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The Rent Is Too Damn High: What To Do About It, And Why It Matters More Than You Think Kindle Edition

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Length: 64 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

Product Description

Product Description

From prominent political thinker and widely followed Slate columnist, a polemic on high rents and housing costs—and how these costs are hollowing out communities, thwarting economic development, and rendering personal success and fulfillment increasingly difficult to achieve.

Rent is an issue that affects nearly everyone. High rent is a problem for all of us, extending beyond personal financial strain. High rent drags on our country’s overall rate of economic growth, damages the environment, and promotes long commutes, traffic jams, misery, and smog. Yet instead of a serious focus on the issue, America’s cities feature niche conversations about the availability of “affordable housing” for poor people. Yglesias’s book changes the conversation for the first time, presenting newfound context for the issue and real-time, practical solutions for the problem.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 976 KB
  • Print Length: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (March 6 2012)
  • Sold by: Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0078XGJXO
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #87,447 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa932adb0) out of 5 stars 459 reviews
205 of 232 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8a7dd74) out of 5 stars A positive review from a conservative April 5 2012
By jsmitty - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Yglesias is one of the real bright lights of the progressive blogosphere. As a conservative who has been reading politics his whole life, I can attest that he is "Exhibit A" in my overall case that liberals have dramatically upped their policy advocacy game, while conservatives have stagnated, largely intellectually stuck in the assumptions and narratives of the Reagan era. Back then most liberals were for rent controls, opposed development because they hated developers or on spurious environmental grounds, and thought the solution to inner city problems like crime and declining quality of life were more HUD grants. Liberals were fish in a barrel for conservatives armed with facts and only a rudimentary knowledge of how markets worked. And the evidence of failed liberal policies in inner cities was obvious to anyone with two eyes. People with jobs and money fled to the suburbs while urban liberals kept telling the same shaggy dog stories.

But Yglesias is different. For one thing, he's a mostly free market liberal who argues based on facts and data rather than on liberal tales of vicitimization and woe. As an exponent of the urban renaissance that came about through better policing, longer prison sentences for street criminals, and the gradual demolition of public housing (aka govt. created slums), he has alot of interesting observations not only in the ways liberals have gone wrong when it comes to housing policy but how conservatives have as well. Although lacking in any formal economics training, he shows all the various ways in which markets could address and would address the affordable housing shortage in many of the best big cities, but can't because of regulations. Yes...environmental and historic preservation regs, but mostly because of zoning. This more than anything else suppresses the level of urban building creating artificial shortages in the most desirable areas to live. In short, people who would want to buy housing, developers who would want to design the buildings, and workers who would want the job building them--all are left empty because markets are not permitted to function. Consequently the pent up demand can only be satisfied with either 1) urban sprawl, in which people often have to spend more time and money every day commuting or 2) migration to cheaper often lower wage cities, implicitly trading cheaper housing for less income and productivity.

And as Yglesias points out, conservatives, despite their free market rhetoric, are as much a part of the problem as liberals---more in some cases. Conservatives often champion "free" roads, minimum parking requirements, lot sizes and building height restrictions--implicitly supporting both sprawl and neighborhoods that are out of financial reach for many average earners. Ironically, if more people could afford to live closer into the cities in housing that was more moderately priced, many of these same suburbanites would find life more pleasant and less congested in the suburbs as well. And liberals concerned about global warming have no excuse to not champion lots of tall apartment buildings right around public transportation hubs.

In short, Yglesias, whether he realizes it or not, maps out a future potential liberal/conservative pro-growth pro-development alliance, that, if ever realized, would make many of America's best cities even better.

As one conservative who wishes his party would begin to offer real solutions to actual solvable problems of 2012 (as opposed to 1982), it would be great if more of my ideological brethren would take to heart some of Yglesias' ideas here! assured many of the people who gave this little e-book a 1 surely didn't read it.
200 of 239 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8a80138) out of 5 stars Ignore the trolls March 12 2012
By Have actually read the book. - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ignore all the trolls leaving one star reviews. Most are angry fans of Andrew Brietbart or people who never liked the author in the first place yet still bought his book (or not). This is basically a fleshed-out long form magazine article, that provides a fascinating overview of a chronically-under discussed policy issue. You can easily find more academic and through discussion of this issue but that was never the point of the book. All in all I found it to be a very interesting read that I would highly recommend (as long as you don't mind having some of your assumptions challenged).
99 of 119 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8a8057c) out of 5 stars An outstanding, quick, smart read. March 15 2012
By Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've long been a reader of Matt Yglesias', and even though we differ ideologically (he's a liberal, I'm a conservative), I have always found him to be a smart and engaging writer. This excellent book is no exception. The Rent Is Too Damn High makes very lucid arguments and explains in a nutshell why you can't live in Manhattan or San Francisco and, more importantly, while zoning issues aren't obscure local problems but actually have an impact across economic growth, policy and cultural vitality. A must-read for anyone interested in urban issues, whatever their political persuasion.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8a80474) out of 5 stars Love it April 17 2013
By M. N. Martin - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great book. Unfortunately, people on team Democrat won't agree with the conclusion and people on team Republican won't even read it since it's by a 'liberal'. If, however, you approach it with a truly open mind and carefully and critically evaluate each of his arguments, I believe you'll agree with all of his conclusions.

If you've ever wondered why rent constitutes such a large share of your paycheck living in NYC or SF or LA or really any other big city, this'll tell you. Common misconceptions abound about high rents, high housing prices, and all the negative side-effects they wreak on our economy. Matthew Yglesias walks you through them from an economic perspective without all the economics jargon, but he doesn't treat the reader like an idiot. His explanations are thorough. He tackles the criticisms of his ideas. And I think you'd be hard pressed to decipher any sort of connection between his ideas and any particular political philosophy, which, let's face it, is kind of what people tend to complain about. He keeps it short and sweet rather than drawing the book out.

Among the friends and family members I've talked with about it, most of them seem to have a hard time believing that 'Cost of Living' doesn't factor into wages at all. But from an economic perspective this really shouldn't be very hard to believe since employers are not charities. They're trying to get the most value out of you for the least money possible. They'll pay you the market clearing wage and if that isn't enough to live comfortably on, well then *Amazon censorship* you. To be clear, 'housing prices' do factor into 'cost of living' and 'cost of living' does determine what constitues a 'livable wage'. But there's no particular axiom of economics that states that employers have to pay you a livable wage. People can work more than 40 hours a week. Or they can live in poverty and squalor. So high rents don't help to explain high wages. As you'll see in the book, there is a good explanation for high wages and Matthew Yglesias walks you through it carefully and caringly.
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8a8066c) out of 5 stars Yes it is April 4 2012
By John Markos O'Neill - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
We're not building enough homes in the places where people want to live and can find work. It turns out that the problem is too much regulation, but for once, conservatives aren't complaining about the problem. Yglesias offers a solid diagnosis and some useful remedies for the housing crisis that hurts the whole economy.