The New Redistributionist Threat
by Vedran Vuk
begun to advocate goods that were once luxuries to be unalienable
rights. Healthcare is now considered by many to be a necessity for
all in America. Supposedly, all governments should establish "free"
healthcare or at least healthcare for the impoverished. For centuries,
health and medicine has been a privilege afforded by the few. Thanks
to emerging world trade and divisions of labor, medicine is more
affordable than ever.
has created a calling for free healthcare. The thought is that society
is now rich enough to provide all citizens with healthcare. As a
Christian, I believe in helping those in need. I want to give health
to everyone on this Earth, but I refuse to do so by first robbing
another person through taxation. If I use violence, force, and coercion
to achieve my benevolent ends, I cannot consider myself a moral
Christian any longer.
are made under the Democratic Partyís new push for "living
wages." I desire everyone to have a good job. But, once again,
I will not institute such a policy with aggression. (I also believe
that tampering with market forces does much more harm than good
for everyone.) When the government acts to help people, they are
at their best thieves such as Robin Hood. At their worst, government
is a mafia offering protection.
A new redistributionist
threat has arrived with the winds of Katrina, the right to a home.
I donít mean home as a literal shelter protecting a person from
the elements. I mean a theoretical idea relative to each person
in his or her own mind.
The free market
is having little part in re-modeling New Orleans. In a free market,
those with high interests in returning to the flood stricken area
will pay higher prices for life in New Orleans. The willingness
of consumers to pay higher prices indicates a great value placed
on living in the city or a great financial interest in residing
FEMA and the
federal government are constantly redoubling their efforts to open
projects and bring trailers to New Orleans and the surrounding area.
Why must people who are unwilling to get jobs and pay rent be provided
with these accommodations? Why must the millions of tax payers in
the rest of America be forced to accommodate the "home"
preferences of a few?
have large interests in New Orleans have returned to the area. Those
that do not or do not provide valuable services for the city have
not returned. There is a new dangerous idea floating around that
people have a right to a theoretical "home" and the government
must meet these demands at the expense of other citizens.
Now, I must
tell the readers a secret. Well, itís not really a secret at all.
Everyone in New Orleans knows it. There is no housing shortage!
Since Hurricane Katrina, I have known dozens of people who were
looking for new apartments. I was amazed that everyone found a place!
The government and media have been claiming a housing shortage after
all. Honestly, one might not be able to find a house at the exact
location that you might desire. But one will find a housing in relatively
Yes, some paid
a higher price. However, the prices are not insanely inflated. The
search process and final decisions took no more than three days
on average. It is still affordable to have a job as a waiter with
a room mate and afford decent housing in New Orleans. Some have
even discovered places with deals that would have been considered
great before Katrina.
forces of redistribution make claims about the lack of housing.
This is all media and government hype. Anyone that wants to come
back to the city can. The jobs pay more than ever and housing is
available. Most people forget the residents who are never coming
back. There are lots of houses for rent from people that do not
plan on returning to New Orleans. Even in the non-flooded areas,
former residents are renting. The incentive to rent is high. When
incentives for profit are large, the market will adjust by more
home owners leaving and renting. This has largely created the supply
of houses in New Orleans.
If set as a
precedent, the right to a home could become a deep problem in the
economy. Every time a disaster rolls around, tax payers will have
to give money to those that want to live in a specific geographic
area no matter how unstable, not for economic reasons but for person
feelings toward a location.
has been seen for a long time through subsidized poverty in project
buildings throughout the country. Nearly all our ancestors in America
are people who crossed oceans for jobs, learned new languages, and
left their homes. Sadly, our country has changed to the point where
some citizens feel that the government should be responsible for
providing jobs and housing in a theoretical "home."
A person does
not have a Constitutional right to live in one place. The local
government is not responsible for bringing jobs into an area and
maintaining public housing just because someone considers the place
home. This should not be the role of government. If a person wants
to live in a particular area, they should do so by their own means.
Taxpayers should not have to subsidize someoneís feelings of home
Vuk [send him mail] is a student
of Economics at Loyola University of New Orleans, and a 2006 Summer
Fellow at the Mises Institute.
© 2006 LewRockwell.com