I love the title of Ron Utt’s latest Heritage Foundation paper: “Slouching Toward a ‘Huddled Masses’ Housing Policy.” The report delivers on the promise, identifying one of the Obama administration’s scarier schemes for transforming American society via regulatory fiat. Here’s a key, funny point:
One option for the reduction in energy use that has come to the attention of the U.S. Department of Energy is to pack more people into smaller apartments–a prospect more akin to living standards in Calcutta. Perhaps this Carteresque austerity trend will encourage the Environmental Protection Agency to declare that if Americans weren’t so fussy about personal hygiene, vast volumes of fresh water could be saved.
The push to raise housing densities and reduce housing freedom won’t be limited to housing policy alone. It’ll be evident across a range of areas: transportation, air-quality rules, even tax policy and health care (steering gas-tax funds to sidewalks is an anti-obesity tool to reduce Medicare and Medicaid costs, you see).
Reason Foundation scholar Sam Staley is following these issues closely, as are Randal O’Toole at the Cato Institute and scores of think tankers at the state level (visit their trade association, the State Policy Network, here and click on your state for more information). You should be follow these issues closely, too, if you value the right to choose where you want to live, how you will house your family, and what means of travel you will use to commute, shop, and recreate.