Seattle has a homelessness problem. So, as John Stossel notes, they are reacting by punishing businesses. Go figure. Excerpt:
Members of Seattle’s city council want all big Seattle businesses to pay a tax of $500 per employee.
In response, Amazon stopped building a new complex. Construction workers joined Amazon in protesting the new tax.
On the other side are city council members like Kshama Sawant. She and members of her political party, Socialist Alternative, demonstrated in support of the tax. They chanted, “Housing is a human right!”
Seattle does have large encampments of street people. Some are mentally ill. Some are young people looking to get stoned and live free. Some are homeless simply because they cannot afford apartments. There are many reasons for that, but one is that Amazon and other companies have brought so many new jobs to Seattle that the demand for housing exceeds the supply.
Normally, when that happens, the free market quickly solves the problem. Builders view the rising prices as a wonderful thing. They quickly build new housing to sell to the new customers. But in Seattle, and many towns in America, politicians make that very hard.
Seattle’s building code is 745 pages long.
If you want to build apartments, you better hire lawyers and “fixers” to keep you on the right side of the rules.
But at least the city’s overlords can see reason:
The money raised, supposedly, will go to “solve” the homeless problem. One consultant reckons that this will cost the city $400 million; funds they are unlikely to raise when their policies are driving major employers out of the city.
Stupid is as stupid does, and the Seattle City Council is being gobsmackingly stupid here. Never mind the destructive head tax; never mind the ruinous zoning restrictions. It’s a rule of nature that what you tax you get less of, and what you subsidize you get more of. Seattle is proposing to tax employment and subsidize homelessness. This won’t end well.