Flawed housing policy: Fintan O'toole Bang on

irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/0630/1224249784689.html
Great article by Fintan O’Toole
Greed and free market bolloxology caused the mess

link fixed apologies

looks like it’s been pulled…

Working link here>>>

bang on? ffs… ‘bang off’ more like! Some people put the state squarely at the centre of all solutions, the reality is that any extreme has flaws and that of a housing sector dominated by the state would have been a disaster.

In the 80’s with a massive deficit and high interest rates, it would have been the right thing to have the state continue to storm ahead building houses? That makes as much sense for that period in time as it would if they were to do that now. none.

I rank this as 2nd to his ideas on pensions.

Would the end result have been any worse?

Arguably we’d have ended with a better housing stock, of course if they’d decided to do Ballymun everywhere, it’s a different story but I know some great council estates that put Celtic Tiger stock to shame.

His central point is the old refrain about keeping prices low and viewing shelter and housing as a social need rather than the creation of the speculative merry go round that Fianna Fail created with property prices doubling twice in the period 1996 - 2006.

Alot of VIs fed off that process which explains why it was adopted.

Of course, the alternative could have been worse but it might have been better.

Either way, we’ll never know now…

Why are people blaming the free market when we don’t have a free market as such? And why blame greed when we are all greedy bastards? Of course I’m not greedy but everybody else is.

Given his track record, should the title of this thread not be: “Fintan O’Toole Bangs on, and on, and on . . .”?

How is housing anything else than a basic social need? Shelter is as fundamental a need as food.

Any housing system, therefore, that puts the interests of the few ahead of that of the majority is totally flawed.

We should not think that such basic truths are antiquated in any way.

Making the system fair is, of course, the tricky part. But if youre starting point is that housing is not a basic social right and need you are doomed to fail.

Isn’t that the Irish Property Industry’s motto?

But of course. And for years that where the battle lines were drawn. It was until recently that people realised that it wasnt an affordability issue but a debt issue too.

The report he refers to by Michael Punch is here if anyone is interested. Quite a novelty to see values being discussed in a report about property (apart from the values of your BTL investements).

The point is about the commodification of everything and the enforced change in values imposed by the market. The twisted logic of converting what was previously thought of as a social need and thus maintaining prices at an affordable level, into a commercial product to be profiteered on. We may ask what’s next - water, air? Where do we draw the line?

Article is complete BS - state to provide housing. No it shouldn’t.
No state should create economic conditions to allow people earn money to purchase houses. After that it is market forces. If he wants to make a philosophical argument you can argue that the planning process introduced in the 1960s caused the growth of profit through development.

Property bubble was by and large a result of cheap credit combined with market sentiment/personal greed.

If the government had to stay out of the housing market we would not be in this mess now. Look at what the American administration (both pass and present) have done with Freddie and Fanny.

Sorry but

the state did choose to create economic condition to allow people to earn money to purchase houses
The problem was that the state chose to create those conditions through unsustainable credit and the building industry, by ceding the value created through planning to private interests.

The value created by providing planning permission is created by the state and therefore should be used by the state to produce lowest cost housing therby controlling the country’s cost base.

It sacrificed public interest for private profit leading to disaster.

Fintans essential point is correct
the state created this mess by abrogating it’s responibility to keep property prices in check by substituting direct construction and provision of housing with developer supports and subsidies.

At a collosal cost to the tax payer and for the benefit of Fianna fail and the criminal kleptocracy

Constitution

If I buy a field should I be allowed to build a house on it or should there be a planning process
Planning creates an artificial value

I don’t think state should be building houses but what it could have done was

  1. CGT on PPRs - same as all other assets
  2. A Planning Tax - if you are going to have a planning permission requirement then when planning is granted and land is artificially increased in value impose a tax on any development or sale of that land
  3. Tougher financial regulation - we cannot control interest rates but impose conditions on mortgages
  4. Rent Allowance - get rid of it
  5. Affordable Housing - get rid of it
  6. “Social” Housing - homes for unmarried mothers subsidised by tax payers. Difficult one but there is a point where the system is abused. If somebody gets social housing it should be taxed and other benefits reduced accordingly
  7. Property tax - annual flat tax but allow local authorities increase it by up to 10%
  8. Stamp duty - make it payable over lifetime of mortgage
  9. Abolish tax relief on mortgage interest for all.

Fintan should know better. Not even capitalists claim the market “produces” wealth. A market is just a structure for exchange, a mechanism for trade.

Also, he makes the typical (disingenuous) socialist mistake of believing crony capitalism is a product of the free market. It’s not. It’s a product of statism. The more the state gets involved in markets, the worse they function. Just look at Venezuela. The government “provides” for lots of basic needs there and appears obsessed with rickety concepts of “social justice”. But I doubt Fintan wants to live there, though, what with the food shortages and all. Here in Ireland we leave food distribution to private companies and the profit motive. Remarkably, we never have shortages or other malfunctions of supply. Funny that.

The O’Toole Fallacy: an unremitting conviction that the cause of a problem is actually its ultimate solution.

I agree with all of the above.

Most of the above would have had an effect of damping down housing.

Planning is essential to prevent us having to build a new school just because another developer whacks up 800 gaffs in a field in termon feckin… when there are other schools empty…
but then we haven’t had planning
we’ve had fianna fail led Bribe related land grants with the profits going to developers like the Bailey bros and macnamara and thousands of wannabees all over the country who leveraged themselves to fu&k
broke the bank and now have us bailing them out while figuring out how to screw NAMA.