I’ll get straight to the point. If he and other Latinos, especially elected officials, don’t understand the “progressive” politics they champion will destroy the city for poor Latinos, then that’s just what’s going to happen. Public skepticism about a union-led recall campaign will not change that. However, it does provide an opportunity for reflection.
If that happens, the new voters will be even more progressive than the current ones.
Here’s what rent control always does: It discourages building upkeep and encourages turning apartments into condos. You think the homeless problem in Santa Ana is bad? Wait till rent control rips up what’s left of cheap housing there.
Rent Control BackfiresGuess which American city has the highest rents? According to Insider Monkey, it’s New York, New York, at $3,570 for a one bedroom apartment. Yet the Big Apple has imposed rent control since World War II. It was supposed to be “temporary” for the war effort. But 78 years after Hitler killed himself, they’re still imposing it.
It’s simple economics: If you regulate something too much, you get less of it and the price rises for what’s left. Indeed, deregulation is the rationale behind some of the decent legislation passed in recent years by liberal Democrats in the California Legislature to ease the housing crisis by securing more property rights.
Rent Control Guarantees GentrificationThe fact is California, despite millions leaving the state in recent years, remains a highly desirable place whose population soon will be increasing again. It’s what I call the Manhattanization of California. Nobody goes to New York City thinking it will be cheap. They go for other reasons. Those who once lived there cheaply left long ago.
California, especially the coastal areas, is now becoming like that. Millions have headed to Texas, Florida, Tennessee, and other states for cheaper living. But those who stay will have adapted to the higher costs.
Rent control also works differently in rich areas than in poor ones, where it breeds decay and slums. In rich areas, which Santa Ana now is, rent control brings more rapid gentrification, meaning rich people displacing the poor. Rent control will make that happen even faster.
As Mr. Arellano has celebrated many times, including in this new article, Santa Ana sports a vibrant downtown especially attractive to young people.
It’s also the county seat with numerous federal, state, and local government buildings, including court houses. That makes it attractive to government workers, lawyers, and other high-paid officials seeking to avoid a commute. They can afford an overpriced condo converted from a rent-controlled apartment.
He misses something: the “strange bedfellows” partnership of the Santa Ana Police Officers Association (POA) and the Apartment Association of Orange County (AAOC). Usually this and other apartment associations oppose police and other public-employee unions, who always want to increase taxes and regulations.
Conclusion: Latinos Need Free Markets TooMr. Arellano writes a lot about Latinos and politics. So let me end on a positive note in that department. Argentina just elected President Javier Milei, a self-described “anarcho-capitalist” and follower of libertarian economist Murray Rothbard, naming one of his English Mastiffs “Murray.” Mr. Milei even has donned a superhero uniform and called himself General AnCap (for anarcho-capitalist).
At one campaign rally, he wielded a chainsaw, promising to use it to cut up the country’s taxes and regulations that are even more convoluted than Santa Ana’s.
“In our own name and in the name of the rest of the Spanish libertarians and anarcho-capitalists we want to send Javier Milei our most enthusiastic congratulations,” they wrote.
“Today is a historic day for liberty only comparable to the fall of the Berlin Wall and communism. For the first time in history an anarcho-capitalist has won the Presidency of a country as important as Argentina. This shows that in the end the ideas of liberty against statism, left or right, end up prevailing. [Ludwig von] Mises, [Nobel economics laureate Friedrich] Hayek, Rothbard and the great thinkers and theoreticians of liberty planted the ideas that Milei have had the enormous merit of making attractive to the broadest layers of the population and, especially, to the most vulnerable who are always the main victims of the manipulations of socialists and interventionists of all stripes.”
Mr. Arellano and Ms. Lopez should lead the rest of the council and other major city officials to Mr. Milei’s inauguration in Buenos Aires on Dec. 10. Then they can learn firsthand how freedom is the real way to help the poor—and everybody.