That makes perfect sense. But I do think it’s worth saying that the alternative being put on the table here is a conservative one, and the mere fact that the successful investor who doesn’t like high property tax rates is black doesn’t change that fact. After all, what concrete policy steps could the DC government take to avoid more people being stuck with the problem of rising property values that lead to higher property taxes. Well, I see two:
1. The city could stop investing in improved public services and public safety.
2. The city could reduce property taxes, especially on well-heeled property owners.
That’s not a wild-eyed or insane policy agenda by any means. Indeed, it’s the fiscal agenda of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. And I think it’s good for progressives to pay attention to things like Johnson’s story, since she can perhaps help people to better understand why an agenda of spending cuts and property tax cuts can appeal to a broad group of people and not just a tiny cabal of Koch-funded conspirators. That said, here in the DC context, we should recognize this kind of communitarian critique of liberalism for what it is — a conservative critique.
Well, I don't think this is true. For one thing, as Yglesias points out you could increase capacity in order to produce downward pressure on housing prices. That wouldn't solve your problem if your issue is rising taxes on non-residential property, but taxes needn't be wielded as a blunt instrument, it's possible to target tax relief at people whose property values are rising but who have low incomes. Indeed DC has such a credit but it's largely useless because it hasn't been updated in years.