California's Housing Crisis Is Unnecessary!: News Releases: The Independent Institute

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News Release
January 8, 2020

California’s Housing Crisis Is Unnecessary!
Economist Lawrence McQuillan Details Why in New Report

(Oakland, CA) The average home price in California is almost 250 percent above the national average—while average monthly housing rents in the state are nearly 50 percent higher than national levels. These figures indicate why California has an exploding homeless population—and why California’s middle class, also unable to afford homes, is fleeing the state.

The culprit for these twin catastrophes? Government regulation of the housing industry in California.

So says Independent Institute Senior Fellow LAWRENCE J. MCQUILLAN, Ph.D., who today has awarded the latest California Golden Fleece® Award to California’s state and local politicians, government regulators, and anti-development activists. Together, they have succeeded in artificially creating the worst housing crisis in America.

No aspect of this disaster is necessary. But the answer is. “The only solution to California’s housing crisis,” says McQuillan, “is to build our way out of it.” An increased housing stock will ease the upward price trend, improve access, ease homelessness, and speed-up wildfire recovery for tens of thousands of Californians who desperately need relief.

But a new housing boom simply cannot happen unless the government first:

  • Deregulates zoning and land use
  • Streamlines building permits
  • Abolishes the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
  • Eliminates unnecessary state building codes
  • Eliminates expensive development-impact fees
  • Eliminates rent controls and “affordable housing” mandates
  • Eliminates pro-union regulations, which drive up labor costs
  • Encourages entrepreneurial innovation

McQuillan also proposes that voters make house-building a constitutional right in California. The establishment of an individual right to build residential housing, according to McQuillan, would afford the quickest exit from the regulatory thicket crushing the California housing market.

California Golden Fleece® Awards expose waste, fraud, and abuse in California government. To receive this ignoble designation, a spending program, tax, or regulation must violate common-sense principles of responsible government, be considered wasteful by people of varying political philosophies, and must be well documented.

To interview Lawrence McQuillan, contact [email protected]

Questions for Lawrence McQuillan:

  • What makes California housing so expensive?
  • What realistic changes can be made to supply housing to those who demand it?
  • Aren’t “affordable housing” mandates compassionate and good for the poor?
  • How would a new constitutional right to build houses solve California’s housing crisis?

CREDENTIALS: Lawrence J. McQuillan is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation at the Independent Institute. He received his Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University and is the author of California Dreaming: Lessons on How to Resolve America's Public Pension Crisis. He created the California Golden Fleece® Awards to highlight a state or local spending program or regulation that fleeces California taxpayers, consumers, or businesses.

Availability: Oakland, CA. Also via telephone.

CONTACT: Robert Ade, 510-635-3690 / [email protected]

100 Swan Way, Oakland, CA 94621-1428

The Independent Institute is a non-profit research and educational organization that promotes the power of independent thinking to boldly advance peaceful, prosperous, and free societies grounded in a commitment to human worth and dignity. For more information, visit

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