Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The finest city other people's money will buy, part II

Previous: The finest city other people's money will buy

USA Today reported yesterday that "the AFL-CIO plans to invest $1 billion to develop 10,000 affordable homes and a new downtown hotel" in New Orleans. That's an average of $100,000 per house, excluding the hotel, so actual per-home spending will be less. It's pretty smart of the AFL-CIO, which will sell the homes for a profit, and meanwhile get dues off any money used to employ its members (almost like interest).

It's also pretty smart because, like with everything else about Katrina, you can expect the federal government to give our coerced tax dollars to "help" the rebuilding. The AFL-CIO will undoubtedly make more than a tidy profit since the feds will make the rest of us shoulder some of the rebuilding costs. Who do you think will pay for the "$700 million jazz district downtown"? The same who ultimately will supply the "billions in federal dollars to buy people out of their flood-damaged homes [that] is set to begin flowing this summer." Charity is one thing, but this is some of the most blatant pocket-picking in American history.

I hate to harp that the free market is the best and only practical solution, but that's no more evident than here. Only government, by redistributing wealth, can create a scarcity of "mixed income" housing and too much "affordable housing" (which could well have the same poverty and crime as the "projects" that the War On Poverty gave us).

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