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On Tuesday night, California senator and current presidential candidate Kamala Harris tweeted her perspective on jobs, arguing, “No person should have to work more than one full-time job to put food on the table or pay the bills. Period.”
Harris’ concern for the financial well-being of others is touching, since she had no trouble employing a bunch of unpaid interns, as the Sacramento Bee reported in July 2017:
While not all of California’s 80 Assembly members and 40 state senators have interns in their Capitol offices, Kevin Liao, press secretary for California Assembly speaker Anthony Rendon, estimated that there is an average of one intern for each office. The state Senate currently pays a few statewide. The Assembly’s most recent public payroll from the end of May lists five paid interns working for members in the Capitol, plus 12 in other offices and throughout the state. The vast majority are unpaid, although some may get grant money from outside sources. The governor, members of Congress and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris – who has 53 interns right now – all advertise unpaid internships in Sacramento as well.
Harris’ preference for a redistribution of wealth has been manifested in other ways, too; in July 2018, Harris claimed, “In 99% of counties in America, someone making the minimum wage working full time can’t afford a 1-bedroom apartment. That is outrageous. I’ve just introduced the Rent Relief Act, so that Americans who spend over 30% of their income on rent can get a portion of that money back.”
But as Jeffrey Dorfman pointed out in Forbes, the Rent Relief Act would only enrich landlords and take money from taxpayers. He wrote:
… the proposed rent subsidy will encourage landlords to increase rents, meaning the government help will make rent even more expensive. While the lowest-income renters are protected by the 100% tax credits and will get some relief, higher-earning participants, only getting tax credits for 25 or 50% of each extra dollar of rent could end up paying more out of pocket thanks to rent increases. Joining them in the pain, taxpayers will take it in the wallets as the program rapidly costs more than expected thanks to subsidies causing rents to spiral upwards. Worse, since fair market rent is defined relative to local average rental rates, as landlords raise rents in response to the subsidy-induced increase in demand for rental units, the fair market rent in a location rises, too … Thus, the cap in the legislation designed to control taxpayer costs is a moving target. The tax credit will raise rents, higher rents will raise the cap, a higher cap will mean increased tax credits, increased tax credits mean more inflation in rents.
Christian Britschgi of Reason noted that Lynn Fisher, a housing policy expert with the American Enterprise Institute, had some cogent criticism of Harris’ plan. Fisher said, “We would be asking the whole United States to subsidize the bad behavior of some locales that are artificially pushing up rents by not allowing more building to happen.” Fisher also noted that the bill would simply inflate costs, arguing, “If [Harris’ bill] increases market demand and the supply doesn’t expand with this, if supply can’t expand, then simply what’ve you’ve done is to raise rents in many of these areas.”
Harris’ tweet that no one should have to work more than one full-time job engendered genuine irritation on social media: