A Good Primer for the Economic Justification of the Harmon’s Case



Want Cheaper Rent? End Rent Control

By Amanda Williams, 02/03/2012

The Supreme Court may have a chance this year to determine whether rent control is constitutional or whether it represents a “taking” without just compensation. A topic worthy of debate—but in my view, there are sound economic reasons rent control (like many government regulations), however well intentioned, is woefully misguided. To see why, let’s return briefly to Economics 101.

Anyone who took an economics class will likely have (possibly painful) flashbacks in examining Exhibit 1, which shows a generic supply and demand graph, with price and quantity on the x- and y-axes, respectively. Basic economic theory expects a supply curve to slope upward because the higher the price a good’s provider can obtain, the more he’s willing to supply. On the flip side, demand for most goods is downward sloping because, on average, consumers are less-inclined to consume higher quantities of a good the more it costs. The intersection of the two determines the price and quantity the market supports (commonly known as equilibrium).

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Affordable Housing Advocates Support Harmon Rent Control Challenge, Part 2



January 26, 2012 
Continued from yesterday’s Part1.]
In yesterday’s Part 1, we met the Don Quixote of rentcontrol, lifelong New Yorker James Harmon, whose case challenging the statutelost on appeal to the U. S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, but may be heardby the Supreme Court granting certiorari.  To fill in the legalarguments, I’ve used RichardEpstein’s Wall Street Journal op-ed (Palatino brown) and Cato’sdescription of its amicus brief (Georgia gray), because the NewYork Times’s (December 19, 2011) story, though sympathetic,glides over them, preferring to focus on the long-suffering plaintiff:

Affordable Housing Advocates Support Harmon Rent Control Challenge, Part 1


January 25, 2012 
Even dropped from the Empire State Building, it can’t kill anyone
Even dropped from the Empire State Building, it can’t kill anyone
Though ’tis a consummation devoutly to be wished, I had given up believing that rent control would ever be ruled an economic taking without due process or just compensation (even though it is both), because the procedural and administrative defenses mounted by a determined confiscatory local government are so tortuous to besiege and scale that for nearly forty years no one has. 
Destined to have his name in the law books? James Harmon


Destined to have his name in the law books? James Harmon

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Cato Institute Explains its Support of Harmon Lawsuit

Will The Supreme Court End New York’s Rent Control Laws?

by Reason TV
Posted Jan 20th 2012 

“If you wanted to destroy a city’s housing – short of bombing – the best way to do it is rent control,” says Cato legal associate Trevor Burrus.

While most cities in America long ago got rid of rent control, New York remains a bastion of government-mandated limits on what landlords can charge renters. About 50 percent of New York’s rental market is affected by rent control or rent stabilization, policies that keep rents artificially low and produce housing shortages, higher overall housing costs, and all sorts of corruption.

The court case Harmon v. Kimmel may finally bring an end to rent control laws that have been on the books in one form or another since the 1940s. James D. Harmon owns a building in Manhattan where the tenants are paying rents that are about 60 percent below the going market rate. After losing various legal battles at lower levels, Harmon has petitioned the Supreme Court to hear his argument that rent stabilization is a form of takings that should be prohibited under the Constitution. The Court has not yet announced whether it will hear the case but has asked the state and city of New York to respond to Harmon’s argument.

Cato’s Burrus wrote a friend of the court brief on the case and explains why rent control and rent stabilization are bad at promoting affordable housing and abridgments of economic freedom.
Shot and edited by Joshua Swain.
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Source: Big Government / reason.tv