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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Shut up Adam Vaughan

From the man who wanted to tax night clubs for using sidewalks, comes this brilliant piece of policy: telling developers what kind of homes they can build.

Toronto Councillor Adam Vaughan wants to ensure that 10% of condos built are "family friendly." He is concerned that downtown will become a "Child free zone." Has Mr. Vaughan given any thought to the possibility that most people with children don't want to live downtown? And if they did the developers would build homes for them to capture that market.

This is just pure idiotic micromanagement by a dimwitted political hack.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on November 7, 2009 | Permalink

Comments

Hugh,

Are you still posting while drunk? I hope not. Let's look at the facts:

"Has Mr. Vaughan given any thought to the possibility that most people with children don't want to live downtown?"

I don't know, but his claim is that it is better for the community as a whole if there are more children living in it. So if people with children do want to live there, then they need spaces they can live in. And if people with children don't want to live there then it might be possible to change their minds by making changes to the area, such as controlling the sidewalk crowding problem, among others.


"And if they did the developers would build homes for them to capture that market."

How adorably naïve! Land in his district is a limited resource, so it is quite possible that demand could vastly outstrip supply. As a result, it could happen that only one segment of the population gets accommodation (literally!) while another segment is ignored. In fact, in Vaughan's district 2.9% of residential spaces built in 2005 and 2006 had 3-bedrooms or more. In 2007 and 2008 that number rose to 10.6%. (The total number of spaces built also rose to almost double what it had been). The reason for the increase? Developers were asked to voluntarily increase the number and they did so. So if there was no demand for these spaces, we would already be seeing that these new ones were being left vacant and developers would not have built them. Clearly, then, your understanding of how the market works is wrong.


Overall, are Vaughan's proposals good ones? I don't know. But what I do know is drunken ranting bloggers' arguments should not convince anyone that they are not.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-11-07 6:24:01 AM


To your first point, why is it the government's job to encourage families to live in one place over another? It is social engineering and it is pointless. If people want to live in neighbourhoods with lots of children they can move to one. People who don't want to live in places with lots of children have that option as well. This is nothing but pointless government control.

To your second point, if the demand outstrips supply then so what? Where is it written that people are guaranteed the right to live where ever they want to? They have the freedom to live where they like (or they would if it wasn't for zoning laws) but they don't have the right. Do you see the difference?

I don't know what the demand for family homes in the down town area are. If developers voluntarily increased the supply than that is their business and is not really my concern. My objection is that they may be FORCED to increase that supply. I don't see how you could have missed that.

Too bad I didn't convince you. But since you clearly didn't understand my post I'm not surprised.

Posted by: Hugh MacIntyre | 2009-11-07 7:34:37 AM


Hugh Hugh Hugh .... it seems you are drunk, even if only drunk on all that ideology you swallowed.


"To your first point, why is it the government's job to encourage families to live in one place over another? It is social engineering and it is pointless."

One of the things that government does best and is needed for is solving co-ordination problems. Things like the tragedy of the commons can happen if no one makes any rules to regulate or restrict the use of the commons. Social coordination does not happen by magic even when everyone wants that to happen. So if there are lots of people living in Vaughan's district who want more families living there, lots of families who want to move there, and developers who are happy to voluntarily provide those spaces (as has happened in the last two years), then it is certainly not "pointless" and not even really social engineering. It is just a way to give all the people what they want by helping to co-ordinate their activities.


"To your second point, if the demand outstrips supply then so what? Where is it written that people are guaranteed the right to live where ever [sic] they want to?"

Ummm, what? Please point to where Vaughn or I (or anyone) said that families have "are guaranteed the right" to live there. You are attacking claims no one has made. Typical drunk behaviour....


"My objection is that they may be FORCED to increase that supply."

Yes, and that objection is made nonsense by your prior admission that you "don't know what the demand for family homes in the down town [sic] area are [sic]." Since developers seem quite happy to provide either 2.9% or 10.6% of spaces to 3-bedroom units and the broader public just might prefer the latter, it just might hurt no one to require the higher amount. Hard as it might be for you to believe, there might be no victims or even potential victims here. To be able to make a case that there is or might be victims, you first have to find out about the demand for family homes in the area. Until then, you only have an ideological rant.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-11-07 7:56:43 AM


Ah, the fresh smell of bureaucracy, first thing in the morning. Using his position to justify his job and pension.

What would be the price on a 3 bedroom condo in downtown TO be? Affordable? To whom, bureaucrats? School teachers, or do we bus them out to the "burbs" for that? Nah. More like home school, 'cause if you can afford a 3 bed condo downtwon TO, you can afford private tutors, eh?

Posted by: po'ed in TO | 2009-11-07 9:09:56 AM


One of the things government does best is social coordination? Are you kidding? Why don't you ask the millions of people who died of starvation in 1960s China how well government coordinates. But whatever if you want to blindly follow your own dillusions that is your issue.

And again you are missing my point. I have no problem with voluntary increasing the supply. Where did I say I did? I have an issue with forced increase in supply. If you don't understand the difference between voluntary and forced then...then well...I'll get my 10 year old cousin to explain it to you.

What does my knowledge of the amount of demand have to do with anything? If people want to provide it they can if they don't want to they shouldn't have to. The victim or potential victim is the developer that may not want to build 'family friendly' homes. Perhaps doing so would lead to a smaller profit, in that case why should he make less money just because Vaughan thinks having kids around is swell?

Seriously Fact Check stop dancing around the issue. Why should someone be FORCED to build homes that they don't want to?

Posted by: Hugh MacIntyre | 2009-11-07 9:11:42 AM


Lou,

That makes no sense. How does ensuring that 10% of condos have 3 bedrooms going to decrease the price of housing. If anything it is likely to increase the price of homes since limited space would drive down the number of condos that can be built. Plus as po'ed points out the condos themselves are likely to be expensive. Most families would be better able to afford a suburban home anyway.

But all that doesn't matter. Even if what you wrote made sense it still wouldn't justify this government interference.

Posted by: Hugh MacIntyre | 2009-11-07 9:17:47 AM


Hugh,

"Why don't you ask the millions of people who died of starvation in 1960s China how well government coordinates."

Silly boy! The fact that authoritarian governments are capable of creating massive suffering by ignoring the wishes and needs of people is not an argument against the claim that democratic governments can be very good at co-ordinating the preferences that people have. In fact, it has nothing to do with it. Nice non sequitur.


"And again you are missing my point. I have no problem with voluntary increasing the supply."

I know. You will notice (if you are not too drunk to see straight) that I did not claim that you were against voluntary increases of supply. Again, you attack claims no one made.


"The victim or potential victim is the developer that may not want to build 'family friendly' homes."

Yes, so all you have to do to show that this is a bad law is to show that there is at least one developer who is unwilling to build such homes. Without being able to show that any such developer exists, you have no basis to claim that this law is anything other than a solution to a co-ordination problem. And since developers have already and on a voluntary basis been providing the family-friendly homes needed, it seems unlikely you can show that anyone is being forced to do anything that they don't want to do. Got any evidence for your claim? I didn't think so.


"Seriously Fact Check stop dancing around the issue. Why should someone be FORCED to build homes that they don't want to?"

Of course not! Now all you have to do is show that this law will force ANYONE to do ANYTHING that they are not already willing to do. The ball is ion your court, Hugh.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-11-07 9:25:54 AM


"The fact that authoritarian governments are capable of creating massive suffering by ignoring the wishes and needs of people is not an argument against the claim that democratic governments can be very good at co-ordinating the preferences that people have."

I admit the China example is an extreme example but I have others. Rent control, NEP, and the Green Zone all instantly pop into mind. Just because a government is democratic doesn't make it perfectly responsive to the desires of the public. Neither does the market place, but the market place is far better at it and has the moral virtue of being voluntary.

"You will notice (if you are not too drunk to see straight) that I did not claim that you were against voluntary increases of supply"

Then why do you keep harping on the fact that they have voluntarily increased the supply. Why does that matter? I don't care. You said it as if it defeated my social engineering complaint. It doesn't, just because someone is willing to do something doesn't justify someone forcing that person to do it. It takes away their choice and their ability to change their mind.

"Yes, so all you have to do to show that this is a bad law is to show that there is at least one developer who is unwilling to build such homes."

No all I have to do is demonstrate that someone could be forced to do something unwillingly to show that it is a bad law. Your hole argument rests on this notion that just because I am willing to do something that it is acceptable for the government to tell me to do that thing. Why shouldn't I be allowed to change my mind in the future? By what rights does the government command me in this matter?

You have just agreed that if people are being forced against their will it would be wrong, don't you think that it is inevitable that at some point someone would not want to comply? So then if that isn't good shouldn't we avoid that by not having this law?

Besides if people are already doing something that the government wants them to do. Even if you think social engineering is a good thing, don't you think that this is a waste of the councils time?

Posted by: Hugh MacIntyre | 2009-11-07 9:44:04 AM


Ok, first of all, there is absolutetly no benefit to encouraging children to live in downtown condos. That is just ridiculous. Second, three room apartments and condos are notoriously difficult to rent out. This means that buildings have less two bedroom units, and potentially several unrented (or sporadically rented) three bedroom apartments. Result? Higher rents. There is absolutely no rational argument in favour of this proposition.

p.s. democratic governments are better at co-ordinating social preferences? Are you mad? Why do you think social programs universally fail to achieve their stated goals in democratic societies? Please do pick up a volume on public choice theory. Better yet, visit a public housing complex and see how great it is (I suggest Jane and Finch).

Posted by: Steve Lafleur | 2009-11-07 10:48:45 AM


Mr Check, this is not an example of social coordination. Craigslist is coordination. Government is coercion.

Posted by: Lawrence Kong | 2009-11-07 11:31:07 AM


"Is my argument that foolish when you put it into this perspective?"

Shot answer: yes.

By arguing for the ballet I guess you mean argue for hosting the ballet with public funds. I don't think it is likely you'll ever hear me make that argument.

As for attracting employees. A lot of people commute, I don't see why the city of Toronto has to gaurentee housing for anyone.

Posted by: Hugh MacIntyre | 2009-11-07 11:33:48 AM


"You know yourself, government only gets bigger, yet your position is they shouldn't be involved in our lives"

I oppose the increase in size of government and I think it is wrong to get involved in people's lives. I don't know why this surprises you. You think it is great to use force to make your preferences dominate. I am fine letting people decide for themselves.

You said that the argument for the "family friendly" housing is the same as the argument for ballet. I tried my best to understand what you meant by that, you were very unclear. I am against both so...what is your point?

I support the expansion of the 404, as well several other improvement to the highway system. But whatever, I say again why should the City gaurantee that people can live there.

Posted by: Hugh MacIntyre | 2009-11-07 12:50:38 PM


http://freedloadsiteall.blogspot.com/

Posted by: bilal | 2009-11-07 1:49:50 PM


From the man who wanted to tax night clubs for using sidewalks,
Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on November 7, 2009

What's your issue with that? Most libertarians want to tax people for using the sidewalks. In fact most libertarians want to sell off the sidewalks to private companies who will then put tolls on them.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-11-07 3:54:16 PM


Where's the Toronto expert Zebulon Pike?

Posted by: Nothing New Under the Sun | 2009-11-07 4:54:56 PM


Lou, there is nothing wrong with enlightened self interest, which is what you are talking about. There is also nothing wrong with a developer picking the customers that they want based on the most money they can get. There is no reason why families should be gaurenteed a spot to live in downtown Toronto. Freedom is not about getting all the decisions you want, it is about the ability to make decisions.

I don't know what the stipulation regarding development is in other cities. It doesn't really matter. Just because others are doing something stupid doesn't make it any less stupid.

Posted by: Hugh MacIntyre | 2009-11-08 4:37:18 AM


Hugh,

Although I have absolutely no idea if families are being underserved by downtown developers and I am generally very suspicious of government interference in the market, I respectfully have to disagree with you.

This is a property issue. As long as the vast majority of land is owned by the state (whether federal, provincial, or municipal), politicians will have a say in how it is managed. You absolutely cannot have private developers do whatever they want because they do not own the land and have no stake in the consequences. There is no free market in this case because of ownership conditions.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-11-08 6:07:18 PM


I would question the sanity of anyone who would want to raise kids in a downtown high rise. Or ANY high rise. I live in a 20 story building in west Ottawa, and I can here screaming kids through the walls sometimes, and I wonder how parents can do it. To have to take the elevator down 15 or 20 floors just to let the kids play outside for awhile... it must be a hell of a strain. With housing prices so far out of reach for so many Canadians (due to inflationary monetary policy, rising property taxes and retarded zoning laws designed to discourage the building of detached single-family dwellings), raising kids in high rises is something a lot of people are going to be stuck doing. No wonder no one is having kids anymore.

Posted by: Raging Ranter | 2009-11-08 9:39:51 PM


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