The way that zoning hampers new housing construction, raising prices by constricting supply, has been a long-running theme around here (see this item from last month for an example that includes lots of links to our earlier coverage). Now two more voices have joined the issue. Here is my former New York Sun colleague, Errol Louis, now political anchor of NY1 News, writing in the Daily News, advising Democrats to seize the opportunity:
Dems also have a chance to embark on a national campaign to restart the home-building market, in part by championing local zoning rules that encourage new development. Doing so might ruffle the feathers of local environmentalists, but a pro-growth economic agenda is what voters in depressed urban and suburban swing counties are looking for.
And here is New York Times columnist David Brooks:
Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution recently published a book called "Dream Hoarders" detailing some of the structural ways the well educated rig the system.
The most important is residential zoning restrictions. Well-educated people tend to live in places like Portland, New York and San Francisco that have housing and construction rules that keep the poor and less educated away from places with good schools and good job opportunities.
These rules have a devastating effect on economic growth nationwide. Research by economists Chang-Tai Hsieh and Enrico Moretti suggests that zoning restrictions in the nation's 220 top metro areas lowered aggregate U.S. growth by more than 50 percent from 1964 to 2009. The restrictions also have a crucial role in widening inequality. An analysis by Jonathan Rothwell finds that if the most restrictive cities became like the least restrictive, the inequality between different neighborhoods would be cut in half.