Saturday, January 28, 2012

The 1 %

No, not the rich Wall Street bankers who reaped zillion dollar bonuses and not pay any taxes while the rest of the country suffered and lost their jobs.  I am speaking of people who live in rent-controlled or rent-stabilized apartments with the most tenuous claims to those apartments. 

Recently, residents of the upper west side of New York City have complained about large chain stores taking over complete blocks with their stores.  The residents say that the small business owner has no chance of succeeding when these stores come into their neighborhood, so they have proposed some kind of zoning regulation that new stores can only occupy a certain amount of storefronts.  All in the name of protecting small buisnesses, neighborhood aesthetics and warding off large and greedy businesses.  Yes, the true champions of humanity.

Allow me to suggest another motive, rent-control or rent-stablized aparrtments.  I think that most of these concerned citizens are more concerned with the status of their cheap rent in that neighborhood.  In the past fifty years, the price of almost everything has gone up, except for the rent they pay to live in those apartments.  The owners and landlords of those apartments have to pay for all of the services of those places, but they cannot pass on the costs to the renters.  So, how can they maintain these residences for low rent paying people?  One way to do it is to rent storefronts to chain stores who will pay market price or even a premium for the space to offset all of the low rent coming in from rent stabilized/controlled apartments. 

The fear of the large chain stores is that a different set of people will move into the neighborhood.  People looking for the convience of chain stores that are open for 24 hours and not just during working hours when those residents are actually at work.  Imagine working a very long day and getting home at 9 pm, only to find that there is nothing in the refrigerator, and all of the stores around you had closed at 8:30 pm.  You would have to go back out, walk 8 blocks to the large super chain store to get a package of instant noodles for dinner before collapsing in front of your television at 11 pm.  You are the type of person that these champions of humanity are rallying against.  Because you can afford to pay more rent than they pay, they fear that they will lose their sweet deal of an apartment. 

The fear of modernization and moving forward because one has to give a deal to which they are not entititled is worse than being a banker who bought insurance on bad debt and profited from it.  No one wants to pay rent, just as no one wants to pay taxes, but all of us do because that is the cost of living in a society.  If everyone just looked out for their own interests, then no good would come out of it.  For those who do not like paying market prices for rent, they should heed the advice of the President of the United States...PAY YOUR FAIR SHARE!!!!

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