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RENT CONTROL is back. Economists have long criticized government price controls on apartments, a concept that had its first moment in the 1920s and that some cities reintroduced in a modified form in the 1970s. Now, decades later, California and Oregon are moving forward with statewide rent-control laws. Meanwhile, presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has made a national rent-control standard the centerpiece of his sprawling new housing plan.
The economists are right, and the populists are wrong. Rent-control laws can be good for some privileged beneficiaries, who are often not the people who really need help. But they are bad for many others.
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