The targets idea is clever. By allowing cities to choose how to increase supply, there’s less reason to worry about unintended consequences. Similarly, by making the issue supply (or cost) at the state level, there’s hope that the diffuse benefits of cheaper housing cam beat back NIMBY interests that are likely not to be listened to by state politicians. The framing, in short, is better. It’s hard to oppose more housing in general and the carrot of state and cam be used by localities to buy off (or better yet ignore) NIMBY types.
Glaeser’s point about housing aid policies should be taken to heart by all, especially after the recent spike in homelessness. Higher housing prices make section 8 vouchers more scarce, as each must be subsidized more heavily by the government. And they drive up demand. What a mess.
Lastly, the Massachusetts policy seems Ingenious. Maybe it’s time we add middle class to it as well, as a more palpable step than axing all zoning.