“Why don’t we just cancel everybody’s rent?”
It’s an innocent enough question when it’s coming from a child. You may have even heard it from your own kids before.
Combine a desire to help others with a lack of education on property rights and scarcity, and these types of questions are pretty much inevitable. The rent conundrum is usually in good company with “why can’t we print more money?” or “why do I have to pay for stuff?”
If you’ve ever taken the time to explain to them why “cancelling” pillars of the economy on a whim isn’t a good idea, your kids probably have a better grip on reality than a lot of Congress.
This week, “Squad” member Rep. Ilhan Omar re-introduced the “Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act,” which is as terrible an idea as it sounds. The bill proposes to cancel rent and mortgage payments until April 2022.
Here’s a statement on the legislation from Rep. Omar:
“Right now, we are facing an unprecedented crisis that has put millions of Americans at risk of housing instability and homelessness”… “while the American Rescue Plan extends the national rent moratorium—this is not a longterm solution. People across this country will be forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars in back rent when it ends. In some cases, local governments are allowing evictions to continue despite the moratorium. In other cases, landlords are going bankrupt due to lack of income. To avoid an even larger crisis, we must cancel rent and mortgage payments during this pandemic. This isn’t a radical idea. It’s what is needed to prevent an even bigger crisis.”
There’s plenty to unpack here, but I want to focus on the next to last sentence. She wants us to believe that simply “cancelling” rent is not a radical idea. It’s just the right thing to do. Ahem…
We’ve got quite a problem when a growing portion of the country believes that something should magically be free—in other words, paid for by the government—simply by virtue of really needing it. Food, shelter, healthcare, you name it. More of these things are being named as “human rights” by the day.
And if you haven’t noticed, “human right” is pretty rapidly becoming code for “government-funded,” which really means taxpayer-funded, and increasingly paid for by pushing our children further into debt than humanly possible.
Of course, our country’s Founders were pretty darn clear on what our rights are… and most of them have to do with being left alone by the government.
So what’s to be done?
For starters, we can make sure our children know why it’s dangerous to let the government meddle in the free market (thereby making it not free), even if it seems like it’s for a good cause.
Famed economist F.A. Hayek warned us in The Road to Serfdom that when we allow government control of the market, it will lead to oppression and tyranny.
Your kids can learn about these same ideas in an age-appropriate way through The Tuttle Twins and The Road to Surfdom. I wrote this to bring Hayek’s warning to life through a narrative that kids can understand and engage with.
The Squad may be trying to wreak havoc on our free-market economy (or… partially-free-market economy), but they’re also providing teachable moments for your family—showing us the warning signs to steer away from.
The better educated our children are on the pitfalls of big government, the brighter our future is.
Let’s get reading…