Thursday, June 11, 2009

Marginalizing Affordable Housing

Massachusetts has a law on its books called 40B. Formerly called the *snob law*, it allows developers in towns with less then 10% *affordable housing* to bypass local zoning laws if they are going to include some so-called affordable units in their plans.

In the larger scheme of our thoroughly statist government, that doesn't sound so bad, now does it?

But there's more.

Not only does 40B permit a zoning override, IT PROVIDES FUNDING to the developers through direct private market extortion.

There's some state 40B *bank* that's been forcibly funded by local banks. This bank then doles out the loot with scant oversight. In fact, developers can utilize their OWN APPRAISERS, their OWN CONTRACTORS (with their wives mysteriously on the payrolls), and engage in sundry other shenanigans. Without getting too far into the details, let's just say that 40B has got to be one of the biggest scams I've ever heard about. It's not just un-Constitutional, it's been a total broad daylight boondoggle. One accusation puts the pillage minimally at $100 million!

Yesterday, I received a mailing from Apparently, that is some organization devoted to fighting this codified theft. Though, I had to reread it twice to figure out what the flyer was saying.

It was horribly written - so much so that halfway through it I wasn't sure whether it was FOR or AGAINST the law. This garbage had spelling mistakes; and was incoherent and poorly articulated.

The fact is, and I see this time and again from well-intentioned Morons, it's hard enough to *argue* with outright thugs - but it's nearly impossible when using weak-a$$ argumentation!

There another site out there devoted to the same cause. Branded at the top of its web page is *Preserve the Environment*. [Eyes rolling.]

See what I mean about putting forth the wrong counter-arguments?

Alright, don't want to linger on this subject - I just wanted to put it out there. Here's one line from that first website worth highlighting:

Whatever the problems are, one thing is clear: Massachusetts is the only state to use 40B and after 40 years, we rank 49th in the nation in housing affordability.

What's truly disgusting, and depressing, is that despite abject failure and gross malfeasance, that none of our invertebrate pols here in Mass have the stones to stand up and speak out against the disaster of *affordable housing*.


Taylor Conant said...


I think YOU'RE making the wrong argument. These programs are put in place not because someone thought they would "work" but because they work as they do. As far as catering to special interests and assisting politicians win votes, ALL government policies work phenomenally. The ones that don't, get cancelled.

Funny Circus Bears said...

Why would pols cancel a program from they have lined their own pockets for many years?

CaptiousNut said...

I don't disagree, but I'm not so cynical.

Most of these social architects, IMNSHO, really do believe in what they are doing; they honestly *think* whatever the ill effects, IT'D BE WORSE without the statist meddling.

Taylor Conant said...


I bring to your attention to related discussions:

The Myth of "Failed" Policies by Robert Higgs (short read)

and an argument I am having in the comments section of a recent Mises blog post, here:

Tell me what you think!