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  • To truly be theft, it would require the seizure of value in a way that was unexpected.

    So building a property knowing that it will be rent controlled is not theft, it's a deal between the developer and the city to knowingly keep an area cheap and underdeveloper.

    Likewise, buying a property with rent control is not theft. They know what they are getting, and as a result pair fair (and as he says, low) price.

    Now having rent control IMPOSED on you when you current do not, THAT is theft.
    • Wikipedia [] suggests that rent control was imposed a long time ago, but seems to suggest that it's not being imposed on new constructions. I would presume that buyers today would know their rent control status. So by this information, I agree that rent control doesn't seem like theft.

      On the other hand, Wikipedia also says that in some areas of rent control landlords are restricted in their rent raises even with respect to CPI. "The frequency and degree of rent increases are limited, usually to the rate of inflation defined by the Consumer Price Index or to a fraction thereof. (San Francisco, for example, allows annual rent increases of 60% of the CPI, up to a maximum 7%." Again, it sounds like a case of buyer-beware, but it certainly doesn't make a sound investment to buy a place which will lose value in real terms every year. (Some places allow you to jump the rental rate up to market rate during a vacancy, which will help offset these losses, but of course first you need the vacancy).

      The arguments for and against in the Wikipedia article are well written. I'm inclined to prefer the against point of view even though I feel that Gary M. Galles failed to write a convincing case at all (such is partially due to the limits of newspaper letter word limits I imagine). Still, I imagine that Australia's solution to the same problem [] would probably seem weird to people comfortable with rental controls and unfamiliar with negative gearing. ;)

      On the topic of the original post, I have to agree with your next point. Society works on the idea that things have value. Time for example. Even in a money-less world I'm not going to build you a house, grow all your food for you and otherwise spend my time and effort on your basic needs unless I get something out of it. Perhaps it's a fair exchange of work, and that's okay. But money's just a way of allowing me to exchange my work with someone else, and then use that past transaction to pay you to do work for me now. Having governmental control over money means that we have a fixed (in the moment) value for each unit. Thus I can determine how many hours I need to work at the rate my employer will pay me in order to afford to pay you to do something for me.

      It's credit we need to reign back in. I'm not saying businesses shouldn't get loans, that people shouldn't be able to get mortgages on houses etc. But credit cards, store cards, personal loans, car loans are so easy to get, and it's this availability of credit that is causing so much trouble. If people honestly had to save for things, rather than just putting it on credit and worrying about it later; there would be a lot less financial stress.

      Of course it'd also be bad for the economy.