Market Overview

Citizens Against Government Waste Names Sen. Kamala Harris August 2018 Porker of the Month


Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) its August 2018 Porker of the Month for
proposing a bill that would subsidize rent with taxpayer dollars.

On July 19, 2018, Sen. Harris introduced
S. 3250, the Rent Relief Act. The legislation would create a new
refundable tax credit for rent payments greater than 30 percent of a
person's gross income of $100,000 or less.

Forcing taxpayers to subsidize rent is a recipe for fiscal disaster. The
bill would encourage the same behaviors that led to the student loan
bubble. A February 2017 study
by the New York Federal Reserve found that as students took out larger
federally-subsidized loans, colleges and universities hiked tuition,
blunting the benefits for students and increasing the burden on
taxpayers. The same would be true in the rental market. Tenants would be
incentivized to rent the most expensive allowable properties and
landlords would be able to spike rents without facing a financial
downside because taxpayers would foot the increased bill. Conservative
estimates put the price
of the subsidy at $76 billion per year, and those costs would surely
increase, like other federal programs intended to help the poor.

The Tax Foundation called
Sen. Harris's plan "a well-intentioned misfire," and concluded that the
bill, "would fail to address the root causes of the high cost of
housing. Instead, it would wind up benefiting landlords, not
significantly improving the lives of renters, and carrying a hefty price
tag." University of Georgia economics professor Jeffrey Dorfman wrote,
"Instead of the Rent Relief Act, we could call it the Landlord
Enrichment and Taxpayer Fleecing Act."

CAGW President Tom Schatz said, "Sen. Harris's bill would be a boon for
landlords and a drain on taxpayers. If she wants to decrease rental
costs, she should propose policies that make it easier to build and rent
properties. Taxpayer subsidies will cause rental costs to skyrocket."

For proposing an expensive and impractical taxpayer-funded rent subsidy,
CAGW names Sen. Kamala Harris its August 2018 Porker of the Month.

Against Government Waste
is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization
dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in
government. Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers,
government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant
disregard for the interests of taxpayers.

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