Williams with Sowell – Minimum Wage [3:47]
I love Thomas Sowell. One of his books totally turned me around from being a dumb “I just want to be nice and feel good about myself” Liberal to an educated “If policies hurt people, they need to be changed” Conservative.
I was particularly impressed by Sowell’s discussion of how rent control laws drive housing costs up and housing quality/availability down, thereby most harming those at the bottom of the socio-economic heap. The two cities in the U.S. that have the oldest and strictest rent control laws – New York and San Francisco – also have the highest housing costs. This is not a coincidence. The laws CAUSED it.
I was better able to follow Sowell’s data on the rent control issue than on some other, less familiar topics, because dh and I once were part owners and full-time, live-in managers of a 6-unit apartment building. We were there from the initial investment – finding a property and purchasing it – through renovating, managing and living with tenants as neighbors, and finally selling it.
I completely understood what Sowell was saying about rent control laws, not only because I’d been a renter for many years and then seen every aspect of the mechanics of owning rental property, but also because I’d visited a friend once in a rent controlled apartment in NYC. It was a tiny, crappy little place that he paid way too much to live in because housing was so scarce. The landlord wouldn’t do anything to maintain the place, because he wasn’t getting most of the rent the tenant paid.
The landlord – who had invested in the building and had to pay all the bills and taxes – only got the capped, controlled amount of rent the law allowed. It was the renter who had happened to be in unit when rent control went into effect who was making money off the deal! It was a total scam. This person had nothing of her own invested in or at risk and did nothing at all to maintain the property. She didn’t even live in the building any more. She just kept the lease in her name, so the landlord couldn’t legally raise the rent; then she sub-let to other people, who she charged more than she paid the landlord!
I was totally not surprised to learn in the video that the very first minimum wage law was designed to benefit white union workers at the expense of black non-union workers. Minimum wage is just another example of how the Left demonizes the Right as “uncaring” when it is the Left’s policies that most hurt the poor.