What about the basic “supply and demand” principles of free-market economics?

Free-market economic models require an idealized market of perfect competition, where everyone is free to buy or sell at the price they choose, or go somewhere else.  The housing market is in no way a free market, especially in Santa Cruz – it is a captive market, where land and homes are limited and their prices are artificially driven up by investment and speculation – which creates a severe hardship for tenants who are forced out of their homes when prices go up.  Just as economics shows the need for antitrust laws and labor unions, it also shows that in this extremely uneven situation, we cannot rely exclusively on market forces to provide balance, and that we need legal remedies to keep families and workers in their homes.

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