Not so long ago, in July, the Squad camped out in front of the U.S. Capitol to demonstrate the alleged repercussions of allowing the federal eviction moratorium to expire. “We’re now in an eviction emergency,” Squad member Cori Bush warned, “11 million are now at risk of losing their homes at any moment.”
As any good liberal knows, the only possible answer to a so-called emergency is a federal dictate! They certainly tried to get it done. But they couldn’t —the Supreme Court rightly said the CDC is not constitutionally empowered to impose an eviction ban unilaterally, and Congress didn’t pick up the cause. So on August 26 the eviction ban expired. Now, a month later, we cautiously peek: has the sky fallen?
Without big government action, we’ve been assured a massive wave of evictions. But that hasn’t happened. Evictions are below their pre-pandemic levels. Way below. The Washington Post could identify only one city where evictions were higher than before the pandemic, Gainesville, Florida—but even that doesn’t appear true. The “Eviction Lab” at Princeton still shows September 2021 evictions in Gainesville as below average.
Why did this happen? The answers will vary. Some renters live in cities or states that have local eviction bans. Some renters saw the writing on the wall and moved. Some landlords gave up. Some landlords are hopeful for bailout money. Some judges are unwilling or slow to evict. And, with any luck, some renters got jobs.
I’m rooting for the latter, but likely it is a combination of the above. The true reason isn’t all that relevant because an important point has been made—not every issue requires a federal response. We’ve gotten so used to asking our federal leaders, “What will you do to solve COVID-19? Poverty? Hunger? Pricey childcare?” that we’ve forgotten we’re asking the wrong people. The federal government is not appropriately in the business of solving domestic hardship, it is in the business of keeping our nation safe and preserving our God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Maybe this non-crisis can serve as a reminder, let people and their communities solve their own problems. It might not always be the solution the Feds would choose, but that experimentation is the beauty of our Republic. In the meantime, there is much in the name of national security the Feds can and should do—I would recommend starting with securing the southern border and countering Chinese aggression, but preventing terrorist threats or eliminating international drug cartels would also be fine.