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Our Opinion: Government overreach with eviction bans

March 6, 2022 at 3:55 a.m.

Government shouldn't force private businesses to provide free housing.

Limited exceptions to this were done during the height of the pandemic to prevent people who had lost their jobs from being homeless.

But for many states -- fortunately not Missouri -- these stopgap measures turned into permanent limits on evictions.

Several measures in the Missouri Legislature would prevent local governments and courts from imposing eviction moratoriums.

Government already has a role in "affordable housing," a misnomer that really means "subsidized housing." Some of that subsidized housing is appropriate. But it's another story when government essentially forces the private sector to offer their goods/services for free.

When you sign an apartment lease, for instance, you're pledging to pay for the use of that apartment. If you don't pay, you can't expect to stay. It's a private contract in which government has no business.

Reason Magazine reported that when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the CDC eviction order in August, the St. Louis County Council responded by approving its own weekslong eviction moratorium. It renewed the eviction ban for a few weeks in December in response to a rise in omicron cases.

Government interference is a violation of property rights and an affront to capitalism.

"The bottom line is [eviction moratoriums] put landlords in an unfair situation. We talk a lot about government or bureaucratic agencies picking winners and losers. And I certainly felt like that that was done unlawfully," said Rep. Chris Brown in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Brown, R-Kansas City, sponsors one of several bills to ban eviction bans.

We live in a compassionate society, and there are many safety nets for people who need housing. But compassion should be voluntary, not forced by the government.

News Tribune

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