Maggie Gallagher

Why don't they organize to ask city hall for a tax increase to pay for bigger housing vouchers? Why is it fair or tolerant or liberal to expect a working stiff like Ronnie Fatato to turn himself into a one-man social service agency for poor single mothers, while expecting no similar financial sacrifice of ourselves?

Even better, why not take a hard look at the real roots of the rental crisis in New York: the unwillingness of middle-class New Yorkers to give up the handout called rent control, which distributes huge rent bonuses to anyone astute or lucky enough to live in a particular apartment. Experts predict the next census will show that 40 percent of New Yorkers were born abroad, a proportion not seen since the '20s. "Absent immigration, we would be seeing a very different New York, with neighborhood abandonment and depopulation," Dr. Philip Kasinitz, a sociology professor at Hunter College, told the Times. But in the '20s, the city added 600,000 new dwellings to accommodate all these newcomers.

Why not now? Because businessmen are not stupid enough to invest millions in new rental housing in a city where people feel morally comfortable demonizing landlords for failing to pay for social services we do not want to subsidize ourselves.

Look into the mirror, Fifth Avenue zealots, if you want to see the real source of housing suffering in New York.

Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.