Hands Off My Condo: Rekindling Bad British Columbian Memories
What I’m listening to.
The bubbling hysteria about Vancouver real estate prices is leading to some very stupid policy ideas like ‘cracking down’ on owners that buy the property and leave it empty.
If I buy a home, pay my taxes, and don’t break any law then it certainly is not the business of the state what I do with it.
Of course, everyone knows that this is also racist, targeting ‘immigrants’, mostly all entirely Chinese.
This is bad housing policy, racist and wrong and should be called out as so.
Don’t forget what happened to Japanese Canadians in British Columbia.
The City of Vancouver is planning to push for ways to reduce the number of vacant condos in a desperately tight housing market, but such plans could brush up against strata councils or owners who don’t want to invite more rentals.
Disclaimer: My wife and I have just bought a condo in Victoria to have a place in Canada where we can leave our possessions and be able to come back to. It is our permanent home.
We know that under Canadian law it will be safe, no one can take it away from us.
We've also chosen to buy in a strata that does not allow renters. Owner occupied only buildings tend to be better run with less problems.
As the owner of a condo what business is it of the state what I do with my private property as long as I pay my taxes?
What right does the state have to tax me if I chose to keep it empty?
The state has a role to play in creating equality of opportunity, regulating and taxing the economy, but targeting private property owners to solve a housing problem is the opposite of progressive.
If the state wants to solve the housing problem it can do two things: deregulate housing construction, and build housing, not take away my right to deal with my private property as I see fit.
And of course there is a very nasty racist tinge that brings back very bad memories of the glee that British Columbia took in stealing the property and interning people of Japanese descent, Canadians among them.
It's wrong and progressive Canadians should oppose it.
It also, I think, would not past a legal challenge, kudos to Premier Clark for leaning against this.
If it smells like a fish, it is a fish.
A new Vancouver study is fuelling fears about foreign buyers driving up housing costs in the city. But it's also sparking backlash from critics who say it unfairly targets Chinese people.
Police banging on doors at all hours of the day or night, ordering frightened occupants to gather up only what they could carry. Parents and children innocent of any crime ushered from their homes, herded into a central depot and sent out by train to remote camps.
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Twin Virtues: Inequality of Outcomes & Equality of Opportunity©
Ultimately, the most successful societies find the balance between the twin virtues of inequality of outcomes and equality of opportunity.
The new politics must marry the twin virtues of unequal outcomes and equality of opportunity.
When too few get too much everybody loses.
Feminism is about women living their lives on their own terms, marshalling the resources of the society to make that possible, and men embracing this as vital to a successful society and their own liberation.
Can it be that striving for equality of opportunity however imperfect the process not only benefits the individual but also creates benefits for the society that are unintended but wonderful?
Economics must be a 'moral enterprise' as much as politics claims to be. Economic outcomes need to be framed in terms of right and wrong not just efficiency if only because these often align in surprising ways that are good for society and the economy.
My vision of Canada is that any Canadian child from a family of limited circumstance can expect to have a chance at lifetime of unlimited opportunities.
Free trade is a wonderful thing. Time and time again economists have proven that free trade creates enormous wealth for each country 'on the whole'. Historians have shown that free trade is usually associated with rising political, social and cultural liberty. The perennial problem is that free trade always creates tremendous disruption for thousands even millions of individuals often concentrated in one geography, and where the state is idle, not investing in best in class instruments of social justice, free trade can be a permanent ticket out of the middle class, down, not up.
Tax policy should be founded on the principle of generating steady tax revenues sufficient to maximise environmentally sustainable economic growth in order to fund fair government.
Public policy should be designed to decrease inequality before the law and increase equality of opportunity.
Capitalism is not the problem; the problem is what we do with capitalism.
Content is always more difficult to argue than conspiracy.
Let the state regulate and the market operate (most things).
Welfare strategies are best designed as a hand up, not as a hand out.
Political debate should not be fact free fighting.
Explanation lasts longer than eloquence.
Always favour empowerment over dependency.
The most enduring public figures are embraced for the causes they fought for and not the concept of themselves they hoped others would remember them by.
Find your voice and don't be the echo of somebody else.
It is possible to operate on two different levels: the practical, cautious and conservative; and the realm of ideas, open, free, and radical.