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Resolved: The United States should promote the development of market rate housing in urban neighborhoods.

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Resolved: The United States should promote the development of market rate housing in urban neighborhoods.

Oof, what is it with these terrible topics? I don’t understand what people are thinking anymore. What is there even to debate here? So little research has been done, and available data is so limited, that the debates on this are going to devolve into emotion battles about which side the judge feels is right. On the bright side, you’ll probably learn things you didn’t know before, but the resolution is worded so poorly that all of that will probably be lost. But alas, it is what we are given, so let’s do the best we can.

Definitions

Market rate housing – This is housing that is build without rent restrictions. Often, in urban neighborhoods, rent restrictions will be put on housing construction. The owner can only rent it for so much. This has historically been one solution to creating affordable housing.

Urban Neighborhoods – The word “urban” here doesn’t necessarily mean within a big city. Rather, it refers to poor, often minority, neighborhoods within any greater metropolitan area. It will be important to define this properly to prevent bad debate.

The most important part of your definitions is going to be determining how we determine what the U.S. should do. The trouble here is that there isn’t a clear agent of action. The government can enact policies, sure, but the U.S. contains many more actors like housing developers and citizens. They are also relevant. Your framework will need to clearly define an agent of action and then explain how we determine what that agent of action should do. The easiest agent of action to talk about is the government, so that’s what we’ll focus on here.

Pro

1. Societal Welfare – The government’s entire purpose is to promote societal welfare. If it fails to do that, then what’s the point of having one? Market rate housing promotes welfare. Areas where there are market rate developments fare better economically than areas with rent controls. Additionally, market rate housing attracts developers to build more because they can more easily sent rents. Urban neighborhoods have severe housing shortages, and this will promote new construction to end those shortages.

2. Progress – How do we make things better than they are now? Market rate housing will help urban neighborhoods accelerate their development. A society is marked by how well it provides for the least advantaged members of its society, so the U.S. should promote market rate housing in the least advantaged neighborhoods.

Con

1. Market rate housing promotes poverty – Rent controls don’t just appear out of thin air. They appear because landlords charge exorbitant rents to exploit the citizens in an area, particularly in areas with housing shortages. Remarkably, there is no shortage of housing for people who have money. The shortage exists for those people who don’t. Instead, the government should invest in affordable housing initiatives. Developers aren’t attracted to urban neighborhoods anyway, and market rate housing won’t solve that. After all, not every urban neighborhood has rent controls, but new construction is still sparse.

2. Market Freedom – The U.S. government should not interrupt the free market. Let the market decide what rent should be and where development should occur. That will result in the best situation for everyone.

3. U.S. Constitution – This type of economic regulation is beyond the constitutionally permitted powers of the U.S. government. It is not an exercise necessary to regulate interstate commerce, and therefore, should not be permitted. It is a violation of property rights and economic freedom.

There you go. That’s a start at least. Good luck!
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