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The Rent Is Too Damn High: What To Do About It, And Why It Matters More Than You Think [Kindle Edition]

Matthew Yglesias
2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (455 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $3.99
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
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Book Description

From prominent political thinker and widely followed Slate columnist, a polemic on high rents and housing costs—and how these costs are hollowing out communities, thwarting economic development, and rendering personal success and fulfillment increasingly difficult to achieve.

Rent is an issue that affects nearly everyone. High rent is a problem for all of us, extending beyond personal financial strain. High rent drags on our country’s overall rate of economic growth, damages the environment, and promotes long commutes, traffic jams, misery, and smog. Yet instead of a serious focus on the issue, America’s cities feature niche conversations about the availability of “affordable housing” for poor people. Yglesias’s book changes the conversation for the first time, presenting newfound context for the issue and real-time, practical solutions for the problem.

Product Details

  • File Size: 890 KB
  • Print Length: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (March 6, 2012)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0078XGJXO
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,821 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
188 of 214 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A positive review from a conservative April 5, 2012
By jsmitty
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Yglesias is one of the real bright lights of the progressive blogosphere. As a conservative who has been reading politics his whole life, I can attest that he is "Exhibit A" in my overall case that liberals have dramatically upped their policy advocacy game, while conservatives have stagnated, largely intellectually stuck in the assumptions and narratives of the Reagan era. Back then most liberals were for rent controls, opposed development because they hated developers or on spurious environmental grounds, and thought the solution to inner city problems like crime and declining quality of life were more HUD grants. Liberals were fish in a barrel for conservatives armed with facts and only a rudimentary knowledge of how markets worked. And the evidence of failed liberal policies in inner cities was obvious to anyone with two eyes. People with jobs and money fled to the suburbs while urban liberals kept telling the same shaggy dog stories.

But Yglesias is different. For one thing, he's a mostly free market liberal who argues based on facts and data rather than on liberal tales of vicitimization and woe. As an exponent of the urban renaissance that came about through better policing, longer prison sentences for street criminals, and the gradual demolition of public housing (aka govt. created slums), he has alot of interesting observations not only in the ways liberals have gone wrong when it comes to housing policy but how conservatives have as well. Although lacking in any formal economics training, he shows all the various ways in which markets could address and would address the affordable housing shortage in many of the best big cities, but can't because of regulations. Yes...environmental and historic preservation regs, but mostly because of zoning.
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193 of 232 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ignore the trolls March 12, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ignore all the trolls leaving one star reviews. Most are angry fans of Andrew Brietbart or people who never liked the author in the first place yet still bought his book (or not). This is basically a fleshed-out long form magazine article, that provides a fascinating overview of a chronically-under discussed policy issue. You can easily find more academic and through discussion of this issue but that was never the point of the book. All in all I found it to be a very interesting read that I would highly recommend (as long as you don't mind having some of your assumptions challenged).
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97 of 117 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding, quick, smart read. March 15, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've long been a reader of Matt Yglesias', and even though we differ ideologically (he's a liberal, I'm a conservative), I have always found him to be a smart and engaging writer. This excellent book is no exception. The Rent Is Too Damn High makes very lucid arguments and explains in a nutshell why you can't live in Manhattan or San Francisco and, more importantly, while zoning issues aren't obscure local problems but actually have an impact across economic growth, policy and cultural vitality. A must-read for anyone interested in urban issues, whatever their political persuasion.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it April 17, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great book. Unfortunately, people on team Democrat won't agree with the conclusion and people on team Republican won't even read it since it's by a 'liberal'. If, however, you approach it with a truly open mind and carefully and critically evaluate each of his arguments, I believe you'll agree with all of his conclusions.

If you've ever wondered why rent constitutes such a large share of your paycheck living in NYC or SF or LA or really any other big city, this'll tell you. Common misconceptions abound about high rents, high housing prices, and all the negative side-effects they wreak on our economy. Matthew Yglesias walks you through them from an economic perspective without all the economics jargon, but he doesn't treat the reader like an idiot. His explanations are thorough. He tackles the criticisms of his ideas. And I think you'd be hard pressed to decipher any sort of connection between his ideas and any particular political philosophy, which, let's face it, is kind of what people tend to complain about. He keeps it short and sweet rather than drawing the book out.

Among the friends and family members I've talked with about it, most of them seem to have a hard time believing that 'Cost of Living' doesn't factor into wages at all. But from an economic perspective this really shouldn't be very hard to believe since employers are not charities. They're trying to get the most value out of you for the least money possible. They'll pay you the market clearing wage and if that isn't enough to live comfortably on, well then *Amazon censorship* you. To be clear, 'housing prices' do factor into 'cost of living' and 'cost of living' does determine what constitues a 'livable wage'. But there's no particular axiom of economics that states that employers have to pay you a livable wage.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes it is April 4, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
We're not building enough homes in the places where people want to live and can find work. It turns out that the problem is too much regulation, but for once, conservatives aren't complaining about the problem. Yglesias offers a solid diagnosis and some useful remedies for the housing crisis that hurts the whole economy.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and persuasive April 4, 2012
By Erik M.
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's easy to start believing that rational argument never changes anyone's mind. It does sometimes, though - Matthew Yglesias has completely changed the way I think about housing issues. The book doesn't assume readers are economists and also doesn't talk down to us, and it's remarkably clear.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Important for liberals to read and act!
Important message deftly written about by Matthew Yglesias. I'd say this is really important for liberals to read and more importantly- take action on, because Democrats have the... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Fred Goodsell
2.0 out of 5 stars pretty unconvincing
Sounds good but not much in persuasive evidence. These are the additional twelve words required. Oops, need five more words.
Published 4 months ago by Ruth D Steen
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good
As a quick read, this book does a decent job outlining how overly restrictive zoning constricts housing supply in high value cities detrimentally. Read more
Published 8 months ago by gerbm
4.0 out of 5 stars Much better than the star rating would have you believe.
My normal position on Matt is that he needs kicked in the teeth. I know him as the economics blogger at Slate.

You know he "only" has a BA in philosophy. Read more
Published 9 months ago by J. Edgar Mihelic
4.0 out of 5 stars articulate argument, clever insights
Good read. MY's writing generally impresses, and this book does not disappoint. I do wish he used a bit more evidence though. It was a little too op-ed for my tastes.
Published 10 months ago by Sara Barz
1.0 out of 5 stars The "economist" blogger who isn't qualified to write on the topic...
I don't know what anyone expected from Matt. His blog posts are anecdotal, non-factual, Buzzfeedy non-references to the topic he's assigned himself to write about, and that's... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Brett
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple supply/demand explained clearly
This book does not deserve the disparaging ratings/comments posted on Amazon. It is a fine book written by a market urbanist who explains basic supply and demand very well. Read more
Published 13 months ago by JustinHoca
1.0 out of 5 stars C-, revise and resubmit when you have a full book
This book is virtually devoid of research and hangs together on a few punchy anecdotes, some emphatic finger-pointing (damn you, city planners!!) and no analysis whatsoever. Read more
Published 13 months ago by MK
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but conclusion ruined it
I started the book thinking that I would disagree with the author, but no. He makes points that have been stated in other recent books about housing and urban environments, so no... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Marie
5.0 out of 5 stars Good look at a tough economic concept
The book makes a compelling case for changing the way we think about the housing market and zoning restrictions. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
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Topic From this Discussion
Someone needs to collect these reviews into a book...
We could call it - "The sarcasm is Too Damn High....WHERES MY BACON"!
Mar 8, 2012 by Jet |  See all 10 posts
Review Trolls
What's sad about all this is that this book is a conservative argument entirely about reducing, not increasing, government regulation. I guess I get the desire to "punish" Matthew Yglesias for tweeting mean things. But the book is a conservative argument produced by a liberal. It is... Read More
Mar 7, 2012 by Don Munsil |  See all 23 posts
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