16 votes

Trump administration announces nationwide eviction moratorium through end of the year

26 comments

  1. [2]
    knocklessmonster
    Link
    Hold the phone. We've had something like this on the books, and it's used six months in, two months before the election? That's a shame.

    1944 Public Health Service Act

    Hold the phone. We've had something like this on the books, and it's used six months in, two months before the election? That's a shame.

    18 votes
    1. skybrian
      Link Parent
      Yes, there is probably a backstory behind this, but we don't know what it is yet. I'm also wondering if it's legal. Presumably we'll find out more tomorrow.

      Yes, there is probably a backstory behind this, but we don't know what it is yet. I'm also wondering if it's legal. Presumably we'll find out more tomorrow.

      6 votes
  2. [6]
    dubteedub
    Link
    What would actually have been useful for the issue of lack of ability to pay rent would be if the federal government actually continued to extend the increased unemployment benefits. Or they could...

    What would actually have been useful for the issue of lack of ability to pay rent would be if the federal government actually continued to extend the increased unemployment benefits.

    Or they could have been issuing monthly checks to all Americans since the start of the pandemic.

    But instead they are just continuing to push back renters falling off the financial cliff a few more months as they continue to accrue back rent that they will be unable to pay once this all ends.

    This does not help renters who are just going to amass massive debt they can't pay and get evicted in six months.

    This does not help landlords who are not seeing a dime of rent money from their properties and are falling behind on property taxes and mortgages.

    On top of this, the executive order doesn't even fully stop evictions.

    The fourth line of the actual order states:

    Landlords are still permitted to pursue eviction against tenants committing criminal acts, threatening the health or safety of other residents, and damaging property, among other offenses.

    So landlords can still just fine some other reason to evict you anyway.

    10 votes
    1. [3]
      Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      On the one hand, allowing landlords to evict people for criminal/safety reasons I think is reasonable. On the other hand, this will definitely be abused by some slum-sucker landlords. On the...

      On the one hand, allowing landlords to evict people for criminal/safety reasons I think is reasonable. On the other hand, this will definitely be abused by some slum-sucker landlords. On the gripping hand, as you mentioned, after the moratorium is up they're all getting evicted anyway so wtf was the point.

      Hopefully we have a new president by the time we have to pick this can up again? Or maybe that was part of the point....

      7 votes
      1. dubteedub
        Link Parent
        I imagine the point is that this will push the evictions off until after the election when it no longer matters to Trump if millions of Americans are made homeless or not. It hurts his reelction...

        after the moratorium is up they're all getting evicted anyway so wtf was the point.

        I imagine the point is that this will push the evictions off until after the election when it no longer matters to Trump if millions of Americans are made homeless or not.

        It hurts his reelction chances if this all happens in the fall.

        9 votes
      2. skybrian
        Link Parent
        Eviction proceedings do involve the courts, so it seems like just making something up isn’t going to work. Don’t they have to convince a judge? I don’t think there is any rule that can substitute...

        Eviction proceedings do involve the courts, so it seems like just making something up isn’t going to work. Don’t they have to convince a judge?

        I don’t think there is any rule that can substitute for human judgement based on the facts of the case, so this seems like a good approach in principle. The question is whether the judges are good, have enough leeway to make good decisions, and have the right information to work with.

    2. psi
      Link Parent
      To add on to this, the CARES act was estimated to increase the deficit by about $2 trillion, but only about 1/4 of that went to individuals [1]. Of that slice, about half of that went towards...

      What would actually have been useful for the issue of lack of ability to pay rent would be if the federal government actually continued to extend the increased unemployment benefits.

      Or they could have been issuing monthly checks to all Americans since the start of the pandemic.

      To add on to this, the CARES act was estimated to increase the deficit by about $2 trillion, but only about 1/4 of that went to individuals [1]. Of that slice, about half of that went towards extending unemployment benefits, and the other half went towards the stimulus checks.

      Specifically, the stimulus checks accounted for about $300 billion. Remember when I said that the CARES act cost about $2 trillion? That was actually an underestimate; more precisely, the CARES act cost $2.2 trillion [2], meaning the cost of the stimulus checks was practically a rounding error.

      Frankly, it's a shame that we spent so much on the CARES act and so little went towards individuals. If we'd gutted most of the aid to businesses and instead given that to people, we'd still be receiving a stimulus check right now. In fact, we could've increased the cash payments from the stimulus check, gutted the unemployment benefits (which have bullshit barriers, speaking from personal experience), and we'd still be receiving stimulus checks.


      [1] https://www.npr.org/2020/03/26/821457551/whats-inside-the-senate-s-2-trillion-coronavirus-aid-package
      [2] https://apnews.com/2099a53bb8adf2def7ee7329ea322f9d

      7 votes
    3. skybrian
      Link Parent
      Yes it would be better if Congress threw money at this, but this action should probably be judged as a workaround due to Congress being at an impasse.

      Yes it would be better if Congress threw money at this, but this action should probably be judged as a workaround due to Congress being at an impasse.

      3 votes
  3. [9]
    nulledzero
    Link
    I think they need to also prioritize landlords, it is silly that they are being left out of all these bills or emergency actions. Why do they only support the people paying rent and not the...

    I think they need to also prioritize landlords, it is silly that they are being left out of all these bills or emergency actions.

    Why do they only support the people paying rent and not the landlords, picking and choosing who you decide to help is not the right way of doing it.

    5 votes
    1. [5]
      Thra11
      Link Parent
      The landlords aren't being evicted from their homes. While there are exceptions, most landlords aren't providing a useful service to society, they're just hoarding scarce resources which other...

      Why do they only support the people paying rent and not the landlords, picking and choosing who you decide to help is not the right way of doing it.

      The landlords aren't being evicted from their homes.

      While there are exceptions, most landlords aren't providing a useful service to society, they're just hoarding scarce resources which other people desperately need.

      15 votes
      1. [3]
        skybrian
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        It’s a mistake to treat landlords as a class because their circumstances vary widely. For example, some are maintaining properties themselves and others outsourced everything to a management firm....

        It’s a mistake to treat landlords as a class because their circumstances vary widely. For example, some are maintaining properties themselves and others outsourced everything to a management firm. Also, some have high mortgages and other expenses to pay and some don’t. Profit margins vary a lot.

        It’s weird to treat housing as having no value and requiring no maintenance, which is the implication if you say it’s “just” hoarding. Also, I think the hoarding charge applies more to empty homes that aren’t being rented out? Occupied rental housing is in use. You can complain about the price or the level of maintenance, but the housing isn’t wasted. Having a place to live is more valuable to the tenants than most other services.

        That said, I do find some landlords to be remarkably unsympathetic to the plight of their tenants. The greed is real.

        10 votes
        1. [2]
          bloup
          Link Parent
          Leasing out property does not mean you aren't hoarding it, especially when you retain the exclusive economic benefits of ownership of the property. For a more abstract, but analogous example, a...

          Leasing out property does not mean you aren't hoarding it, especially when you retain the exclusive economic benefits of ownership of the property. For a more abstract, but analogous example, a person who has substantial land holdings and earns a significant income off of rent seeking activities like selling mineral rights or timber rights who does nothing but take a rent from someone else who must pay for the privilege of actually using the land productively is obviously not contributing anything at all to economic development, but still benefits. How would that not be hoarding land? Yes, they allow others to use it, but they earn a residual benefit that comes right out of the pocket of the greater economy derived specifically from their land holdings despite the simple act of holding onto land doing nothing productive. If the people who are actually using the land productively were the ones who had the exclusive claim to the land being used, they would actually be able to retain the full fruits of their productive activities instead of some of it being lost to an absentee landowner.

          In the case of housing, the fact that we require landlords to maintain property by statute doesn't really change the economics of the situation, in an abstract sense. The rent is not a payment for services like property maintenance. It is not right to think of it this way. It is a payment for the privilege to use the land, and the landlord has an obligation by statute to maintain property for housing to some minimum standard because otherwise many wouldn't (and even with what laws we do have, we see plenty of landlords try to minimize this obligation as much as possible).

          Here's a good video lecture on the Ricardian Law of Rent which tells us where land gets its value in the first place and what happens when there is no more free land left to claim

          What is economic rent?

          Information about rent-seeking and some of its associated problems

          For what it's worth, hoarding land in exchange for rents being a bad thing is probably the most consistent notion in the history of economics, going back to Adam Smith who wrote in the Wealth of Nations "As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce."

          9 votes
          1. skybrian
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Yes, I agree that much rental income is unearned. However, economic rent is a different concept than rent. Yes, many landlords do benefit from economic rent, but that’s only part of it. It doesn’t...

            Yes, I agree that much rental income is unearned. However, economic rent is a different concept than rent. Yes, many landlords do benefit from economic rent, but that’s only part of it. It doesn’t imply that all rental income is unearned.

            In particular, one reason that landlords have mortgages is that construction workers have to be paid to build the building, and other workers (who might in some cases be the landlords) have to maintain the buildings. There is real value embedded in a building even if you only assign value to labor. There is other labor involved in the work that property management firms do.

            A lot of this work is required by law, but things required by law are still valuable and the work still needs to be paid for.

            But I will also point out that everyone takes up space, some spaces are more valuable than others, and we do have to decide somehow who gets to live in the more valuable locations. If rent were not charged then you would need some other scheme like a lottery or a waiting list, which is what often happens for affordable housing. It seems weird not to assign value to things that people clearly value, even if it doesn’t come from any particular cost. I am sympathetic though to land-value taxes.

            Charging more for scarce things isn’t unreasonable. In some cases only the government benefits from it, like with a congestion tax.

            3 votes
      2. mat
        Link Parent
        Oh no won't somebody think of the parasitical land-owning classes!

        Oh no won't somebody think of the parasitical land-owning classes!

        9 votes
    2. [3]
      AugustusFerdinand
      Link Parent
      I'm going to ignore all the "no one should own land" answers and give you a direct one to your concerns. Landlords aren't included in this because they have already been helped. The first COVID...

      I think they need to also prioritize landlords, it is silly that they are being left out of all these bills or emergency actions.

      I'm going to ignore all the "no one should own land" answers and give you a direct one to your concerns.

      Landlords aren't included in this because they have already been helped. The first COVID bill included foreclosure protections for those with federally backed mortgages (about 50% of all mortgages) to help them on that front for a year. Landlords, if they're smart anyway, are companies (even if they only own one rental property) and were therefore eligible for the PPP loan program to help with funds during this time. Companies designated under the PPP category “real estate, rental, and leasing” received $10.7 billion in loan approvals. That money was spread across nearly 80,000 companies in the category — an average of about $134,000 each.

      Why do they only support the people paying rent and not the landlords, picking and choosing who you decide to help is not the right way of doing it.

      Picking and choosing is the only way to do it. Our entire system has been hampered by the argument that "I'm not getting mine." A large swath of argument against welfare boils down to "I'm not getting anything for free, but they are!" because we live in some weird universe where everyone has to be treated exactly the same regardless of their means to do so and if they aren't then no one should get anything. Picking and choosing occurs here because the renters have nothing, the landlords have everything. Are landlords suffering? Yes. Are landlords a business at the mercy of capitalism? Also yes. Landlords have been helped, the help hasn't run out (like it has for renters), and so they aren't the target of this EO.

      7 votes
      1. [2]
        skybrian
        Link Parent
        I largely agree, but I’ll point out that Congress did send money to most Americans at the beginning of the crisis. Something like UBI shouldn’t be unthinkable.

        I largely agree, but I’ll point out that Congress did send money to most Americans at the beginning of the crisis. Something like UBI shouldn’t be unthinkable.

        1. AugustusFerdinand
          Link Parent
          Which is an entirely different conversation.

          Which is an entirely different conversation.

          2 votes
  4. [9]
    Kuromantis
    Link
    BTW Your link has AMP in it. This one doesn't.
    BTW Your link has AMP in it.

    This one doesn't.

    8 votes
    1. [8]
      FishFingus
      Link Parent
      What exactly is AMP, and what's the controversy surrounding it? I see automated posts about it on Reddit, but I've never understood. Usually I'd start my quest for learning on Wikipedia, but it's...

      What exactly is AMP, and what's the controversy surrounding it? I see automated posts about it on Reddit, but I've never understood. Usually I'd start my quest for learning on Wikipedia, but it's terrible for computing definitions.

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        Wes
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I'll take a crack at it. AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. It's a standard which defines a more-limited version of HTML. AMP was designed to be optimized for speed. More specifically...
        • Exemplary

        I'll take a crack at it.

        AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. It's a standard which defines a more-limited version of HTML.

        AMP was designed to be optimized for speed. More specifically however, it was designed to allow safe pre-loading and pre-rendering of content. This way tools like search engines can instruct your browser to download the first result automatically, without there being any risk to the user. To fully load a regular webpage there'd be no guarantee of avoiding malicious content, trackers, etc. As a result, AMP pages can be loaded faster than regular pages from contexts like search engines.

        The technology is built on WebComponents, an HTML5 standard. Every AMP page includes a JavaScript library which parses the unique HTML and serves the page. The plugin also verifies if the page is valid with the amp spec.

        If a page is valid, it can be included in an AMP Cache. This is a copy of the page hosted by whoever is serving the content. Currently Google and Microsoft run AMP Caches, so you will find AMP results in Google and Bing searches.

        Mind you it is still possible to load a site's AMP version, such as in the URL above. It just won't get as big of a speed benefit because you're not pre-loading it. Theoretically, Deimos could run his own AMP Cache and pre-load AMP pages to make articles faster to load.

        AMP was originally created by Google as a more open alternative to Facebook Instant Articles. Rather than publishers feeding data into Facebook, AMP is a more distributed approach that more closely mimics the open web. Publishers still opt-in by creating AMP versions of their web pages, and then AMP Caches can index that content and serve it to viewers.

        AMP is now run by a consortium to help manage the standard. Google is on the steering committee, along with members from Microsoft, Twitter, Pinterest, Akamai, Cloudflare, Automattic, and various publication companies.


        As for the controversy, that's multifaceted. I'm going to be a little blunt here and say that the biggest reason is that most people don't actually understand what AMP is. I'll address some of the common criticisms:

        • AMP uses weird HTML. This makes it proprietary, and thus bad. Nope, AMP is fully HTML5 compliant. It uses a web standard to define new elements in JavaScript.
        • Google is STEALING publisher's content. Nah, AMP Cache is part of the design. The whole point of the system is to serve it first from the linking site. The publisher opts-in by making an AMP site and loading the library.
        • AMP is a ploy to make websites easier to parse for Googlebot. Googlebot is already the best at parsing the web. Making it easier only gives their competitors an advantage. Besides, AMP-flavoured HTML is still HTML. You can make it just as messy as any other code.
        • AMP makes pages SLOWER. Probably not. Most of the time I see this complaint, it's somebody that has knowingly blocked a required AMP resource. As a result the page uses a slower fallback method to still try to render the page.

        And now for some actually legitimate criticisms.

        • AMP gains an advantage in search. This is true. Well, half-true. Organic SERPs are unaffected, meaning the actual order of the sites returned isn't changed. However there is a search vertical specifically for AMP sites which gives them a very obvious advantage. This will be changing with the Core Web Vitals release in the near-future, but it's still gone on for years and was absolutely an example of using one Google service to prop up another.
        • The library can't be self-hosted. That JS library I mentioned has to be linked from a Google CDN to be considered valid. This means AMP isn't really as distributed as it should be. There is intention to change this, but it hasn't happened yet so the criticism remains.

        That's the long and short of AMP. It's similar to Android AOSP in that it's mostly-open, but has a small asterisk beside it due to the issues above.

        It's unfortunate that there's so much vitriol around the topic, because AMP is actually kind of a cool technology. It uses bleeding-edge APIs to accomplish a unique goal.

        All that said, AMP isn't my preferred solution to speeding up websites. I see it as more of a bandaid fix. There's tools (and plugins) to generate easy AMP pages for you, but I'd much rather see devs actually speeding up their own sites without tricks.

        There's no need to generate a second specialized version of your page when you could work on improving the original version. It breaks my heart to see so many 5MB+ webpages from big sites that could be doing so much better.

        In my opinion, AMP only exists because many developers couldn't deliver on making their websites faster. This has became a problem in a globalized world with mobile phones everywhere. Many of us are able to stream 4K videos no problem, but for somebody in India, a 5MB website can take minutes to view. That's the problem that AMP solves.

        edit: Typo

        21 votes
        1. FishFingus
          Link Parent
          This is a great answer. Thanks a bunch!

          This is a great answer. Thanks a bunch!

          2 votes
        2. skybrian
          Link Parent
          I do wonder why more news sites don’t use AMP to create a page that works well for both desktop and mobile browsers, and avoid having to serve two versions with different URL’s. Maybe they earn...

          I do wonder why more news sites don’t use AMP to create a page that works well for both desktop and mobile browsers, and avoid having to serve two versions with different URL’s. Maybe they earn more from ads with the bloated web pages they normally use? Or maybe there are technical limitations.

          1 vote
      2. Zarasophos
        Link Parent
        It's a Google thing. News sites use it, their websites go faster, Google ranks them higher and gets more control over the web. In practice, I find it more irritating than anything because it...

        It's a Google thing. News sites use it, their websites go faster, Google ranks them higher and gets more control over the web. In practice, I find it more irritating than anything because it breaks normal URL structure and sometimes gets hosted directly on Google servers. If you want, you can use Redirect AMP to HTML to open the HTML version whenever you click on an AMP link.

        4 votes
      3. [3]
        Thra11
        Link Parent
        I know what you mean. It's this one.

        Usually I'd start my quest for learning on Wikipedia, but it's terrible for computing definitions.

        I know what you mean. It's this one.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          FishFingus
          Link Parent
          Ah...the one time I don't even bother with it after my previous experiences, it has kind of a decent definition.

          Ah...the one time I don't even bother with it after my previous experiences, it has kind of a decent definition.

          1. Thra11
            Link Parent
            I think I actually misunderstood you before. I thought that you'd looked at the AMP disambiguation page and couldn't tell which one it was.

            I think I actually misunderstood you before. I thought that you'd looked at the AMP disambiguation page and couldn't tell which one it was.

            1 vote