That joke applies to the issue of affordable housing. Many people talk about what governments at various levels should do to make housing more affordable. But government doesn’t really have to do anything. The only thing governments need to do to make housing much more affordable is quit preventing people from building housing.
I live in California, where local governments and the state government have perfected the art of preventing housing from being built. The results have been predictable: as restrictions on building have increased over the years, housing prices, adjusted for inflation, have risen. Consider my modest home in coastal California. It’s about 1,800 square feet and is a fine home, but almost no one would, upon entering, say “ooh, this is really nice.” Yet Zillow tells me that it’s worth about $1.3 million.
Would my net worth suffer if governments allowed more housing? Absolutely. But it’s also true that my daughter, who pays an incredibly high rent for a small apartment unit, would find it easier to stay in California rather than move to another state. Other parents are in similar situations.