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Do We Need Landlords? [Transcript]

Updated: Jul 8, 2023

Tom Powell • 0:00 - 0:10

Housing is a basic human right and should be provided for us. Who provides that? I, I want you to tell me who you think is going to provide you with housing.

Nick Powers • 0:10 - 0:29

So my personal catchphrase is "Stats Over Feelings," and I've been seeing a lot of feelings in that comment section. And I think the most appropriate thing to do right now is address all the claims and questions that were presented in that video in an objective way. So this is the list of talking points that I'm going to cover, and these are the timestamps. So if you want to fast forward to whatever section you like, you're more than welcome to, but we're gonna start now.

Tom Powell • 0:29 - 0:34

It’s not gonna happen, man, ever. Not in a million fucking years. Landlords need to exist.

Nick Powers • 0:34 - 1:09

That claim stirs up a lot of emotion in a lot of people, myself included. But we're not here to talk about that. We're here to talk about whether or not that claim is actually true. And the thing is, you can't really prove something as broad as that. Completely true. So instead of looking to landlords, let's look for similar concepts that we found more solutions to outside of mortgages. When people in a society have to buy something expensive that we can't lease or rent, society has found ways to do that outside of just somebody buying it and leasing it out. For instance, in cars, we do have leases, but we also have the ability to finance cars. And it's a lot easier to finance cars if you don't have any credit or you have bad credit than it is to finance a house.

Nick Powers • 1:09 - 1:11

And I know what a lot of people are thinking.

Nick Powers • 1:11 - 1:41

Cars are a lot cheaper than houses. To provide a loan the size of a house, you need some sort of financial reassurance that you're going to be able to get your money worth.

But the thing is, we already have loans that big that the average person already takes student loans. Average student spends about $36,436 every single year on college tuition and books and all that stuff. Since about 48% of people finish school within four years, that brings the total tuition to about $146,000. That's almost as much as houses are worth.

The thing is student loans, unlike mortgages, don't have assets in which they can repossess.

Nick Powers • 1:41 - 1:52

If we woke up tomorrow and we had to finance the place that we lived in in order to stay living there, then we would figure out a way to allow everybody to finance that place same way that we do with student loans the same way that we do with car loans.

Nick Powers • 1:52 - 2:23

Now, would landlords be useful for people that needed to move place to place? Yes, they would be useful, but currently within the United States, there are only seven states, which mortgages are 20% or more, more expensive than renting, which means right now today, if everybody in 43 states decided that they wanted to buy a mortgage instead of rent, not only would they not be paying much more than they would for renting, but they'd actually be earning money because they'd be putting money into an asset that they could sell if they needed to. When you actually look at the numbers, the claim that society needs landlords in order to survive is a very difficult claim to prove.

Nick Powers • 2:24 - 2:35

We have evidence showing that in other types of markets, we have been able to get people financed for the things that they need. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that that claim is indisputably false. I'm saying that it's very difficult to prove truth. The far

Tom Powell • 2:35 - 2:40

Left believes that housing should just be provided for everybody who pays for that.

Nick Powers • 2:40 - 3:12

There are two things about this. One. First off, when people say that housing should be a human right, that doesn't necessarily mean that the government should provide one for free. For example, most two, a supporters don't believe that the government should just pay for all of their guns, but they do believe that it's a right to have them. That's why when you have conversations with them about increasing the difficulty of buying a gun, they're very apprehensive. The phrase housing is a basic human right, does not mean that the government should just give you one for free. It means that if you want one, you should be able to get one no matter where you are in life. And again, this is facts over feelings. I'm not gonna be talking about my ideals on this, but I will be talking about your perception of this problem.

Nick Powers • 3:13 - 3:45

What if they do mean that the government should provide one? If they do mean that the government should provide one, what would that look like? Where would that money come from? So let's say we instituted a program that would give everybody the cost of a studio apartment if they qualified for it. Let's be very liberal about this and say that half of our population qualifies for it, went ahead and made the spreadsheet, and I calculated the cost of studio apartments in every state. And then I factored in how many people over the age of 18 would qualify for that program in every single state and what that would cost our country. And it comes out to about $112,473,510,392.

Nick Powers • 3:45 - 3:52

And this is every month, and that is quite a large amount, right? Keep in mind, this is short form content, so a lot of these numbers are gonna be oversimplified, but let's go ahead and get into this next part.

Nick Powers • 3:52 - 4:23

It also made a spreadsheet going over the total number of receipts that we get from taxes every year. And then I added the total of rent coverage to that yearly balance. And in total, we'd have to pay roughly 27.54% more in taxes, but 50% of our population would be eligible to get money back for rent. And on average, everybody would get about $849 and 89 cents a month. When I plug it into this spreadsheet, which talks about tax being taken out for a lot of these brackets, we find out that everybody making the US median wage, which is 50% of all wages, would get about $700 more every single month, even though they're also paying into that.

Nick Powers • 4:23 - 4:33

The only people that actually start losing money are people that are making roughly 5,000 or more a month. And when they lose money, even though they're making about five grand a month, they're only losing about $242.

Nick Powers • 4:33 - 5:01

And keep in mind, this isn't changing our tax system at all. This isn't taxing billionaires more. This isn't taking money away from our military or other spending sources. This is literally just the United States citizens paying for it with their taxes. So in other words, if we wanted to pay everybody's rent in the United States and make sure that they had a place to live, we also could do that. Would we do it exactly this way? No, probably not, because these are very quick estimates that I came up with today. But these numbers do prove that it is possible and the payments that we would have to make are negligible.

Tom Powell • 5:01 - 5:11

Always seems to be the people who can't get outta their own fucking way, who can't seem to make anything for themselves, who can't seem to do anything for themselves and say, "Well, no, that should just be provided for me."

Nick Powers • 5:11 - 5:44

This one's going to be pretty quick and easy because as long as I can prove that the number of people who view this way is not zero, the claim is proven wrong. But don't worry, I'm definitely going to name more than one. First we have Andrew Yang.

He's an attorney and a politician. He's done pretty well for himself, and he believes in universal basic income. So it's not just everybody who can't do anything for themselves. Second, we have Richard Branson, who's the founder of the Virgin Group.

He's a billionaire. He's one of the wealthiest people in the world. He believes that we should start looking into universal basic income. And lastly, we have the Zuck. Not all of us have to like him. Not all of us have to agree with things that he's done. Not all of us have to think he's a good person, but we can all agree that he's done stuff for himself in various interviews.

Nick Powers • 5:44 - 6:10

He has also said that we should start looking into universal basic income. So that number is a non-zero. A lot of people that have done very well for themselves do believe that people should be able to pay for rent with government assistance.

Nick Powers • 6:00

So anyway, hopefully that clears things up. And yes, there were a lot of very oversimplified things in this video, and I'm sure that it's understood by everybody watching that this had to be simplified because it's short form content. And I'm sure that everybody in the comment section will be respectful of the fact that these are oversimplified, complex and nuanced topics that can't all be covered in a short video. <chuckle>

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