Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Last Call For The Rent Is Too Damn High, Con't

As the national moratorium on evictions was thrown out by the Supreme Court last month, evictions are happening, but not the flood of millions being made homeless that we feared. But that doesn't mean that the problem is resolved, not in the least.

When the Supreme Court decided to strike down a federal ban on evictions in August, lawmakers and housing experts mentioned a slew of devastating metaphors — cliff, tsunami, tidal wave — to describe the national eviction crisis they saw coming. One month later, however, many of those same authorities find themselves wondering: Where is the cliff?

In major metropolitan areas, the number of eviction filings has dropped or remained flat since the Supreme Court struck down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moratorium on Aug. 26, according to experts and data collected by the Eviction Lab at Princeton University. In cities around the country, including Cleveland, Memphis, Charleston and Indianapolis, eviction filings are well below their pre-pandemic levels.

Housing and eviction experts offered a mix of guesses about why an expected onslaught of evictions has not yet materialized, including that the wave could still be coming. The pace at which courts handle cases varies widely across the country, and some courts may be severely backlogged. In some regions of the country, the federal eviction moratorium did little to slow filings amid the pandemic and, in other areas, protections are in place. Some tenants may have also moved on their own to avoid an eviction.

Housing experts don’t believe the country has solved its eviction issues, and there are still places where evictions have risen since the ban ended. Filings have surpassed their pre-pandemic levels in Gainesville, Fla., and have come close in Cincinnati and Jacksonville, Fla.

Still, the overall picture has confused experts who had grim warnings for the looming crisis once the federal ban was no longer in place. Those same experts are hesitant to say the wave won’t come. After all, recent Pulse Survey data by the Census Bureau suggests that some 3 million households have reported concerns of imminent eviction.

“I think it’s too early to declare decisively that this isn’t happening,” said Peter Hepburn, a research fellow at the Eviction Lab, which tracks cases in 31 cities and six states around the country. “This may not take the form of a sudden spike in eviction cases all at once. It may be something that’s much more delayed and diffuse.”
I think that the theory where the courts can't handle the backlog of eviction cases is most likely correct. We're not seeing evictions hit massive numbers because the courts are stuck processing them, and in some cases, are working with landlords and tenants.

Rental assistance programs are there, they just have to be accessed, and I think courts are turning to these systems to get landlords their money and tenants their help.

For now, the dam is holding. How long, well, we'll see.

The Good Package, Con't

President Biden Manchin and Vice-President Harris Sinema will meet separately with former US Senator Joe Biden today to discuss what the people will be allowed to have going forward.
Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) are expected to meet with President Biden at the White House on Tuesday as administration officials and congressional Democrats seek a path forward on the president's economic agenda.

The two senators will meet with Biden separately, a source familiar with the plans said. Manchin and an aide confirmed the West Virginia senator would head to the White House later Tuesday.

The meetings mark the third time in as many weeks the two key centrist Democrats will visit the White House to discuss Biden's agenda. Both Sinema and Manchin have raised concerns about the size of a proposed $3.5 trillion spending package put forward by Biden and other Democrats.

But the two have frustrated progressives, in particular, as they have largely stopped short of articulating what specifically they want to see in the reconciliation package, which Democrats hope to pass without Republican support. Sinema gave an interview to an Arizona news outlet in which she talked about the urgent need to address climate change.

Manchin, meanwhile, threw cold water on the prospects of getting the reconciliation bill done in time for a planned Thursday House vote on a bipartisan infrastructure bill that already passed the Senate.

Democratic leaders are seeking to thread the needle between satisfying moderates, who want to see the bipartisan infrastructure bill pass the House as soon as possible, and appeasing progressives, who want to see the party prioritize the sweeping reconciliation package that includes funding for child care, health care and climate initiatives.
Manchin keeps shitting on everything but won't say what he does actually want, and Sinema does the same, only with a healthy dose of Manic Pixie Dream Senator.  Both are racking up the fundraising from corporations and lobbyists opposed to actually having to pay taxes, with Sinema practically salivating over the prospect of becoming a major K Street player herself after she's booted from her office.

Meanwhile the prospects of any infrastructure package passing is becoming dimmer every hour. Republicans aren't going to allow anything to pass, and the Dems are going to have to attach the debt limit suspension bill to the Good Package too.

All that has to happen in the next few days or the economy crashes, and everyone's juggling chainsaws.

The Big Lie, Con't

Trump and his cronies continue to openly lie that the Arizona "audit" really proves that Trump "won" the state in a fantastic example of national gaslighting, with the point being to normalize the idea that elections can't possibly be truly fair and accurate in order to normalize overturning them in the years ahead.

The Cyber Ninjas failed to prove fraud in the Arizona 2020 election, but former President Donald Trump's election fraud crusade is now proceeding as if they'd won -- pushing for more "forensic audits" and restrictive voting in that state and elsewhere across the country.

Trump's allies are already demanding a new review of another Arizona county won by President Joe Biden. They are launching more partisan ballot reviews in other states following the Arizona playbook after passing laws making it harder to vote earlier this year. And they are calling for decertification of Arizona's 2020 election despite the lack of fraud, as part of a larger effort to validate Trump's "Big Lie" and undermine the 2020 election results.

The lesson they're taking from Arizona's Maricopa County ballot review is not that they failed and should stop, but rather that they should try to avoid the negative scrutiny that hounded the Cyber Ninjas' review and "do it better" in states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, even if there's no evidence of fraud, said Sarah Longwell, a conservative publisher and executive director of the conservative group Defending Democracy Together.

"It has nothing to do with auditing votes," Longwell told CNN. "It has to do with creating a cloud of suspicion around the elections and keeping their fraud narrative front and center."

The partisan ballot review in Maricopa County released last week reaffirmed Biden's victory. But Trump and the Arizona GOP officials who backed it ignored that conclusion and the highly problematic nature of the review itself, run by a company inexperienced in election audits and which failed to follow standard auditing procedures, and instead touted other issues raised in their report -- even though they were quickly rebutted by election experts and county officials.

Similar election "audits" already are moving forward in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. And Texas' secretary of state's office announced a "full and comprehensive forensic audit" in four counties hours after Trump fired off a letter to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott demanding just such a review.
The partisan reviews of the 2020 election results have come after a host of Republican-led state legislatures enacted restrictive voting laws, frequently citing Trump's lies as reason to enact new measures in the name of "election integrity." Eighteen states, including Arizona, have enacted laws this year that make it harder to vote, according to a tally by the liberal-leaning Brennan Center for Justice at New York University's School of Law.

In one sign of how much the falsehoods about the 2020 election have become linked to the GOP's identity, a recent CNN poll found that nearly 6 in 10 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said "believing that Donald Trump won the 2020 election" was "very" or "somewhat" important to their definition of what it now means to be a Republican
The ground is being primed for a situation in the upcoming elections where a Democratic candidate in a red state wins a relatively close election, and that election is overturned on "fraud" and given to the Republican. It will probably happen in 2022, and it will definitely happen in 2024 when it comes to state electoral votes for President.

Republicans are now defined by the belief that the 2020 election was "stolen" and so they will not just accept but demand that the election be stolen right back in the years ahead, a hundredfold.

Democrats don't seem to be even considering that this is where we are going.


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