Oct 092002

Carl McCall has been looking especially dour lately. You almost have to feel sorry for a Democrat who makes “education” (cf. The Children™) the chief theme of his campaign and then can’t convince the New York City teacher’s union to endorse him. Then you read to the bottom of the story and see this:

Meanwhile, McCall backed restoring thousands of city apartments to rent control. He said he would reverse a 1997 law signed by Pataki that removes controls if the monthly rent hits $2,000 and the tenant earns at least $150,000.

No rent deregulation, in New York, is so mild that it escapes the wrath of some friend of the working man. The direct beneficiaries, whose rent is controlled, and the indirect beneficiaries, who own, always gang up on the victims, who rent, or who can’t afford to move here at all because the housing market is so absurd. The constituency for rent control here is so firmly entrenched that it doesn’t bother with arguments any more. (Full disclosure: I own my apartment. Nice try.)

This kindles fond memories of State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno’s oh-so-radical proposal, a few years ago, that rent-controlled apartment go back on the market when their current residents died. The one semi-serious argument in favor of rent control was the “widows and orphans” problem — all those poor people thrown into the street, eating out of garbage cans, the minute rent controls were lifted. Well, you’d think Bruno’s proposal would dispose of that, right? Wrong. It was soundly defeated, and we haven’t heard a word about rent deregulation in New York City since.

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