“Landlord” has become a dirty word in progressive politics. From the #CancelRent movement to support for the CDC’s unlawful “eviction moratorium,” prominent left-wing politicians want the government to back the “good guys,” renters, at the expense of the “bad guys,” landlords. So, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley may have some explaining to do.
The Massachusetts Democrat and #CancelRent advocate has apparently been a landlord for several years now, according to new investigative reporting. She has reportedly earned tens of thousands of dollars in rental income from a Boston property.
Keeping families housed is a matter of public health.— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) December 1, 2020
We must cancel rent, extend eviction and foreclosure moratoriums, provide rental assistance, and offer legal representation for those at risk of eviction. This is a public health emergency.https://t.co/jmHEmfVjVa
America needs us to cancel rent. https://t.co/74EvaooJ05— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) August 10, 2020
“Pressley's 2020 financial disclosure, filed on Friday, disclosed between $5,000 and $15,000 in rental income from a Boston property in her husband's name,” Fox News reports. “The property was converted into a multi-family apartment after it was purchased, according to Pressley's disclosure.”
It’s unclear whether or not Pressley chose to “cancel” rent for her own tenants.
“Pressley's office did not immediately return Fox News' request for comment on whether she and her husband canceled rent for their tenants at any point in 2020,” the report continues. “She disclosed the same range of rental income – between $5,000 and $15,000 – in 2020 as she did in 2019, before the pandemic began.”
However, the moral of the story here is much broader than another instance of possible hypocrisy from big-government politicians. (There’s been no shortage of such examples during the pandemic to date). In fact, the congresswoman’s rental income is another reminder that landlords are not all wealthy CEOs or big companies.
Ayanna Pressley is not a multi-millionaire. She is not “the 1%.” In fact, she came from poverty and has an inspiring story of making it against the odds. And now, she is, most likely, somewhere in the middle or upper-middle class. But so are many other landlords, despite progressive rhetoric that paints them all as wealthy and greedy.
According to CNBC, around 14 percent of landlord households earn less than $50,000 annually. Another 15.4 percent earn $50,000-$89,000, while roughly 30 percent are in the $90,000-$200,000 range. In short, a huge portion of landlords are working or middle class.
So, government interventions into the rental market are not the benevolent interventions protecting the working class from exploitation by the rich that #cancelrent advocates claim. Canceling rent, eviction moratoriums, and similar policies are arbitrary and unfair measures that make some working class people winners but others losers. Congresswoman (and landlord!) Ayanna Pressley, of all people, should know that.
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