Publishers Notes: Mayor Jim Ireton recently proposed a rent stabilization package claiming Salisbury landlords are making too much money. This is Muir's response to that proposal.
After careful thought and consideration, along with an extraordinary amount of research, I have come to the conclusion that rent control in Salisbury would put us on a path of devastative decline. Therefore, I unequivocally oppose any type of legislation that would implement these types of failed policies.
In 1992 The American Economic Review published a poll of 464 economists where 93% of them opposed Rent Control laws. (1) From Milton Friedman and F.A. Hayek to Gunnar Myrdal and Assar Lindbeck, economists from across the political spectrum have consistently opposed Rent Control.
Myrdal, a Swedish Economist who was the architect of the Swedish Labor Party's Welfare State once said, “Rent control has in certain Western countries constituted, maybe, the worst example of poor planning by governments lacking courage and vision.” (2)
Lindbeck, another Swedish economist, stated, “In many cases rent control appears to be the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city—except for bombing.” (3)
This issue is not about right or left politics. It is not about greed or the ensuing accusations that those opposed to Rent Control are in the pockets of the landlords. This is about understanding basic economics and the fact that property values will decline, tax revenues will decline and an imbalance will be created in the housing market by effectively removing the availability of single family housing. Blight and crime will increase and the resources of the City of Salisbury will be severely strained. In addition, those who have historically received the benefits of rent stabilization, rarely and at a much lower percentage, move into home ownership.
My last point on this subject is that the Rent Stabilization legislation put forward that is modeled from the one implemented in College Park, MD is no longer in effect as of 2014. College Park began seeing the negative effects of Rent Stabilization and had the courage to end it.
Walter Block, a renowned American economist, has two detailed and convincing arguments against rent control here and here. I encourage the reading of both articles.
All of our energy and resources should be focused on attracting good paying jobs, moving people into home ownership, reducing juvenile crime and finding ways to create better opportunities for this and future generations.
- Richard M. Alson, J. R. Kearl, and Michael B. Vaughan, “Is There a Consensus Among Economists in the 1990’s?” American Economic Review 82, no. 2 (1992): 203–209.
- Gunnar Myrdal, “Opening Address to the Council of International Building Research in Copenhagen,” Dagens Nyheter (Swedish newspaper), August 25, 1965, p. 12; cited in Sven Rydenfelt, “The Rise, Fall and Revival of Swedish Rent Control,” in Rent Control: Myths and Realities, Walter Block and Edgar Olsen, eds. (Vancouver: The Fraser Institute, 1981), p. 224.
- Assar Lindbeck, The Political Economy of the New Left (New York: Harper and Row, 1972); cited in Sven Rydenfelt, “The Rise, Fall and Revival of Swedish Rent Control,” in Rent Control: Myths and Realities, Walter Block and Edgar Olsen, eds. (Vancouver: The Fraser Institute, 1981), pp. 213, 230.