Coming up next from the Democrats: Fort Apache, Fear City
Joe Biden, the press, the Democrats, and the activists have long touted the rent moratoriums in the age of COVID as just the thing, keeping their victims of lockdowns and lost jobs from being thrown out of their homes.
One problem: Someone is not getting paid.
The Washington Post has a long, balanced, authentic report on the assorted COVID-linked rent moratoriums and what that's done for the housing stock.
The subhead gets it right:
As landlords and tenants go broke across the U.S., the next crisis point of the pandemic approaches
According to the Post in good writing summing up the extent of the problem:
In the covid economy of 2021, the federal government has created an ongoing grace period for renters until at least July, banning all evictions in an effort to hold back a historic housing crisis that is already underway. More than 8 million rental properties across the country are behind on payments by an average of $5,600, according to census data. Nearly half of those rental properties are owned not by banks or big corporations but instead by what the government classifies as "small landlords" — people who manage their own rentals and depend on them for basic income, and who are now trapped between tenants who can't pay and their own mounting bills for insurance, mortgages and property tax. According to government estimates, a third of small landlords are at risk of bankruptcy or foreclosure as the pandemic continues into its second year. [emphasis mine -mms]
So half the housing stock is owned by small landlords, and a third are about to go bankrupt or into foreclosure. That's one out of six rental properties, and don't think the other five aren't hurting, too. Did anyone give them stimulus checks to cover their losses? Apparently not. Yet they don't get a vacation from mortgages, insurance, or taxes, as the tenants do. They get no breaks at all and have to eat the losses brought to them by Democrats, who praise rent moratoriums to the high heavens, particularly Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose family fled the Bronx. More about that in a minute.
But also, Joe Biden. Here's what he said during the campaign and how a deadbeat tenant who didn't bother to apply for federal rental assistance took it:
[The defaulting tenant] listened during the presidential campaign as Joe Biden said: "There should be rent forgiveness. ... Not paid later — forgiveness." And so when Hill finally received some small unemployment payments and a four-figure stimulus check from the government, he used the money to fix the engine in his broken-down minivan, buy a little extra food, purchase some basic furniture, pay down his credit card, and surprise his daughter with a decent laptop for her virtual classes, because why would he spend what little money he had on rent that he didn't actually have to pay?
Kind of sounds like Joe's words of encouragement triggering the border surge, doesn't it?
Thanks, Joe. You've just blown out a sixth of the rental housing stock and that's just to start.
The Bronx angle is also notable, given Ocasio-Cortez's championing of total rent default. Back when Democrats drove industrial and big cities into the ground in the 1970s, urban renewal consisted of inviting industrious Guyanese immigrants to revitalize the rental housing in blown-out hellholes like the 1970s Bronx, as well as the city described in the story, Schenectady, New York, where they put the sweat and labor into doing just that. None of them got hugely rich, but they did well, bought small homes for themselves, and sent their kids to college. I know this firsthand; I used to live in the South Bronx in the 1990s and had a very good Guyanese landlord among the Nigerian, Senegalese, Jamaican, and Dominican immigrants of the area who did just this. They were good people.
Now they've been stiffed, forced to take the whole weight of the pandemic, and the lockdowns, which throw people out of work, but benefit Democrats and increase their power, making them pay the entire bill. There's no free lunch, as economists say. The small landlords are the guys who get to pay. What happens when such a large swath of the population has to pay such a big bill? In general, they have no choice but to go Galt.
First, the housing declines, as there's no money to pay for repairs. Windows are broken out, walls get holes, the plumbing breaks, the rats and roaches come. Then the water gets shut off, and the electricity, too. After that, walls and roofs start crashing in, and thieves come for the copper pipes. And whole city streets get that bombed out look of Beirut, a frightening look of war. Democrat measures such as rent control were all it took to create the war effect.
This one if anything must be worse, given that it wasn't artificially depressed rent prices against constantly rising costs that did it; it was no rent at all, done with the express command of the state. This is full-out robbery and 100% taxation, leaving a small class of pretty powerless people holding the very big bag.
And harmful to consumers, those who can pay rent but can't find any housing — or, given how bad this is, landlords. Who'd want to be a landlord in conditions like this? They not only can't collect rent, but can't kick anyone out who has money and doesn't want to pay, as the character in the story described. They also can't pay people to leave, owing to the diminishing housing stock, and they can't sell their properties where they can't kick deadbeats out.
Yes, there are people who can't pay rent due to the lockdowns, and the federal aid is there, but in this case, the tenant didn't apply for it. Why would they, since they can't be kicked out? It's bad stuff, poor central planning, and the chain reaction of events that follows means lower housing stock and, eventually, harsher terms as landlords seek to protect themselves from these state predators.
Fort Apache, anyone? Fear City? Beirut? It's coming.
Those were famous names in the 1970s for New York City after rent control measures kept rents down, landlords couldn't upgrade their properties, and the housing stock was soon blown out. The South Bronx was compared to Beirut because it looked just like it, based on just this single measure, courtesy of the Democrat rule of the time. Combine it with fiscal mismanagement and soaring crime, as described by the covertly police-produced tour guide called Fear City in the 1970s, and the city was a disaster. According to the Guardian:
New York's fiscal crisis of the mid-1970s is surely one of the weirdest moments in the history of the city — indeed, of the United States. It was a time when the wholesale disintegration of the largest city in the most powerful nation on earth seemed entirely possible. A time when the American president, Gerald Ford — egged on by his young chief of staff, one Donald Rumsfeld — sought not to succour New York but to deliberately shame and humble it, and perhaps even replace it as the world's leading financial centre.
Reportedly one million Fear City pamphlets were printed for distribution, with a further million on order if those ran out. The pamphlets were to be followed up with a couple of equally alarmist tracts, entitled "If You Haven't Been Mugged Yet" and "When It Happens to You ..." aimed at New York residents. They were produced and to be distributed by something called the Council for Public Safety, an umbrella group of 28 unions of "the uniformed services", representing some 80,000 police and corrections officers, plus the city's firefighters — all infuriated by the city's plans to lay off thousands of their members.
After that, it was all "rats on the East Side, bedbugs, uptown, what a mess," as Mick Jagger sang in his anthem of New York City, "Shattered."
And it's likely it's barely shaken out, but it will as this leftist stuff goes on, with Biden, who helped create the mess, still in power for three more long years, probably getting ready to blame Trump for the Fort Apache look that's going to be the look of not just the Bronx, but every large city in America.
Thanksalot, Joe. Bob Gates had it right that Biden has been wrong on every foreign policy issue. He also unknowingly was right on domestic ones such as this.
Photo illustration by Monica Showalter with use of cropped images by Bert Verhoeff (ANEFO) via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0, and public domain images from Needpix, Pixabay, and UIHere.
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