The Corner

Politics & Policy

Location, Location, Location

Newly-constructed single family homes for sale in Encinitas, Calif., July 31, 2019. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

Overly restrictive housing regulations hinder the economy — maybe a lot — by reducing both geographic and social mobility. So I am sympathetic to Richard Kahlenberg’s op-ed in the New York Times urging progressives to make it a priority to relax these regulations.

What I don’t understand is the political economy of his proposal for the Biden administration to force or cajole localities to loosen up. The problem largely originates with extremely progressive localities, such as those in the Bay Area. If progressives in such places could be persuaded to support liberalization, no federal action would be needed. If they can’t, then how is it possible to create a progressive-led national coalition with enough strength to foist liberalization on them?

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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