Blaming business is the liberal default for any problem

Property owners in Duval County have been getting good prices for their homes. They aren’t complaining but the media doesn’t like it a bit.

“Investigative” reporters at News4Jax have copied the tactics of liberal media outlets in Charlotte, N.C., to identify who they perceive as the bad guys.

Home prices are up because of government-induced inflation, government taxes and regulations and local government zoning policies so the media blames – the private sector!

It seems that “institutional investors” have been buying homes and renting them, possibly earning a profit.

Liberal reporters hate people who make profits (unless they are the owners of the media outlets where they work).

Therefore, they are blaming the institutional investors for an alleged lack of affordable housing.

“Affordable housing” generally is a function of demand and supply, as it is with most goods. Profits help make homes affordable, not the other way around.

Idiotic government policies such as rent control make the affordability problem worse, not better.

Indeed, a City Council committee report in December noted a supply gap of 12,000 homes in Jacksonville, which it said was a reason for an increase in rents locally.

What politicians and bureaucrats can do to make housing more affordable is to provide incentives to builders, not develop new barriers.

Reporters turned to a local university professor who gave them the remarkable news that there are more evictions in areas where poor people live. Then they found a liberal lawyer who called this “flipping human lives,” whatever that means.

In addition, a City Council member was quoted as saying that “maybe” the local government could start building housing (bad idea) and that maybe it could work with developers on creating incentives (good idea).

To their credit, the TV station reporters sought a response from one of the companies buying homes here.

The response was: “In Jacksonville, specifically, our rental rates remain approximately 21% below the average monthly home ownership cost, resulting in monthly savings for our residents that support their financial goals, including a future transition to homeownership. In fact, since Jan. 1, 2020, over 35 percent of our residents who responded to move-out surveys said that they were not renewing their lease with us because they were purchasing a home. Moreover, ownership by large professional single-family rental companies represents less than a 0.5% share of the national home

market, and it would be difficult to argue that our industry has a meaningful impact on home prices in the regions we serve.”

What’s really happening: Government is pricing poor people out of the housing market and, along with its propaganda arm, blaming the private sector.

Liberal cities such as San Francisco have rents far higher than any in Jacksonville.

Reason magazine wrote eight years ago about research by economists Edward Glaeser of Harvard and Joseph Gyourko of the University of Pennsylvania, which indicated that homes are expensive in high-cost areas primarily because of government regulation that imposes artificial limits on construction.

What government could be doing to help is to reduce taxing, spending and debt, which would allow the private sector to do what it does best: produce jobs and wealth.

It is permissible for the government to feed off the private sector, but when it has a voracious appetite, the result is a series of societal ills, such as housing that is affordable to people at all income levels.

Lloyd Brown

Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.

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