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S2: Hello and welcome to the Housing Bonanza episode of Slate. Money or Guide to the Business and Finance News of the Week.
S3: It is a blockbuster show for you this week. I’m Felix Salmon of axios. I’m joined by Anna SHYMANSKY of Breakingviews. I’m joined by Emily Peck of HuffPost New. And most excitingly, we have Connor Doherty from The New York Times. You are based in California and you have written a spectacularly good book called Golden Gates All about housing.
S4: Gates Fighting for Housing in America is the name of the book. And it is this look at all sorts of different people from the very richest to the very poorest fighting for housing in America.
S3: And we are going to do a deep dive into all of the issues surrounding housing in this episode. We can talk about zoning. We’re going to talk about homelessness. We’re going to talk about NIMBYism. We’re going to talk about the great hope of the millennial generation. We’re going to talk about Frisco, Texas. We’re going to talk about either in California, going to talk a lot about Lafayette, and we’re going to talk in wonderful detail about is house prices something we want to go upwards health wise is something we want to go down. All of that when the outweighed by, by the way, your point or that we haven’t quite answered that one.
S5: All of which is coming up on Slate Money.
S6: So I was just talking to a guy from the National Association of Realtors who obviously is not entitled to a great time to buy. But he. He was actually saying that prices are too high. I’ve never heard anyone from the NRA ever say that before. He’s like, no price is too high. They need to stop rising like this. But more interestingly, he said that we basically need to be building one and a half million housing units a year just to keep up with population growth. And we’ve been nowhere near that for the past decade. And so we have a shortfall of about five million units of housing, which we need to make up somehow. And no one has a clue and no one has a plan how we can get close to building five million units, let alone keep on building this one and a half million units on top of that.
S7: Totally. So what happened was the Great Recession happened and the whole construction industry got like decimated. Anybody who is covering that at that time watched, you know, bankruptcy after bankruptcy. And on top of that, a lot of these skilled trades, men and women who are, you know, plumbers, electricians, you know, all the people that really determine that they are that sticky, hard parts of your labor supply. You know, you cannot just have a bunch of those tomorrow. Those those professions, a lot of the kind of older people in that profession just left. They just like, let’s say they’re fifty three. And they thought they were going to work till 55. They’re like, I’m out. I’m going to Florida now. So that industry got wiped out. Then the Great Recession ended and we had a huge demand for housing. But there was no industry there to to create it. So if you look at our rate of housing construction right now, it is still way below where it was in like the 2000s of the 90s. Saw it where when I make these comparisons, I’m not talking about the like obviously inflated rates of 2006. I’m talking about like the the economic cycle before that. So we the amount of housing we are building right now nationally is, I think, lower than at any period, that recent period. That wasn’t a recession.
S1: Yeah. Is there a public policy? I mean, your book covers a lot of California politics and a lot of like you bills. And we’ll start talking a little bit more about what you be later on. But just without going too much into into that kind of regional state politics, is there anything on a big level, national scale, since we are in an election year? Is there anything that the American government has historically been able to do to deal with this kind of a crisis?
S8: So the reason I did focus on local stuff in the book is and we can get into that later, is that it? Really a lot of this is determined locally and that’s that’s where it happens. Today, the federal government’s role has traditionally been to give a bunch of money for things, be they freeways, which are obviously just an excuse to build housing around them. And and, of course, HUD and things like that and tax programs that, you know, incentivize homeownership.
S7: If you look at the Democratic debate right now. Every single major candidate has a pretty robust housing plan. And in addition to things like national rent control, which I’m not even sure that’s possible, but that’s clearly the Bernie Sanders one. And subsidies for struggling renters. And so I every single one of them has a major zoning plan of some kind, which is, if you think about it, the federal government is inserting itself or at least talking about inserting itself into local politics and trying to stimulate housing supply and essentially dense housing supply. Whether or not any of those plans ever see the light of day like a great many things in the Democratic debate are. That’s probably a low chance of that. But it does say where the conversation is right now and where everyone’s thinking right now. And I think that alone is significant.
S9: And what’s clear from your book is that everything is zoning.
S4: Well, I don’t. Well, I do. I hope that like my book, because I think that no, the funding side of is a huge piece of it. I’m just saying the funding side is a huge piece of it. I. Let me say that over and over again. Well, I mean, I just think we have to build it, though.
S1: But one of the things you say in the book is that like people fight over, you know, a billion dollars here and a billion dollars there in funding, whereas like simply up zoning a bunch of land and their transit would create hundreds of billions of dollars in value.
S10: But one thing you really make clear again and again, it’s like even if all the workers came back to the industry, the costs of building things are ridiculous. Like even if there’s money coming in, it’s being spent on on things that I honestly don’t understand. That makes it cost like a half a million dollars to build a unit of affordable housing, which makes no sense. So how how is there. What’s the plan to get the costs of building down?
S11: Why is it zoning? I mean, isn’t one of the things you kind of bring up in the book that part of this all related? Right. That part of the reason it’s so expensive is because of the zoning issues. It takes forever. You have to go through so many regulations. There’s so many legal issues, and that dramatically increases the costs.
S7: So it’s everything, right? It’s the land cost, which is essentially zoning, since the cost of land is basically just a function of what you can do on it.
S8: And then it is the the cost of actually building the building who regardless of what the land costs and then and then of course, materials and all these sorts of things, time delays, all those things are when you had that you had that whole section on the the the way people build houses hasn’t changed.
S12: Yeah, exactly. Tech since 1948. So the 1948 was the technological zenith housing, health, blowing technology.
S13: As I’ve always said, like we never really saw housing problems in this country. We solved transportation problems. You know, if you think about it, we had like buggies and then we had like trains and then we have like highways. It’s just always an excuse to open up more land.
S7: The cable car originally was basically a real estate play. How do I open up land for development? That’s top of big hills. So.
S8: What we unless we start creating cars that can go, you know, 400 miles an hour, you know, on freeways safely or something, which I’m not holding my breath for, we are going to have to start solving actual housing problems instead of transportation problems. There has actually been a lot of really exciting stuff in modular housing and, you know, basically trying to build housing offsite in a in a factory and then just kind of bolting it together onsite. Like a lot of tech companies, there’s a lot of fanfare around this. Exactly. Which of these is promising or not is not that’s not a race I want to get into. But I think it’s like really great that a lot of capital is going into this and that they’re tinkering with it. Because I you know, as I always say, if these guys go bankrupt trying to do this, I don’t care. You know, I think waste investors money trying to solve this problem. If you solve it, great. If you don’t, I don’t just worry.
S3: I’m not entirely as optimistic as you are about modular housing and prefabs and kind of in that kind of thing, mainly because I feel like I’ve been reading those headlines since the 1960s. Not I was even alive in the 1960s. But, you know, you go to Japan and you see a bunch of that happening in Japan in the 1960s.
S1: And, you know, you look at something like Habitat 67 in Montreal, which is 67, obviously. And everyone gets really excited about this. More or less every year for the past 50 years. And it’s always about to happen and it never really happens. Meanwhile, if you just go to only Germany or somewhere like they seem to be able to build houses without too much difficulty. Not crazy.
S8: Cost the zoning and regulatory piece of this is a huge, huge, huge pieces. I’m not. Nobody would accuse my book of selling definitely a piece of it. I was just sort of saying that it is exciting to see people at least try.
S1: And also, you know, why do you think internationally it has failed for 50 years?
S8: I think it’s because you can’t get a pipeline. Real estate is hard core boom-bust industry. And it is not it’s not a widget that you can just produce really reliable. If you look at what the components of growth are in recessions and contractions, housing construction is the main variable in GDP there. It’s not it’s not the biggest one, but it’s the biggest one that changes a lot. So I’m an economist at UCLA, even once wrote a paper that the headline was is the business cycle, the housing cycle. The point being that when we’re building a lot of housing, we’re almost never in a risk. We think literally have never been in a recession. And when we’re not building a lot of housing, we usually are. Although I guess I would say right now might be the exception to that rule.
S4: And actually, I wrote a whole article for The Times, ones that said the economy will be fine. I forget the headline, but it was essentially housing is it is in a recession, so we won’t go into one.
S8: My point being that housing has never really come back in a big way. That’s actually why we’ve never gotten to 3 percent and so 3 percent growth for the overall U.S. economy. And so I actually think that when we do see things come back, really, if we if we ever do get on a really crazy growth trajectory, it will be because that housing piece came back in the back of my head when you were saying this about like housing, driving the economy and like what you know in all of this talk about being able to build housing scale.
S1: I was thinking, well, this is this is the history of China over the past. Like 10, 20 is getting enormous amounts of growth from building, you know, cities of millions of people from absolutely nothing at very low cost and very effective cities of millions of houses with no people in.
S9: Well, I mean, that happens to be the growth story is is clearly there. And now, you know, and then along with that, you get a rise of debt and people write about loans.
S11: Well, that’s significant. It’s interesting, though, because if you look at a lot of the early building that was actually before you saw the significant increase in debt. And that’s because, you know, the building was they had so much capacity to build and it created so much economic growth that it essentially paid for itself. Then you get to a point where you just want to keep building because it’s so. But you are increase economic growth enough. And that’s when you start to build up the debt.
S9: But do you think. Yes. Do you think we can learn anything from China? Is it just late? It’s way too different.
S4: I I. I’m not very good. I mean, it seems to be hard to learn from China because people will say things like, oh, China built a high speed rail line in five minutes or I mean.
S9: They built buildings, they built a hospital in mewhen and seven hospitals.
S14: I’m sure we can. I heard that whole thing, but I saw it. And I’m like, I’m sure FEMA does that. Thank you. Right.
S4: But but being building high speed rail line, that is quite something. And I think that’s. But our environmental regime is not going to allow that. We don’t want it to allow that. Do we want it to be as restrictive as it is so that California can’t even build a High-Speed Rail? Probably not. But we don’t want it like that either. So I do. International comparisons are always hard for me. I mean, on the other side of this, in San Francisco, people always say, well, why aren’t we talking about Vienna in the 20s and housing or so? I’m not sure which it isn’t. What’s the read? Vienna. I don’t know what year that was, but anyway. So the what? What I’m saying. But even today, most people live in public housing. So. I just don’t think those international comparisons are always so helpful other than they give us ideas that give us food for thought, they give us inspiration or all those things. But it’s it’s not so easy to just transfer things on to a particular culture regime, etc.. I mean, I’ll give you a perfect sample in Vancouver.
S8: There’s a huge foreign buyer problem, which we have to varying degrees in U.S. cities. I think that in Vancouver it’s probably considerably worse than in any other city besides maybe London or Sydney. And it’s they they have passed a huge Fort Myer tax they’ve passed. So basically higher property taxes for people who make most of their earnings overseas, i.e. in China. That’s where they’re targeting it. And there’s all sorts of like sovereignty issues that come up like they can’t do that in ways we can’t. And so I’m just like. And so you hear San Francisco and all these people talk about, oh, we should emulate Vancouver and get a vacancy tax. But when they really go down and try to do it big, they they just don’t have the tools to do it.
S11: And I think that that’s interesting because I think it goes back to this idea of how important these laws. And also that these local laws are, because I think, you know, we can talk about bringing down the costs and all of that and like, well, and even look at the China and say like, well, you know, part of the reason you can do this is because they don’t really have to deal with any of these local ordinances wherein. So in the U.S. context, if it’s that local zoning that is so important, I think like we should talk a little bit more about that. So I think we haven’t really dived yet.
S10: So I want to get to just the human costs of this crisis because I feel like that would be a natural Segway Konrad’s. You had a great story about that one building in your book where, you know, try on whoever they come in, they buy the apartment building where families are living and they raise rents. Everyone has to leave. And then new people come in. And people people are really struggling. You’ve written about people with like three hour commutes now. I mean, the human cost of this crisis are pretty crazy. I mean, even beyond we should talk about homelessness.
S15: But just for lower middle class workers, it’s pretty brutal out there right now.
S1: You have this really interesting line in your book about the homelessness crisis in especially the Bay Area and how a lot of people talking about how, you know, it’s very much tied up with mental health issues and crises. And you say, yeah, well, it’s definitely true that if you’re mentally ill, you’re more likely to become homeless. But it’s also true that if you become homeless, you’re more likely to become mentally ill. Like the causality runs both ways.
S8: Yes. I mean, obviously, if people have like extreme forms of schizophrenia or something and aren’t able to function in society, that that is a different situation from someone who’s like, let’s say, depressed and has like difficulty holding down a job.
S7: But, you know, if they could probably get it together enough to have like a 400, if they if they were for $400 apartment was available, they would not be homeless. So I think with the way I think about it is this. If you are on drugs a lot, if you have no family connections. If you have. You know, severe mental illness, or if you have all those things, your chances of homeless are probably going to be pretty high. But then if you have a stable job and a loving family and you know, no problems, chances of being homeless are probably pretty low. But the variable in all these things is usually the costs. And you see all these homeless programs or they just like move people somewhere.
S4: You know, you’ve got a couple just sit 50, 60 miles away to Stockton. There’s been some kind of recovery programs. And I always go.
S13: What are they really getting when they get there, they’re getting like a five hundred dollar apartments or what is the variable that matters? And one of the other stories I into those programs work temporarily. They obviously work. And, you know, I mean, if you start SSDI checks for like thirteen hundred bucks. So, I mean, if you had a $500 apartment, I think that would work.
S4: One of the stories I was tell people is, does everyone remember the movie Big with Tom Hanks? Yes. So.
S13: If you recall in big, what happens is he he becomes Tom Hanks and he comes home to his mom and she, of course, is like, why is this 30 year old standing in my apartment? So he has to go find somewhere else to go because he can’t state his friend’s house because his rent is also 12. And you can have like a 30 year old stay with you when you’re 12. And anyway, so they go from did take a bus from New Jersey to New York. But of course, they’re kids, right? So they had like 12 dollars or whatever they have in their piggy banks. And they go to a really decrepit SRO. The guy gives them the sheets. They go to the room. There’s no toilet in the room.
S4: They hear gunshots next door. He puts the, you know, a dresser in front of it. He’s scared and crying.
S8: That used to be our radically affordable housing supply. We had SRO. They called them cage hotels. And some places we used to have these vast supply of one unit rooms with no toilet. It was it was substandard housing. Maybe we didn’t want that to be our affordable housing supply. But it was. And then we destroyed it. I mean, I don’t know where that particular SRO wasn’t big, but I bet you it’s a condo of some kind.
S3: You know, and I mean, was probably on the Bowery, which I know very well, because I woke up the Upper West every every day. So they have all they have now become like, you know, ace hotels, that kind of thing.
S4: Yes. We don’t have.
S13: This supply of housing, this radically affordable. I mean, I know you’re just talking about affordable. I’m talking affordable that someone who is making, you know, $10 an hour and may work occasionally, you know, can can afford. And we used to have a lot of that in cities were arrested for it. And we don’t have it anymore.
S8: So I think that we have to be also sort of honest about if we’re gonna really solve the homeless problem, we’re going to have to create neighborhoods that look not substantially different from what those old neighborhoods might have looked like. I mean, I think that that’s something that to reconcile what I sometimes say to be I mean, this probably comes out the wrong way, but I sometimes say to people, we have a shortage of bad neighborhoods. Like, I mean, I’m joking, but I and I don’t want to call a neighborhood that functions and lots of people live their lives really, you know, productively in as bad.
S4: But when people go to a neighborhood with a lot of kind of chaos and lower income people, they will sometimes it that.
S11: So that’s one thing that I think is interesting. thomas’, if you look at the numbers, it’s like it’s a horrible problem. But when you look overall, it seems like a solvable problem in the sense of the numbers aren’t enormous. It is absolutely a solvable problem. And if you look at how much money is already being spent, it’s being spent very ineffectively because it’s actually far cheaper to just give people heavily subsidized apartments than it is to run shelters.
S16: A hundred percent. And on top of that, there’s so much of sub study after study has shown that homelessness is way more expensive than than just building the housing for it. But on top of that, I mean, and this is something you hear presidential candidates talk about all the time. The emergency room, which is like the most expensive possible way you can ever give someone care, is like our public hospital. I mean, that has healthcare implications. But it’s also all these people are. I mean, if you sleep outdoors, you’re gonna be you’re gonna get more illnesses and you’re going to get abused, all these different things. So there’s a million different ways in which this I mean, police hours. I mean, pick your topic. There is so much kind of waste in the homeless problem. I mean, in addition to it being like a moral outrage and as you said, there’s 500000 homeless people in the country. I mean, that’s not that many. So this is absolutely solvable problem on top of that. This is where we should make international comparisons. They don’t have lots of homelessness and lots of other rich places, but they do have these giant, you know, kind of whether or not you think they’re unattractive with these giant like blocks of public housing.
S8: And that is something that maybe this is a good Segway to NIMBYism, but that is something and not a lot of people want.
S5: So one of the things that.
S1: Drove out the cage hotels, the SRO rose the cheap housing was this phenomenon, which we love to call gentrification.
S14: I think that’s originally a British word, I imagine.
S13: I think it was in London when they first used the term.
S5: And so. Is gentrification bad?
S4: Gentrification, so gentrification is a. A word that is very hard to get people to say what they what it means. Right. Does that gentrification mean something like the price of a neighborhood going up and a lot of people used to live there getting displaced? Or does it mean just a neighborhood getting much wealthier? But people not getting displaced?
S8: Does gentrification have to be white for it to be gentrification? There’s a guy named Lance Freeman, a Columbia, who is African-American, and he has done a whole study that says that most a lot of gentrification is black gentrification in neighborhoods like Harlem, Harlem. Right. So so I think what it is that we mean when we say gentrification is not always so clear. But I think that people getting displaced from if if by gentrification we mean prices going up and people who have tethered their lives, their children’s schooling, their of their community, the churches, all these different things to a particular community and particular neighborhood. That all getting uprooted because that community can no longer afford to live there. And them having to add that in and those community ties getting destroyed and those people having to live move somewhere else for a lower quality of life and a kind of community separation. I think that is bad. So, you know, if we mean in the way I would summarize that is if we mean displacement. Absolutely. I think it’s horrible.
S5: And is the solution to that kind of displacement? Rent control.
S8: So I had something of an evolution of rent control on this book because it all high level. What this book is, is me trying to find lots of different illustrations and lots of different stories of things that interested me. You know, there’s a kind of classic way someone does a policy book where they. And this is not a policy book. It’s a work of narrative journalism. But I just met people when they take on an intractable topic. They go, here’s the topic and they have some anecdotes. And then here’s my ten point plan. And my in my mind was almost the reverse. It was like, here’s people working on a lot of different plans and here’s how completely difficult it is and how often they get yelled at and how they fail. And this is what app.
S4: Right. And so. Rent control. Some degree of price control. Seems like it has to be part of the policy solution.
S8: Now, an economist would tell you that we should subsidize people who can’t afford homes, but we or rent, but we should do it with a like a tax. Something that is a direct subsidy of some kind, either a tax credit or an actual voucher. And to that, I say that probably is the optimal theoretical way to do this. But nobody other than Cory Booker, who’s now unfortunately no longer on the campaign, nobody was talking about something that would be at that scale. And so one of the stories in the book is this 15 year old girl who gets an eight hundred. So she’s a Latino girl and her mom is a does elder care and cleans homes and then sometimes moonlights as a janitor. So she’s the person who’s taking care of your grandmother. She’s the person cleaning your home. And then she’s the person who comes in to your office as you’re leaving to come empty the trash and stuff. So they got an eight hundred dollar rent increase and. But they cannot afford that. This 15-Year-Old girl goes and organizes two apartment complexes. You’ll see what happens in the book. But you know that they they have a ferocious fight over the whole thing. If you are sober and the girl missed a month of school, she had all sorts of stress. Her ability to even function was was so racked. I mean, the thing that really broke my heart in the whole thing was she really said at the take on the responsibility of saving the whole building, that she got into this just as, oh, this is like a thing I could do. But by the end of it, she she kept telling me, like, I’m so worried that I’ve essentially made a promise to all these people that I can keep them in their home. I mean, all these older people, her neighbors.
S4: And what if I can’t? If you think that that particular situation is tragic and sad or tragic, unfair, it doesn’t even acknowledge how the economy works because, you know, you go to Silicon Valley. Yeah, there’s a lot of tech jobs, but there’s a whole lot of service jobs right next to them. That’s how that economy is structured. So the housing market should reflect it a little bit. If that bothers you, there is no policy solution. There is no way that this girl and her family and, you know, people who actually can vote because she’s 15 shakin’ now. We had pizza a couple nights ago and she’s doing much better, but there’s nothing on the policy table for her or them other than rent control right now. So I am fine with the intellectual argument about what would be the optimal way of solving this. If that plan was even like even like remotely in the cards right now. But it’s not. And so I think one of the things I’m really trying to do the book is see like. Not just for you to see the housing crisis, but to feel it. There’s if this person in her community are going to go try to engage their democracy as we want them to. This is the solution that has been presented to them as the way to advocate for their cause.
S8: And so I think that as long as that’s the case, they problem with that solution should be definitely part of the policy mix. And perhaps more importantly, regardless of what I think, it is definitely going to be the huge piece of the policy mix, because that is what we have given people as as the solution that they can go fight for.
S11: I mean, I think that obviously on a human level, when you hear someone’s story, I mean, it is it’s it’s tragic and it’s it’s horrible. And there you do. There does need to be some solution to this. But I mean, part of the reason that that situation happened was because you had people moving into a lower income community. And that could pay these higher rents because there wasn’t enough housing built overall. So I’m not saying that having better zoning laws will fix everything. And of course, there do have to be subsidies. But there are also downsides to rent control in that in the sense that it can obviously restrict development. And what we’ve seen in like you seen like Stockholm, like you can create like massive waiting lists than you have creating a black market. So I’m not saying that’s some level of restrictions on how much a rent could go up. You know, perhaps. But it’s all part of a larger answer.
S16: First off, I am totally with you that the devil is in the details. And without getting super into those details and boring everyone we have seen. So in California, a whole bunch of people were for the rent cap. Even some of the landlords for the rent cap. And that was a I think it’s 7 percent or 5 percent. I forget what it is, but I think I think it’s a 5 percent rent cap plus cost of living. So it’s a 7 percent a year. And you know that that that is even the landlords were like, okay, that works for me. And there obviously are some places where they could get substantially more than that. But, you know, generally speaking, statewide, a state of 40 million people, they were okay with that. So flipside, there is another bill that will essentially come back this year that would allow vacancy control, which means we would it’s hard to explain what it would do, but essentially, theoretically, cities could start not only regulating the rent to whatever percentage they wanted, zero percent, one percent. I think in San Francisco’s literally less than inflation right now, they could start regulating the rent on units that are vacant. So even when someone moved out, the rent could never go up again. And not surprisingly, lots of people are against that one. So figuring out exactly where we find that percentage, what’s fair, what’s not fair is clearly that’s democracy. That’s where people are arguing. But again, I don’t really want to talk about what I think. I mean, not not because I’m not trying to be Mr. Objective, but also just because if we want to understand why we have a really robust tenants rights movement, if landlords want to understand why they’re having conference calls, earnings calls right now where they’re talking about rent control being a huge concern, many of the hugest Rietz are now having these calls. This is why. And so OK. Now, you absolutely are right that we’re not building enough housing. But, you know, the one thing I will say a lot of times I talk to tenants, people, and they, of course, will send you every study that says that rent controls great and and whatever. A lot of them. I did not find them as convincing as some of the economic studies, and then a lot of them say things that they don’t even really want them to say, like one guy wrote, that you should have means testing it and someone was like, we should just ignore that part. And like, well, that’s the whole you know, that’s like what it says. But the idea that rent control affects new construction does not appear to be super convincing. And that’s because typically it’s like there’s no real control for 10 years, 15 year. You know what I mean? All you’ve got. So. So there are totally ways we could design this. And I think philosophically, it’s never years where I think we are. It’s never super cheap to build new stuff, new stuff. It’s never been like other than like direct subsidies. It’s never been that like, oh, here’s the brand new luxury building that’s like totally affordable. Everyone that like time did not exist. However, over time, older housing becomes affordable housing. So what we want is a way for people to get a high return, at least sufficient to get them to build a building. And then that to be come are affordable housing stock over time figuring? I think that we can find a way again, some number of years that those two things are happening at once.
S5: So one of the reasons this is a question of economics is because I think this entire conversation is predicated on the idea that the housing stock that low income people live in is privately owned by capitalists who want to get a return on, who want to maximize that, the return on capital.
S1: The obvious alternative to this, you’ve already mentioned it once is public housing. Is it just the case that in 21st century America, the state has no ability to build public housing with it and to make it just pay for itself without having a massive profit motive?
S4: The state has a huge. So for starters, the state through direct funding builds a ton of housing. Right now, they just don’t manage it. And I try not to be. One of the things that kind of annoys me about the public housing conversation is it seems like. So rigidly ideological about who manages it, which seems like a really stupid like distinction to be fighting over. I mean, if non-profits that are funded by the government are doing a decent job running housing, which maybe they aren’t, but we could. That would be a separate problem.
S8: Then then I don’t understand why it’s so much better for everyone if there’s an actual housing department that has an office in City Hall or, you know, Washington, D.C.. So a lot of times when I hear this fight, I get a little bit annoyed by the kind of implementation of it rather than like, are we building affordable housing for people who can’t you cannot access what the private market is building.
S10: Can you talk a little bit more about. Are we building public housing now? Like what kind of housing is it? Where is it?
S8: And we are not getting enough. We are building much public housing right now. Ah. I don’t think we’re building any, but I I don’t know if I can definitively say that, but we essentially aren’t building none. I mean, in New York it’s all pre-existing. In San Francisco, it’s all pre-existing. You more or less can’t build it in California because of a constitutional amendment called Article 34, which means that people have to pay. What it says is people have to affirmatively vote for the public housing to. So they’re actually trying to repeal that this year. But anyway, so we are building public housing. However, there is this thing that Ronald Reagan create. Weirdly, when Ronald Reagan did the tax reform, that was the biggest tax reform we’d had until the recent Trump tax reform. They created this thing called the low income housing tax credit. It’s this very bizarre system that’s so complicated. But the essential gist of it is corporations effectively by they. Did you actually transfer some really by. But they get these tax credits that offset that. It’s a coupon against their income taxes. And then they invest in a building that is only available to people below a certain income. There’s a lot of critiques of this program and they run the gamut. I mean, one is that it’s overly complicated and so it all goes to consultants and lawyers. The other is that you can be corrupt. The other is that the income limits are too high. I mean, whatever critique you want to put on it are bad. In fact, you know, it’s funny. Even affordable housing advocates will say to me, I hate the system, but don’t ever write that because it’s all we have. So and I’m not convinced that if Washington got rid of it, they would replace it with the thing I wanted. So that is in effect, our public housing system. I don’t think it’s built something like three and a half million units since 1986. But, you know, and again, most of those for most of a lot of it’s built by for profit builders, which I don’t need to be super. I don’t care about that. I mean, the same construction workers work for nonprofit and for profit entities. I mean, if you’ve ever been to a developer’s office, it’s like the number of people that are in this room on this podcast right now. I mean, you go in, it’s just like a guy and as an an assistant and like maybe two people, all the developer does is I go and borrow a bunch of money and then hire a bunch of people who all work for someone else.
S7: So how do we build this and who manages and all that?
S4: I am not trying to be super ideological about, but do weed up a ton more money for a subsidized housing of some kind. Almost certainly. And also.
S8: Renia, a lot, lot, lot, lot more money for vouchers. These affordable, you know, just rental vouchers that that I think are there so proven in how effective they are for keeping people housed and also the anti-poverty and stable.
S9: I wasn’t one. And one of the things one of the points you make in the book is that the reason why modular construction and prefab and that kind of stuff has historically failed is the cycle of the house of the housing boom and bust. And if you had a consistent demand from the public to just keep on building houses through the cycle, a lot of those problems would go away. And possibly for the first time since 1948, housing construction productivity could improve.
S8: Yes. So I totally agree. So, I mean, we have a long history in this country and every other country, whether it’s Teslas or solar panels or whatever else of subsidizing industries, until that we want to kind of know. So whether now we’re actually subsidizing the the modular housing industry is. But I mean, creating demand so that the industry can be created. So I yeah, I totally I mean. Like I said, I think it’s a great place for the private sector to be tinkering around. I don’t want to become some techno optimist. I’m just more saying I’d rather than being vesting money in that and trying to solve that problem then the next social media app.
S11: The other good thing about like the voucher system and why it’s so much more effective, I imagine, than just kind of overall rent controls. Rangarajan is tied to a unit. So then that means if someone comes into that unit who makes $500000, they’re still getting a very low price. Whereas if it’s a voucher that’s tied to an individual, that’s tied to income, that seems a lot more effective.
S16: So I agree with you. I understood you got a real rent control.
S14: You know, oponent here that’s saying. I know. I get I get you.
S16: Yeah, I look I get where you’re coming from. By the way, I said I just said all these things about this horrible story about this girl. I went to a party last night and this guy just openly told me, I have an eight hundred dollar apartment in the West Village that I’ve had since the 70s and I own like a multimillion dollar house in California. And I was like, wow, you know, and I you know, so that story is out there, too. And I mean, that the in in I think 2002, the city of San Francisco did a survey of the income of people in rent controlled units. And it was over $100000 in 2002. I don’t know where that number is today. It is substantially higher. And just look at the city of San Francisco and know that the huge amount of the units are in control. That obviously just it’s clear. And then, by the way, there’s a. A rumor and probably not even a rumor, but up a conspiracy theory in the city of same disco, that the reason they have never updated that study is they’re like, oh my God. Like, this is what I’m looking at. Destroy it. Yes. So there are. It is absolutely fair to critique rent control as a policy solution, both because it rewards people who don’t need it and because it has some effects on the supply, which is our ultimate problem. My only thing is if we’re not creating if it’s almost like a form of policy. NIMBYism. Yeah. If all we ever say is, well, that’s not the right thing. But you have no alternative that it that achieves any of the same motive. You know, Bob. Outcomes you want. Then what are people supposed to do, you know? And on top of that, I do think keeping people in communities, keeping people stable is I mean, we have 30 year fixed mortgage is basically a creation of the state. If Fannie and Freddie exist more or less of almost entirely to create a market for securities, they can give us a 30 year fixed mortgage. So we’ve gone to great lengths in this country to create what is effectively rent control for myself, for homeowners.
S10: And and we did that because we thought stable communities were important if we got rid of the mortgage interest tax deduction for everyone in the country all at once. We essentially did.
S12: Yeah, we did. We saw that with the. Oh. So you can’t do that unless you’re making an absolute fortune. Because the standard deduction has risen so much. Right. Right. But it’s known it still exists. And for what it’s worth, I’m on that list of people that you know. But anyway, I also got screwed by Saul.
S14: I got it. It’s New York.
S10: I actually may be the more interesting question, like, is there any movement in the market now? Because. Because of that. Like our price is going down. Is anything gotten better? Like four years that’s been kind of like like a wishlist for some people. You know, get rid of the hilarious part, I’ll say, for the rich did it.
S13: The hilarious part is it’s been a wish list for let’s call it generally liberal people. And then Trump is the one who did it almost purely to stick it to. Yes. If liberal people.
S3: So, you know, it’s I think I think what we’ve seen in the United States is pretty much what we saw in the UK when we got rid of the same thing, the mortgage interest deduction, which is not much like that.
S6: There was little there was so much rending of cloth and parades of horribles and everything when people were talking about this thing coming and they were saying how bad it was going to be. And then it happened. And it turns out it really hasn’t been that bad.
S10: Fine. So if we could use that money to build real just straight up public housing.
S9: But the only thing.
S6: But the caller’s point is the like the mortgage interest deduction, although it was huge, actually is even still smaller than the implicit subsidy that you have to homeowners in the form of fixed rate mortgages. Well, also, too.
S4: It’s it’s hard to desegregate these things. Right. Like so prices are starting to kind of price.
S14: You had an impact to see price. Exactly. Is that. Well, yeah, there are a lot of things got to like.
S4: I mean, it’s just I mean, and this is, by the way, the thing that defines real estate is it is the ultimate bundled good. Right. Like when people often say, oh, well, people are moving to exurbs because they want that lifestyle. I don’t know that the most expensive neighborhood in in America, in and around the world really is the amazing single family neighborhood that’s like not that far from downtown. You know, like in San Francisco, it’s you know, it’s parts of the Presidio. My wife’s from Minneapolis. It’s there’s this Lake of the Isles Place, which is, you know, near. I don’t actually I don’t know the equivalent in New York.
S9: It’s definitely one in Seattle. It’s the island.
S4: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So I guess what we can determine from that is people who can buy essentially whatever they want. What a beautiful, wonderful single family home. That’s right. Next to everything. Right. But everyone else has to make some kind of tradeoffs and choices. And it’s not always clear what choice they make. I mean, this is the ultimate economics thing, right? Which is that the price is determining a lot. And so you’re mixing and matching all the time.
S5: I think the other big issue here that Emily touched on is from a public policy perspective.
S1: Do we want health prices to go up or do we want health prices to go down?
S14: And that’s OK. Yeah. And let’s get into it. Let’s go.
S4: This is this is the lake. This is the radioactive. This is the amazing question. And by the way, Emily Badger, who is my brilliant superstar colleague at The New York Times, she wrote this amazing piece. I cannot say enough things about how intelligent she is. We love her. She wrote this really great piece about Bernie Sanders housing plan and how it sometimes wants to say screw private developers. They shouldn’t be profiteering off of housing bubble bubble bar. And it also wants to say housing is this amazing wealth building creation tool for homeowners. You could say that’s an inconsistent plan and all that. But actually it really cuts to the core of of American housing policy. So even if it isn’t super well-thought through as a as a policy kind of document, it does capture the kind of American feeling about housing quite well. And I actually.
S17: And my my feeling, for what it’s worth, is that you can actually have your cake and eat it on that. If you keep the fixed 30 year fixed rate mortgage and you buy a house for, you know, four hundred thousand dollars and you get your mortgage and you pay that mortgage, that is then at the end, even if like in real terms, that house is still worth only four hundred thousand dollars at the end of 30 years, even if it hasn’t risen in value at all, you have managed to buy yourself one hundred thousand dollars of equity.
S4: So what you’re talking about, which I think is important and is great, is the forced savings aspect of housing. Right. I think that’s great. And by the way, it’s not like in the 60s people were like, oh, I hope my home falls in value. I mean, they they just didn’t expect it to perform like a you know, like a tech stock. You know? So I think that’s right. I totally agree with you. But you’re talking about for say you’re saying that Libya is basically a store of value. Right. Versus an actual like huge appreciation to by the way, it should grow at like 2 percent or whatever inflation is. Wait, you said something that I forgot, but I’m not sure what I said. Oh, wait, wait. One thing I was thinking about, though, because I thought we were talking about how this is the radioactive question. So this is more of a just like a thought. But I love us all to think about it. HPI have come with the data for this. But think about U.S. banks, how much of bank holdings are like in mortgages? It must be like almost all of it right now that it’s all securitized. You know, how much of our how much of our debt assets are in either commercial or residential property? I mean, it must be huge. Yeah. And would every bank, like, fail if real estate prices were structure?
S14: I mean, Christ, they know they’ll just run a couple of deals.
S9: The answer to that is no. Right. Because we have actually done a pretty good job, certainly since the housing crisis of moving that risk off of banks balance sheets. And yes, there’s a lot of debt out there in the form of mortgage backed securities and Fannie and Freddie and all the rest of it. But it’s not in banks.
S11: But if we structure it, I mean, not how complicated. Yeah. Because like there it’s I don’t think it’s a complete coincidence that if you look at when housing really started to become this kind of wealth creation machine and look at also kind of what was happening with wages at the same time and oh, so much of U.S. GDP, especially now, is driven by consumption and a lot of that is kind of debt fueled consumption. That and being able to have this kind of wealth generating machine is really important in how the economy functions.
S9: Post the kind of 1960s boom excesses like you have to you have to be able to tell the difference. You know, in the in the mid 2000s during the housing boom, you would you would have this booming like cash out refinances, your house would get still. And you know that they exist, but they’re not they’re not what they were.
S8: It is. But. So but the refi industry is now, as you were saying, the refi industry is now like an industry. I mean, one of the things I always laugh about is I will meet some I’m trying to use this term less, but some NIMBY who will say I am. And people will say, oh, you’re rich, you’re trying to protect your valley. And they will say, I am not really rich because I expect to die in this house. And therefore, it’s not like I’m really but a you get to pass that on to our kids. So that’s a pretty, you know, pretty big part of how you’re thinking about your your wealth. On top of that, people are constantly cashing out of these houses. They are the same way. You know, a Facebook person has, you know, a chunk of shares and they kind of slowly sell it all off to fund their lifestyle. People are totally quietly doing that with their homes. So it’s not completely driving consumption the way you’re talking about during their, like, epic ridiculousness of 2006. But is it is structurally A.D.H.D. of our consumption now that is that is priced into the 15 trillion dollars or whatever? I guess it’s 70 percent of 18 trillion that that is consumption.
S5: Let’s have the zoning conversation, because it’s the core of the book.
S3: There’s so much talk in the book about SB 85 and the zoning and what you know.
S14: How’s SB 87? Yeah, I know, but it was just SB 50.
S8: That was the one they failed. But they the same thing.
S6: And basically, it’s all of these attempts by the Californian state government to make it easier for people to create more supply in the housing market. And it’s all about zoning and the zoning can happen. Hyper local levels. And you wind up getting like incredibly tough fights in tiny little places like Lafayette, California, which should probably not even be a city in the first place.
S1: And it’s fascinating to see these fights and to join you as you sort of watch these fights evolve over time. And then in the back in my head, I’m thinking Frisco, Texas.
S13: Oh, okay. Yeah, it’s a Dallas suburb.
S1: Right. Which is a Dallas suburb, which basically didn’t exist 10 years ago and is now home to five Fortune 500 companies. And it’s building like a high schools a year. And it’s just growing like wildfire. And the difference is obvious, right? One is there’s a bunch of empty space where people can just build as much as they like. There are no NIMBYs and it’s easy. And it’s one of the reasons why Texas is the fastest growing state in the union. And the other one is where you. There is no empty space. You have to build up. You have to increase density. And that’s so much harder.
S10: I mean, that fight that you desire. And in Lafayette that Felix just talked about it, as in your New York Times piece, just really lays it all out. I mean, it’s the set the guy wants to build, what, like a few hundred homes.
S15: Then he’s like Wrangell down to some compromise where he’s gonna build 40 units. But that’s not that’s still too much. And now the the whole piece of land is just empty. Like that’s what struck me because I had always thought San Francisco was like full, full up and there wasn’t anymore land to build on. But actually, there is land, but it’s zoned all crazy and normal that you do anything.
S13: Yes. By the way, I will say, I don’t know if you guess others. President Obama tweeted that story, which which I was like, wow. Like, oh, my God, you know. And by the way, I couple things.
S4: One, I would push back hard against the idea that there’s no NIMBYs in Texas because building a bunch of exurbs is still often a form of NIMBYism. Like if you tried to put a a high density thing next to someone in and in Texas, they would complain the same way anybody would. And the flip side of that is if you try to put a high density next to someone who owns like a two house in San Francisco, that they’re quietly pulling a bunch of money out of, it turns out they’re not as liberal as they think they are. So anyway, I think that. Okay, let me start with the beginning, that zoning generally is a great idea. You know, zoning was invented in Germany. I think it even predates that. You got you find any city in the world that has ever existed. And there’s obviously like a certain logic to it. They don’t put like the, you know, pigsty next to the restaurant. And, you know, I mean, I like that the we as humans have all sorts of things that we, you know, we excrete think whatever might or not to get too nasty. But my point is, is that life is organized in a certain way. We don’t want things that are pollute or a dangerous next to things started elementary school. Okay. Well, you know, that’s a moral choice. But yeah, I guess, you know, I’m just. Anyway, so we have had a marijuana dispensaries near schools fight. And it seems just. But you guys in this police state of New York. Do not have legalized marijuana yet. So anyway. So some kind of zoning is is obviously important. And I actually think there should be lots of local control over zoning, but it should be that they have a plan. That plan is a big fight, a participatory process, all the things we idealize about local governance. And then they should stick to that plan. And what I thought was illustrative about that Lafayette story is that. That city, certainly nobody who worked in that city at that time had anything to do with that zoning. But you inherit a lot of legacies when you move to a place or, you know, we all inherit laws of the Constitution or in our states and cities. That was where. People had decided that high density housing should go. That was their plan. And the developer was just living by that plan. If they had decided which they subsequently written me in emails. Oh, with your stories bad. And I hate you because that. That building should actually be closer to downtown. But they have, of course, downtown, which of course, like justich a mile away.
S8: But they’ve got a bunch of stuff in downtown, too. But if they really did say, look, our community has decided we want to build this capacity of housing, which is consistent with the state’s needs. But we all want we want it all over there, not over here. You know, for like logic that makes sense. And in this case, it would be so that it could be closer to Bart and downtown. I would say that’s great. That community should be doing that. The problem is they don’t do that. They create a big plan for all this housing. Only because they have to. And then they fight over every single individual project.
S11: But. Well, but I guess my only thing is I agree with you a certain side. I mean, I think obviously some zoning is important. Regulations are important to him. For you that libertarian in there. Yes. But like but I guess what you’re describing is the natural result of a system like that. You think this is where you probably do need a little bit more federal oversight, because if you have so much local control, that is going to very likely limit lead to discrimination and discrimination based on race, but also discrimination based on not wanting new people in there.
S16: So first off, I agree with every single thing you just said. I’m more saying like there should be a process that all these communities should be given a chance and a realistic chance. It’s years, whatever. People need to to create the plans. But they there should be a hard penalty if they’re not doing it. So I totally agree with everything you’re saying. I think the oversight should be and you know what?
S9: To some, wouldn’t it wouldn’t the result just be that the community has put forth a plan saying like a banana plant, basically build Africa, nothing anywhere near anyone. And because that garran. No.
S8: But I know I’m saying I.
S3: There should be a plan on how much you plan a banana. Bananas is like ultra NIMBY’s.
S4: Yes. Yes, exactly. I think that I I’m basically agreeing with both of you. But what I’m saying is there should be a plan that says. Here’s what you have to build in a region. Here is what this region is going to need based on its job constraints and some like that, and then individual communities can figure that out based on a certain number.
S9: So then there they have hard penalties, so they have like a minimum amount of new.
S8: We do have that in California, but there are no teeth in it. And I think they they have that most places, but they’re very rarely cheapen it. By the way, I would say this is basically what’s happening. We’re just kind of watching it in slow motion right now. Call it the biggest fight in California last year was over this SB 50, which was a bill that would have made it possible to build four to eight story bill, I think four story buildings near public transit. But then half mile of public transit. And then as I said it, I think at the beginning of the show, every presidential every Democratic presidential candidate has put forth a housing plan. And all of them, including the the burning plane with national rent control, have a large zoning component that all the presidential candidates, even all the. That all the Democratic presidential candidates even released a housing plan, as best I can tell, unprecedented that all of them have a zoning component is almost borderline weird. If you think about it like it’s they’re all inserting themselves in this hyperlocal issue to come here on the September education plans and other local things. But this still seems like quite extraordinary. And they all kind of congealed, too.
S16: Basically what you’re saying, which is if you’re not building enough, we’re going to step in now again, because it doesn’t take an. All right.
S17: And this is the issue which you introduced right at the beginning of the book, basically, which is there’s an incredible asymmetry in any political fight between the people who live in a neighborhood on the one hand and the people who hypothetically might live in a neighborhood in the future and benefit from, you know, new housing in that neighborhood who have no political voice because they don’t live there.
S13: Yeah, I that if I had to find like one of the things I found so fascinating when I was doing this book, I’m from California. I’ve always been sort of obsessed with California history. So a lot of the old schools, 70 used to I actually kind of knew some of that stuff I would read about Jerry Brown before. But the thing that absolutely fascinated me was I came across this book called The Environmental Protection Hustle.
S8: And I went I had originally done my research and called a bunch of different people and they were like, oh, you’re gonna check out this book came out in the 70s how without this book. So I went and found this book. And this guy, man, this book could have been written like yesterday. It was published in 1979. And despite the kind of Fox News title is a very reasonable book, he’s like, look, you know, we should have open space and all these things. But wherever we decide we’re gonna build housing, we should like actually build housing there. And he says this problem is going to require federal oversight because you could never create a constituency of people who have housing consumers because they don’t know who they are yet. And when I met Sonia Trowels is the kind of leader of this group called the Bay Area Renters Federation or BAF for for the book. I was like, oh, my God. Like, this is I mean, whether or not she’ll be successful, you know, lot long term. I mean, her group is subsequently this woman, Laura, who’s kind of the real life CEO of the organization. I mean, she’s she’s actually built it into like a powerful thing and is a an organizer and fundraiser and is really the architect of the whole thing. They they are trying to sort of create this constituency. And I just thought that was like a fascinating idea, because when you look at what the policy papers have been saying for, you know, 40 longer than either of those two people have been alive, they’ve always said this would be an impossible thing. And so I just kind of found this conundrum so intriguing. And it probably is going to require all the things we just said, which is, you know, a federal role, a state role. But this is the kind of group that’s going to be pushing for that or at least being a counterbalance for it.
S11: And I’m curious, just because you said, like, you know, you read this book in the 1970s that was saying the same things we’re saying now. And I guess there’s obviously the worry that someone 30 years, 40 years from now will be saying, oh, I was looking back at this book from that, you know. So what what about now do you think is different?
S9: I don’t think I’m if I think I think I think I read I read you a book and I read it as a deeply pessimistic book.
S8: I read it as as like somebody one reviewer called it an optimistic counter-narratives.
S9: I read it as like nothing has changed since the 1970s. The systemic I read it like a little bit like watching The Wire. There were all of these very deep, like embedded gods who were just going to foil the best laid plans. And all of this is going to fail.
S15: So like we used to have after World War Two, the federal government got its act together. We all built a lot of stuff. And then it’s been like NIMBYism until now. The crisis has gotten so bad, there’s actually people who want to have more housing and are really pushing for it. And there’s this real change of. There’s Democratic candidates with housing proposals, there’s some other cities that have passed up zoning. There’s actually something happening now that does seem different.
S5: Okay, so it might take a conclusion. Are you optimistic or pessimistic?
S4: I am. I am optimistic. So I asked what we’re we’re going to look back on.
S8: If I am so lucky that people look back on this book and I’m still in print or they have to buy it through some strange, rare bookstore, which is how about the Environmental Protection Hustle? I think that what we’re seeing so was fat. So there’s this woman in San Francisco named Sue Hester, who was kind of the kind of classic seven. She’s portrayed as the kind of classic 70s NIMBY, some of the kind of her contemporaries have said, why are there no more Sue Hester’s where this Sue Hester’s of today? And someone tweeted, there are they just want to kill Sue Hester. I think what I learned from that joke, maybe that was too too long about wind up. But is that that’s the baby boom kind of generation. And then here’s the millennial generation coming around. And there’s a lot of millennials. There’s always like articles written about millennials or they’re not special. There’s just a lot of them that makes them special. And as a Gen Xers who got nothing other than the movie Reality Bites and you know, okay, Coehlo, which was a test product, they got, you know, shelved pretty quickly. I never was part of a demographic bubble that was big enough to really matter. And I think that they are going to change policy. And I think that whatever they do is going to lead to a world that their children don’t want. And then we’re going to like backlash against that in some way. So I actually think that, A, it’s generally optimistic because these people are organizing around these issues. They are trying to do it in a diverse way, though obviously they’ve had some major problems with that. But the fact that they’re even like growning and and having a huge, you know, fight and consternation over that lack of diversity is so radically different from the 70s that that alone is quite positive. It’s Atley. It’s it maybe not be enough, but it is it is it is a difference in a step. And they’re they’ve absorbed this ethos that more housing is better and that this is a social good and a social thing. And that alone seems like a huge change. The first time I met Sonia for coffee a million years ago, she said to me, everybody shows up to a city council meeting to complain about housing. And not only are they listened to, even though they’re just like the one person on the block, they are greeted as a hero. Nobody thinks they’re trying to pump up their own property values. So she said, I want that person to be seen as an asshole, you know, or a selfish asshole. And so I think that that kind of feeling is being absorbed by young housing, youngish housing. I mean, son is 37, right. But, you know, like youngish housing consumers today. And that ethos will kind of hold, though, EMMICK as well. I mean, one of the things that’s amazing to me is when I meet these people kind of came up in the 70s environmental movement. I mean, they still hold on to that tight, even though some of the things they fought for originally are kind of not having social justice outcomes. Right. And I think that these younger people today and millennial generation today are generally speaking, becoming more pro housing, whether it’s public housing or market-rate housing. And they want more opportunity for more people to live in, um, like more dense setting. I think that’s a huge change. And I think that will over time hold.
S3: Quick numbers around you. First you go it.
S4: Oh, no. OK, 50 percent is the number. There are 2000 unsheltered homeless people in America. One hundred thousand of them live in California. OK.
S11: And my number is five hundred twenty five thousand dollars. That’s the average household income of the most expensive city in the country, according to Bloomberg, which is Atherton, California. And I think like three of the top four are all in California. And like half million dollars for average.
S8: That’s that’s the weird part is that sounds like an incredibly low for Atherton. And it’s almost certainly some function of well, it’s an average and median.
S15: So, I mean, even then, you know, my number is eight million. That’s the number of Americans who have started a crowdfunding campaign for their themselves to pay for medical bills or health care, a treatment million. And then that’s from a survey done by the University of Chicago. And then 12 man people also said they started crowdfunding for someone they know if health care. Part of the problem with high real estate costs is that you don’t have a lot of money left over for much else and health care costs keep going up.
S3: And my number is six hundred and twenty seven dollars and fifty cents, which is how much it would cost you to buy a share of E-Trade.
S1: In April 1999, during the dot com bubble in E-Trade, of course, just got bought by Morgan Stanley for about fifty five dollars a share. So that wasn’t a good investment.
S9: I think that’s it. Connor, thank you so much for coming onto this show. It was nerd tastic.
S18: We loved it. It was everything we love about slate money in one guest. Come back anytime. And congratulations on your book. Thank you.
S19: Also to Jeff, I mean, Molly, could you thing thank you all for listening to this housing, at least for me. And we’ll talk to you next week.