in government housing projects.  Public housing is notorious for drug activity, crime, poverty, and violence.  Furthermore, demolishing public housing complexes has proven to substantially reduce crime, violence, and other societal problems.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development:

From the end of the 1990s through the mid-2000s, public housing developments across the nation were demolished[.] ... In Atlanta and Chicago, crime rates plummeted in the neighborhoods where public housing had been demolished alongside net decreases citywide; in Chicago, they estimated that the decrease in violent crime in those areas was more than 60 percent greater than it would have been without [the demolition]."

Not only would Bernie's misguided Housing for All plan massively increase government housing and crime, but it simply isn't affordable.

Sanders calls the United States "the richest country in the history of the world."  Although this is true by many standards, his statement doesn't take into account the federal government's mind-boggling debt ($22.6 trillion and counting).  The United States simply cannot afford to fund a massive housing boondoggle.

Of course, if the nightmare known as Housing for All becomes reality, taxpayers should expect to bear the burden with an abundance of new and increased taxes.  Remember, every penny the government spends comes from taxpayers' pockets, not the federal mint.

Although Sanders claims there is a housing crisis in America, this is also blatantly false.  More than 99 percent of Americans already have suitable housing.

In actuality, Sanders is using H4A as yet another socialistic wealth redistribution scheme.  In short, Bernie wants middle- and upper-class Americans to foot the bill for the rest of the nation's housing fantasies.  This is blatantly unfair and violates the tenets of the American ethos.

Bernie's Housing for All plan is unnecessary, unaffordable, and unconstitutional.

Emma Kaden (ekaden@heartland.org) is an assistant editor at The Heartland Institute. Chris Talgo (ctalgo@heartland.org) is an editor at The Heartland Institute.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), self-avowed democratic socialist, just released his Housing for All (H4A) initiative as part of his 2020 presidential campaign.

According to Sanders, "[i]n the richest country in the history of the world, every American must have a safe, decent, accessible, and affordable home as a fundamental right.  We need a homes guarantee."

Based on his statement, it seems as though Sanders's belief is that affordable housing is a basic right that should be provided by government.  The U.S. Constitution, however, clearly defines Americans' natural rights, and affordable housing is certainly not one of them.

If housing is established as a right guaranteed by government, what else could be redefined as a right government must provide?

Why not clothing?  Perhaps travel, food, entertainment, or even internet access?  The list could go on forever.  For all we know, politicians in 2050 could declare that all Americans deserve an exotic pet.  Just replace "homes" with anything the government could possibly provide.

Obviously, this is ridiculous.  The only rights guaranteed by government are those outlined in the Bill of Rights.

Establishing universal housing as an intrinsic right would set a dangerous precedent.  It would give government the power to declare not just anything, but everything a human right.  Once the United States heads down this slippery slope, there will be no stopping this socialist stratagem from slowly snowballing into a full-out socialistic regime.

And don't forget: this is all coming from the mouth of a self-proclaimed democratic socialist.

Aside from the fact that housing is not a fundamental right, Sanders's definition of "safe, decent, accessible, and affordable housing" is purposefully unclear.  With such a vague definition, the federal government can easily shift interpretations to attain maximum power.

So what exactly does "safe" mean in the context of government housing?

Government-provided housing has a pitiful history of safety.  In fact, far too much of the violence and crime in urban areas occurs in government housing projects.  Public housing is notorious for drug activity, crime, poverty, and violence.  Furthermore, demolishing public housing complexes has proven to substantially reduce crime, violence, and other societal problems.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development:

From the end of the 1990s through the mid-2000s, public housing developments across the nation were demolished[.] ... In Atlanta and Chicago, crime rates plummeted in the neighborhoods where public housing had been demolished alongside net decreases citywide; in Chicago, they estimated that the decrease in violent crime in those areas was more than 60 percent greater than it would have been without [the demolition]."

Not only would Bernie's misguided Housing for All plan massively increase government housing and crime, but it simply isn't affordable.

Sanders calls the United States "the richest country in the history of the world."  Although this is true by many standards, his statement doesn't take into account the federal government's mind-boggling debt ($22.6 trillion and counting).  The United States simply cannot afford to fund a massive housing boondoggle.

Of course, if the nightmare known as Housing for All becomes reality, taxpayers should expect to bear the burden with an abundance of new and increased taxes.  Remember, every penny the government spends comes from taxpayers' pockets, not the federal mint.

Although Sanders claims there is a housing crisis in America, this is also blatantly false.  More than 99 percent of Americans already have suitable housing.

In actuality, Sanders is using H4A as yet another socialistic wealth redistribution scheme.  In short, Bernie wants middle- and upper-class Americans to foot the bill for the rest of the nation's housing fantasies.  This is blatantly unfair and violates the tenets of the American ethos.

Bernie's Housing for All plan is unnecessary, unaffordable, and unconstitutional.

Emma Kaden (ekaden@heartland.org) is an assistant editor at The Heartland Institute. Chris Talgo (ctalgo@heartland.org) is an editor at The Heartland Institute.