Jacking Up the Rent

If the primary difference between capitalist and socialist nations is that in capitalist nations property is held in private, then the United States is solidly a socialist nation. While the fiction of private property exists, the reality is that all property is owned by the State. That is why you have to pay rent on your property. And like any good landlord, the State can up the rent when it so chooses:

Hennepin County officials said Tuesday they need to raise $43 million more in property taxes next year, in part to pay for personnel and the surging costs of protecting children from abuse and neglect.

County Administrator David Hough proposed a 5.5 percent increase in the property tax levy during his budget presentation to the County Board. The proposal is a response to what Hough said were “significant ongoing challenges” faced by the county. He pointed to the massive new spending in recent years aimed at child protection services, which has drawn millions from budget reserves.

Of course it’s for the children. That makes it easy to criticize anybody who opposes the rent hike by claiming that they hate children.

Less surprising than claiming that the increase is for the children is the fact that the politicians are also claiming that this increase won’t impact people too much:

Property taxes pay for a third of the $2.4 billion county budget. If the levy is approved, the owner of a $281,000 house — the median value for the county — would pay $75 more in county property taxes, Lawless said.

If you can afford a home, you can afford an additional $75 a year, right? Maybe. It really depends on the family. Moreover, the politicians are only stating what this increase will add. What they’re ignoring is all of the previous increases. $75 might not be much on a $281,000 property but over the decades the increase has probably been notable. Add that to the fact that property value is assessed by the State and you realize that, in addition to the previous increases, the properties themselves are probably assessed much higher now than they were a decade or two ago. Couple these points with the fact that wages have stagnated and the cost of goods has increased due to inflation and suddenly this seemingly minor rent increase adds up to being far less minor. But none of that matters to the State. If you can’t pay your rent, you’ll be evicted.

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