During a town hall event in the Bronx, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declared that housing be “legislated as a human right” according to a report from The Hill.
The freshman congresswoman said, “We have to make sure that housing is being legislated as a human right.”
She continued, “What does that mean? What it means is that our access and our ability and our guarantee to having a home comes before someone else’s privilege to earn a profit.”
“Housing is one of the most complicated policy issues that we have, period,” the Bronx congresswoman stated. “Because you have everything from City Council, from how things are zoned to state rent laws, to federal tax breaks and all of it comes together to make a picture that all too often enriches people who are already powerful and impoverishes people who are already vulnerable, and we cannot allow that to happen anymore.”
Ocasio-Cortez then pivoted the discussion towards environmentalism:
Twenty percent of asthma cases come from home environment issues. We just heard about it right now. And so, when we talk about our right to a clean home, when we talk about retrofitting buildings, what we’re talking about is cleaning our air and cleaning our water, because when we talk about what housing as a right means, it doesn’t mean that you have a right to four crumbling walls and dirty floor.
She broke down what respectable housing looks like:
What it means is that we all have a right to dignified housing, good heat, responsible structures, low noise, clean air and clean water that’s at an affordable price.
“So what that shows me and what that tells us is that what we have been taught that is a luxury should not be a luxury,” she adds.
Housing has largely been affected in the state due to sub-optimal policies like rent control, zoning, and other government policies that restrict the building of new housing units.
Treating housing as a human right will likely come with myriad of unintended consequences just like other forms of government intervention.
The laws of economics don’t care about feel-good talking points.
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