Public pools need an abundance agenda
And by all means, frame it as hostility to "neoliberalism" if you want
I read Kate Aronoff’s case for pool party progressivism with interest because although it’s positioned as a riposte to my side of the ongoing supply-side liberalism debate, I am personally a big fan of D.C.’s public swimming pool system. The article turned out to contain surprisingly little content that I disagree with, but I think it reflected an ongoing tendency of those on the Everything Bagel side of the debate to not really engage with what specifically is at issue — including pretending that the reference is to foodstuff rather than to the movie Everything Everywhere All at Once.
By contrast, back in late July, my former boss Robert Kuttner made an admirably specific claim about a side point in this argument. I thought this was useful because his claim is wrong:
A favorite Klein example is the case of affordable housing. For Klein, the main problem is zoning and other regulatory barriers that make it more costly to build housing and raise costs. But as Dayen correctly points out, we have a very modest social-housing sector in the U.S. and limited funds for housing subsidies. We are largely at the mercy of developers. We could eliminate zoning restrictions and make it easier to build multifamily housing, and that would solve only a small portion of the affordable-housing shortage.
There’s a lot that one can say about social housing in the United States and the case for more investment in it, but Kuttner here really captures what makes me suspicious about this discourse — it seems like an evasive move designed to avoid a clear discussion of zoning.
After all, look at the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s affordability map and ask yourself if you believe that Massachusetts (#3 in housing wage) is so much less affordable than North Carolina (#29 in housing wage) because North Carolina has a dramatically more robust commitment to social housing.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial