The Eviction Non-Crisis

Ever notice that progressives have a habit of manufacturing a “crisis” when they have a policy goal in mind, but somehow manage to ignore real crises they’d rather not talk about. Consider the eviction “crisis”. 

In August of 2020 the Aspen Institute published a paper that claimed 30-40 million Americans are “at risk” of eviction in the next several months. One year and 2 months later those 30 – 40 million potential evictees failed to materialize. By September of 2021—a year after the Aspen paper—the New York Times reported that the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the national moratorium on evictions placed “…at least 2 million renters in immediate danger of eviction…”. Students of arithmetic will note that is somewhere between 28 and 38 million fewer than the Aspen paper. 

Not that the Aspen paper was an outlier in its general thrust. The Biden Justice Department weighed in by explaining how State Courts could prevent a “looming crisis” asserting that 6 million Americans were behind on their rent. Similarly, the American Prospect published an article in August of 2021 asserting that “The Eviction Crisis is a Rental Assistance Crisis”. It went on to assert that “a law designed not to work has put millions at risk of losing their homes”. 

Except that the projected surge in evictions just didn’t happen. As Reason Magazine reports, a month after the end of the federal eviction moratorium eviction filings were up, but nowhere near the projected Tsunami. For instance, Princeton University’s Eviction Lab found an 8.75% increase in filings from August to September, but relative to historic averages, eviction filings in September were estimated to be 48.5% below historic averages.  

There are different explanations for this. Among them, state governments stepped in to help; landlords continued to cut tenants slack, and state and local governments finally got around to distributing the $46 billion in federal rent relief funds that they have. Regardless, the fist pounding and hysteria was unwarranted.

On the other hand we have accumulated debt of around $28 trillion that progressives would prefer not to talk about. And the main driver for all the accumulated debt is entitlement spending, which the Democratic Party is determined to increase by substantial amounts. The Social Security program is already insolvent; Medicare is due to run out of money in the mid 2030s, and Medicaid runs out in 2026. 

Those pesky little facts will not be part of a great “national conversation”. Nor will there be a “search for solutions” for the simple reason that there is no solution. There is not now, nor will there ever be enough money to cover the utopian fantasies of the left. The only question is how much the clean up costs will be when the music stops. 

JFB