Making Life Difficult so Relief Is Cronyism


The American Interest notes a curious, telling, and predictable development in the national hub of progressive lunacy, San Francisco.  In the city, employees of public schools will enjoy special protections against eviction for non-payment of rent:

… the same Board of Supervisors that refuses to amend zoning rules to bring down prices is instead handing out eviction exemptions to favored political constituencies. And of course, these new rules will drive up rents even higher by making landlords wary of signing leases with public employees.

Just as Chicago is the poster-child for the destruction wrought by blue city budgeting brought to its logical extreme, San Francisco is a case study in what happens when pie-in-the-sky progressives are allowed to set housing policy. The Golden Gate City is a idyllic haven for the tech and financial elite, who enjoy access to luxurious apartments without a high-rise in sight, a Whole Foods on every corner, and as much high-end shopping and dining as their hearts desire. Meanwhile, working class people—including, ironically, many of the progressive artists and activists who historically backed San Francisco’s exclusionary zoning laws—are being forced across the bay to places like Oakland and San Leandro, and the city’s homeless population is so large that the city is installing outdoor urinals in its public parks.

As always, an interesting question is whether this is just the natural progression of the habits of progressivism or a deliberate strategy.  The progressive habit of piling on new rules and exceptions as prior rules and requirements create hardship (especially hardship for friends and allies) is bound to lead to special privileges for those who are connected to powerful people.  How aware progressives are of this natural tendency probably varies from person to person.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    “The political condition of Rhode Island is notorious, I acknowledged, and it is shameful. But Rhode Islanders are ashamed of it. There is the shining truth about this state. Not many American communities are so aware of their political degradation, none has a healthier body of conservative discontent; and the common sense of this good-will, unorganized and impotent though it is, makes the Rhode Islander resent the interest of his neighbors. “Our evils are our troubles,” he says; “they don’t concern the rest of you. Why should we be singled out? We are no worse than others. We are better than some; we want to set things right, but can’t. Conditions are peculiar.”

    “A State for Sale”, Lincoln Steffens, 1905