Driving home from the park today, I turned on the radio. I usually don’t because I like to just drive and enjoy the scenery but Maverick is banned from daycare for two weeks – kennel cough vaccine – sheds for two weeks so he could infect other dogs – so we went to the big park today and walked a mile and a half. This is half my usual, but he decided at 1.4 miles that he was done, planted himself beneath a tree, and panted like he was about to keel over. (It was barely 70 degrees out, he got a drink of water and after a bit was able to meander to the car. Can we say “drama queen?” (He informs me he is not a queen, by the way)
To drown out the panting from the back seat – I did mention drama, right – I turned on the radio. The big news was the expiration of the ban on evictions. I sympathize with people who are struggling now. Shutting down the economy for all those months was brutal – so many people suffered. Most landlords, in my experience, are people who have bought a second home and rent it out in the hopes that someday, it will be paid off, and then will actually generate income, but in the meantime are using the rent payments to pay the mortgage and any other bills that go along with upkeep on that property. There seems to be a picture of landlords as all filthy rich tyrants who can go years without collecting rent and while I’m sure there are plenty of those, I’m sure there are plenty of just regular people trying to get by.
For the filthy rich, this ban was no problem. For the regular guy, it has been. The bills still needed to be paid, and for all the talk of mortgage payments being delayed, we never saw that here (we don’t own a second property, we’re paying on our home). Where were they supposed to get the money to pay those bills?
Now the people who haven’t paid rent in over a year are in danger of becoming homeless. The sympathetic part of me feels bad for them. But another part of me is asking – what did they do with the money they would have been using for rent for this past 18 months? What did they do with the extra money they got from the government (yes, almost all of us got the checks, not judging there)? Did they think they were never going to have to pay the rent again? They could have saved the normal rent payment and at least earned some interest on it. Or they could have invested it and earned even more.
Yet we’re meant to feel sorry for them. I’m having a hard time doing that. Maybe it’s because I know people who chose to not pay rent, even though they could well afford it, knowing that they couldn’t be kicked out, and spent the money on themselves. Maybe it’s because I know some of those smaller landlords who have been forced to sell out to huge companies who run multiple rentals. (And do you think those are going to let anyone off the hook for past rent?)
It’s a mess. And I can’t help but wonder if this is an example of socialism in action.