Who Should Pay for Rent Control?

Saturday’s NY Times has a column by John Tierney, advocating the end of rent control. (Can’t be linked to because it’s part of the Times’ pay per view section.) 

Tuesday’s Times had letters defending rent control, the gist of the argument was spelled out in one letter – “Tell me, John Tierney, if you were an 83-year-old widow living on your Social Security in the same apartment, now rent-controlled, for 49 years, and the apartment became decontrolled, what would you do? “

I don’t think Tierney wants 83 year olds to be homeless and neither do other opponents of rent control.

But I don’t think that supporters of rent control want them to starve to death. And few are proposing price controls on food!

Why is it that New York insists that landlords are the ones who have to subsidize tenants who can’t pay fair market rates for housing?

In the analogous case of food that I refer to, all of us (through our taxes) subsidize those too poor to afford enough food by providing food stamps. We don’t order either the owners of Pathmark or the corner grocery to be the only one to have to pay. Wouldn’t it be fairer to handle rent the same way?