Rep. Omar’s Bill Would See Feds Seize Rentals If Landlords Try to Collect Rent During Virus 'Emergency'

P. Gardner Goldsmith | April 22, 2020
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Here are a few questions…

First, is there any kind of so-called, government-labeled “emergency” for which politicians WON’T claim even more power?

Second, is there any shred of the US Constitution left, or do the politicians swear to protect and defend something they can just make up as they go along?

These timeless conundrums become even more pressing when one gets an eye-gouging look at the new whopper from the ever-charming, always constitutionally-minded Minnesota Congresswoman, Democrat “Representative” Ilhan Omar.

As Christian Britschgi writes for Reason, last week, Ms. Omar took it upon herself to push a bill that would “cancel rents and mortgages” from the date of passage to a month after the President lifted his “Declaration of Emergency” (good luck finding that in the Constitution).

The bill, which, Britschgi observes, was co-sponsored by “Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D–Mich.), Ayanna Pressley (D–Mass.), alongside three other progressive Democrats and a bevy of left-wing activist groups” would not just see this insertion between consenting renters and property owners, it would prevent landlords and owners from issuing eviction orders  or foreclosures for non-payment (i.e. Omar wants to legalize squatting, or theft of property).

And it does even more.

Writes Britschgi:

In addition, tenants and homeowners could not be charged late fees or penalties, nor could they have their credit scores downgraded. People who feel they've suffered an "adverse action" for exercising these protections could sue their landlord or mortgage lender in federal court for damages.

How nice. That will surely incentivize property owners from creating rentals or lenders from offering loans for home or business locations to function.

And here’s the rub:

The attorney general would also be empowered to take civil action against property owners and mortgage lenders for violating renters' and homeowners' rights under the act. Violators could be hit with a $5,000 fine for a first offense and a $10,000 fine for the second offense. Landlords who violate the act three or more times could be fined $50,000 or could even have their property seized.

That word, “rights”. It seems, Ms. Omar, that, as “The Princess Bride’s” Inigo Montoya famously said, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Because, of course, rights are negative. No one has a right to someone else’s property – be it land, home, money, time, or his or her physical self.

Rep. Omar doesn’t seem to understand.

If you’re a property owner and her bill turns the screws on you, she’s also magnanimously included more delicious, tax-fueled, debt-increasing, dollar-destroying bailout cash, just for you…

Notes Britschgi:

…Omar's legislation would create two funds to compensate landlords and mortgage lenders for any income they lose as a result of her bill. But this money would come with a lot of strings attached…

Oh, boy!

In order to be eligible for relief funds, landlords couldn't raise rents for five years. They would also not be allowed to discriminate against tenants based on their credit score or criminal history during that same five year period. According to a summary of the bill put out by Omar's office, landlords making use of these relief funds would also have to give tenants a 10 percent equity stake in their properties.

Isn’t that nice?

And for landowners handling homes:

A relief fund for mortgage lenders would also be created and would come with requirements to report detailed lending data to federal housing authorities. Both funds would be administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Rather than purchase her own land, build her own rental properties, and get into the field to compete with others, Omar would prefer to tell them how to run their businesses, which, as I have mentioned before, is the classic manner in which political-economists describe fascism: nominal (in name only) ownership of property that the government tells you how to run.

But that’s not only what Omar wants. She literally wants a new Housing and Urban Development (hmm… where is that agency in the Constitution? Oh, yeah – NOWHERE.) fund to literally have the feds BUY privately created housing units and properties.

Here’s the set-up, as noted by Britschgi:

The bill would create a new Affordable Housing Acquisition Fund, also administered by HUD. This fund would give money to government entities and nonprofits to buy up private buildings and convert them to income-restricted affordable housing. To facilitate these purchases, property owners would have to notify HUD when they intend to sell a rental property, and then give low-income housing providers 60 days to make an offer on their building.

And, as Britschgi observes, those units would have to include “wrap around” services, including “including healthcare, childcare, employment and education assistance, and financial literacy education.”

Because nothing says education and “financial literacy” better than out-of-control politicians utterly disregarding their oaths to certain rules and spending money they don’t have and never created.

But, of course, collectivists of all stripes love to adopt Rahm Emanuel’s dictum to “never waste a good crisis”, and, in fact, Omar is using this pandemic to push legislation she already tried to push.

Much of what's included in Omar's bill appears borrowed from the $1 trillion public housing legislation that she introduced in November of last year. That bill called for creating millions of new public housing units that would come with free social services provided on-site.

So there we are, an opportunistic politician disregarding her oath and, instead, working to create a fascistic seizure of the rental and mortgage markets that haven’t yet been destroyed or taken by various forms of government.

Welcome to America under political COVID terrorism.

We know how much the government hates terrorism, don’t we?