Rent: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver | Transcript

John Oliver discusses why rent has become increasingly unaffordable, what we can do to combat a system that is stacked against tenants, and, of course, Dakota Johnson’s complex relationship to limes.
Rent: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Season 9 Episode 15
Aired on June 19, 2022

Main segment: Housing in the United States
Other segment: United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack public hearings

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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ [Cheers and applause]

John: Welcome, welcome, welcome to “Last Week Tonight.” I’m John Oliver. Thank you so much for joining us. It has been a busy week. The U.S. entered a bear market. There was historic flooding in Yellowstone National Park. And in Peru, a hearing concerning a corruption inquiry into their president was disrupted in a truly spectacular way.

What the public prosecutor’s office is investigating is — [speaking non-English language]

The gentleman there is interference from what seems to be the law firm showing very suggestive images. [Laughter]

John: Wow, that’s a little more than suggestive images. A suggestive image is the enticing hint of what lies beneath. That’s straight up dick. That’s a whole dick on the tv in Peru. [Laughter] But instead of focusing on that, we’re going to concentrate on the U.S., where the House committee investigating January 6th continued to unearth new details regarding the days leading up to the insurrection, including the surprisingly large role of Trump’s legal adviser, John Eastman. And quick sidenote: if you’re ever accused of a crime and your lawyer shows up to court dressed like this, you are going to jail. [Laughter] Eastman was the one who devised the theory that Mike Pence could single-handedly negate the election results, a theory that was met with an appropriate level of skepticism at the time from this White House lawyer.

I said, hold on a second, I want to understand what you’re saying. You’re saying that you believe the vice president acting as president of the senate can be the sole decision maker as to, under your theory, who becomes the next president of the United States? And he said “yes.” I said, are you out of your f-ing mind?

John: Right. Although, I will say, at this point, you can just say “fuck.” [Laughter] Democracy is hanging on by a thread, and you had a front row seat. You can say “fuck.” You said it then and you should say it now. Because what he was suggesting to you there was bonkers. The idea that a single person could decide the presidency is completely against the ideals of this country, which is why the constitution starts with “we the people” and not “Mike.” [Laughter] Also, I know it’s not the important thing, but what is happening behind that man? [Laughter] Why does this bat have “justice” written on it? And what are these three metal wig things right below it? Do you wear them? Or did you see one of those guys painted silver who moves when you give him money and scalp him? Also that panda painting, and this is true, was apparently featured in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie. It is all very weird! I would say it’s the most distracting visuals during a televised government hearing, but as we all know, Peru has significantly raised the bar in that regard. Now, obviously, the point of these hearings is to learn lessons from the efforts to steal the last election, to prevent it from happening again. But for many republicans, it seems the only mistake they see is that they didn’t go far enough. Because we’re in the midst of a midterm election year right now, and already, more than a hundred republican primary winners back Trump’s false claims of election fraud. An especially concerning subset are candidates for Secretary of State, because they could end up in a position to directly influence the next presidential election. Take Jim Marchant, who looks like what a child would produce if you simply told them to “draw business.” [Laughter] On Tuesday, Marchant became the republican nominee for Secretary of State in Nevada. Which is alarming, given that he’s a conspiracy theorist who’s said things like this:

The shape that our country is in right now is because of election fraud. The people of Nevada have not elected anybody since 2006, they’ve been installed by the deep state cabal.

John: Wow. “The people of Nevada haven’t legitimately elected anybody since 2006.” That is a pretty bold claim, especially coming from a guy who himself was elected to the state assembly there in 2016. [Laughter] Also, when Marchant was asked to specify who, exactly, he thought was stealing elections, he said, “I don’t know, actually. I think it’s a global thing. The people in power want to maintain their power.” Which is honestly pretty refreshing coming from a conspiracy theorist. “Look, we know there’s a secret cabal pulling the strings of politicians around the world, but I’m certainly not going to wildly speculate about it. That would be irresponsible.” [Laughter] But crucially, Marchant isn’t alone, he’s actually leading a group of candidates called the America First Secretary of State Coalition, which also includes New Mexico’s Audrey Trujillo, who’s referred to the 2020 election as “a coup,” making her explanation of why she decided to run for office a bit worrisome.

I decided to run for Secretary of State when I saw the very inconsistencies in this last election, you know. I feel that a lot of people, whether we can prove it or not, feel that this election was stolen.

John: Wait, wait, “whether we can prove it or not?” But that’s a pretty big loophole, isn’t it, Audrey? We all believe plenty of things that we can’t prove, but we shouldn’t base major life decisions on them. For instance, I can’t prove that, in his day, beloved children’s author of “The Giving Tree” Shel Silverstein was fucking nonstop. I believe it, though! Look at him. Now you believe it, too! Look at America’s first fuck boy, he knows exactly where the sidewalk ends. [Laughter] But again, we can’t prove it, can we? So we just keep that belief in our hearts, and try not to use it as motivation to completely dismantle democracy. It’s the least that we can do! And then there is Kristina Karamo, who’s running for Secretary of State in Michigan, and who is really something.

Kristina karamo has not been shy in insisting there was widespread cheating in the 2020 vote, touting debunked claims and saying Donald Trump was the true winner in Michigan. Her most inflammatory language is aimed at democrats.

Their party has totally been taken over by a satanic agenda.

Including Michigan’s current Secretary of State.

She’s an evil woman. She’s a very, evil, evil, evil woman.

John: Okay, obviously, democrats don’t have a satanic agenda, mainly because that would require having an agenda in the first place. [Laughter] Also, for the record, Michigan’s current Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson, is not evil, evil, evil. In fact, just go to her Wikipedia page, and look for the section entitled “Horrible acts of evil.” It is just not there. Although you will find that “she has completed 23 full marathons since 2005.” But that’s not evil, is it? It’s just annoying. [Laughter] No judgment, but the only reason to run that many marathons is because you like bragging to your friends, or you’re horny for stopping traffic. Those are the only two options. [Laughter] But look, extreme views on election fraud are par for the course for this coalition. The thing with Karamo is that she has a lot of other views, too.

She suggested in a podcast that premarital sex paves the way for society condoning pedophilia.

When we normalize people fornicating, and we normalize people living together with their boyfriends and girlfriends, all this stuff, we open a door to us to get to the point where we have people who want to normalize pedophilia.

She also referred to herself as an anti-vaxxer before the covid-19 vaccines were authorized.

[Whispering] Guess what, I’m crazy. I’m an anti-vaxxer.

John: Oh, come on, you don’t sound crazy, whispered voice on the phone. [Laughter] And while there’s a lot to object to there, “we normalize people fornicating and living together as boyfriend and girlfriend” is like, ten fake moral panics ago. I’m not saying she’s not wrong, it’s just she’s wrong in such an outdated way, it’s like finding out someone’s mad at Bill Clinton for trying weed. You’re upset about that? Today? I mean, you’re wrong for being mad about that but even worse, you’re late. Look, these are just three of the worrying candidates for Secretary of State around the country. There are many, many others. Which should frankly give everyone pause. Because the January 6th Committee is reminding everyone just how close we came to democracy basically collapsing. It was a handful of people in the right position choosing to do the right thing that saved us from a constitutional crisis. But there are multiple candidates running for consequential positions right now on the platform of basically, “let’s do the coup again, but better next time.” And if you’re not worried about that, if I may quote a man with the world’s most chaotic zoom backdrop, you’re out of your fucking mind. And now, this.

* * *

Announcer: And now, in honor of father’s day, zaddies.

I heard you don’t know what a zaddy is!

I don’t.

What is a zaddy?

A zaddy is a very hot, sexy older man older man.

What does the “z” stand for?

It’s like daddy but with the z. Defined as an attractive man who is also charming and confident.

Are you a zaddy?

I don’t think so.

Zaddies stay over there.

Do we qualify as zaddies?

Let’s talk about Jeff Bezos, he has achieved a lot but now he is adding zaddy.

Is he a zaddy?

100% Not.

Who is more zaddy?

You are both zaddy.

I would say my husband is zaddy. [Laughter]

That’s what you said about Gary down the hallway too, but whatever. [Laughter]

* * *

John: Moving on. Our main story tonight concerns housing. The thing that 16-year-old TikTok millionaires can afford, and you can’t. Housing is something tv audiences can’t seem to get enough of, whether it’s watching angry couples hunt for the perfect place to get divorced in, or watching celebrities giving architectural digest tours of their homes, as they discover things that were clearly put there by stylists, and occasionally call it out in a gloriously passive-aggressive way.

I love cooking. I cook a lot and I bake a lot.

I love limes, I love them, they’re great, I love them so much and I like to present them like this in my house. [Laughter]

John: She’s so magnificently weird. Real Dakota-heads will know that she later claimed she is, in fact, actually allergic to limes, saying “it was hard to ignore them, so I just lied.” But she may well have just been lying about that as well. She’s pure chaos, I love her, she should be the president. [Laughter] But this story isn’t going to be about people who own their own, lime-infested homes. It’s going to be about the more than 1/3 of American households who rent. And if you do rent, you’ll undoubtedly be aware of what’s been happening recently.

Tonight, skyrocketing rents forcing a growing number of Americans to think twice about where home is.

Rent prices across the country skyrocketing.

Rents are rising nationwide.

Rents are going way, way up.

John: Yeah, rent is skyrocketing. And that is the last thing you want to hear is on the rise, along with Covid cases, murder rates, and Henry Kissinger’s life expectancy. [Laughter] The bitch just won’t quit, will he? The median monthly asking rent in the U.S. surpassed $2,000 for the first time last month. That’s up 15% since the same time last year, well above the rate of inflation. And it’s up over 30% in cities like Cincinnati, Seattle, and Nashville, and nearly 50% in Austin. You, or someone you know, might well be struggling to find a place right now, or are being priced out of where you currently live by your landlord. But the fact is, rent affordability isn’t a remotely new problem.

If you live in New York, your city became unaffordable to rent in in 2004. See this line? That line is 30% of what you make. Generally, for rent, it’s advised you don’t spend past that line. But if you live in Miami, you probably passed that line in 2001. And in Chicago in 2012. Los Angeles has been plain unaffordable since before 1979. Rent is growing faster than the money most people make to pay it.

John: It’s true, rent is growing faster than wages. It’s a problem we’ve known about for decades and is only getting worse. Which was, I believe, a working title for this show. It was either that, or “America’s saddest home videos with adult McLovin.” [Laughter] You’re laughing too hard at that. In fact, right now there’s not a single county in the U.S. where a worker earning minimum wage can afford a modest two-bedroom rental home. And look, there are undoubtedly individual landlords out there who behave decently to their tenants. But others will conveniently blame “the market rate” for extortionate rent hikes, and imply that the decision simply isn’t theirs to make. Just watch financial guru Dave Ramsey try and reassure one landlord who said he felt guilty about raising his rents above what his tenants could afford.

If I raise my rent to be market rate, that does not make me a bad Christian. I did not displace the person out of that house if they can no longer afford it, the marketplace did. The economy did. The ratio of the income that they earn to their housing expense displaced them. I didn’t cause any of that.

John: Of course, kicking someone out of your house doesn’t make you a bad Christian. It’s in the beatitudes: “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Fucked are the poor in money, for theirs is the kingdom of landlords. Wazzaaaaaaaaaaaa!” [Laughter] So given that rents are going up and some landlords seem to think that’s completely unavoidable, we thought, tonight, we’d look at rental housing: why it’s increasingly expensive, how steeply the system is stacked against renters, and what we can do to combat that. And let’s start with understanding our current housing supply. You’ll often hear that high rents are a supply and demand issue: basically, too many renters, not enough units. And that is partially true. Because there currently aren’t nearly enough affordable units in the U.S. Which is a little weird to think about, because if you live in any city, you probably see new buildings cropping up all the time, called things like “4 East” or “Summit 3eleven,” with taglines like “Luxury urban dwellings driven by design.” There’s almost certainly a coffee shop without a bathroom on the ground floor. [Laughter] So apartments are being built. But the problem is, thanks in part to local, nimby opposition to more affordable, multi-family housing, it’s mainly been at the high end. In fact, in the last three decades, the national stock of rental units available actually grew by more than 13 million. But, crucially, the number of units at the lowest end of the market fell by nearly four million. That might be why if you’ve ever tried to search for affordable apartments in your area, google just says “nope.” [Laughter] And this serious lack of new affordable housing has enabled landlords to charge higher rents for the units that exist, something that’s increasingly attracted institutional investors: these are corporate landlords, like private equity firms, or even publicly traded companies, that pool the rents of their tenants and sell them as investments. They’ve long been players in apartment rentals, but more recently, after the 2008 housing crash, companies like these popped up to snap up single-family homes and rent them out. And because institutional investors are always trying to maximize returns, they’ll take any opportunity to push rents higher. Take Monarch, which has been called middle America’s fastest-growing landlord. Here is their owner last year salivating at the prospect of rent hikes.

We have an unprecedented opportunity, at least in my working lifetime, to really press rents, press rents on renewals because the country is highly occupied. We’re 97.5%. And so, where are people going to go? They can’t go anywhere. They want to be in apartments, or they have to be in apartments, and we have a tremendous opportunity to press both on renewing leases for existing residents, and to reset market rates, which we’ve reset numerous times even this year.

John: Wow. “They can’t go anywhere, and for us, that’s an unprecedented opportunity to press them.” That is a terrible way to talk about people. Honestly, it’s barely an acceptable way to talk about paninis. “Those sandwiches can’t go anywhere, fuck it, press ’em. Squeeze those fuckers! I wanna see lines!” [Laughter] So if you’re wondering why your rent is going up, it may well be because your landlord sees the current affordable housing crisis as a chance to “reset market rates.” And in a lot of the country, there are very few legal constraints to stop them doing that. You may have heard of “rent control,” which strictly limits how much a landlord can charge you, but vanishingly few people have access to that anymore. More commonly, there’s rent stabilization. Which, in theory, means that on certain older properties, landlords can only raise the rent by a certain percentage per year. But only two states and DC require it, and more than 30 states have actually passed laws banning it. And even when protections exist, landlords can find ways around them. For instance, they might try and force rent-stabilized tenants out by allowing a property to fall into disrepair. Or by harassing them with incessant construction until they voluntarily leave. Take the rent-stabilized tenants who lived in this building in New York. Their landlord claimed he was simply upgrading it to improve tenants’ quality of life. But that is not how it felt to them.

Tenants say they were offered buyouts to leave, but some, like George Manatos and Gretchen Mongrain, who’ve lived here for almost ten years, opted to stay. A decision they say came with a warning.

Well, if you don’t take the buyout, we are going to renovate this and you are going to have to live through the nightmare of renovation.

Mongrain says the unit next to her was demolished with a crowbar. When she asked about the noise and debris left behind —

All the person said was, “I just want to let you know there’s going to be a lot of rats from now on.”

John: You know, it says a lot that they would endure a rat-littered construction site just to hold onto a rent-stabilized unit, because that’s not exactly a welcoming message. If you went to somebody’s home and their welcome mat said “there’s going to be a lot of rats from now on,” you’d drop your casserole dish then and there and turn the fuck around. Thereby instantly falling right into the rats’ trap. [Laughter] And it’s worth noting: when rent-stabilized tenants did leave that building, the asking rents, unsurprisingly, then as much as doubled. And I assume those apartments were then snapped up by a nice young rat couple with rich tastes and disposable income. I believe we have a photo? There it is. They seem nice. [Laughter] And with rents being squeezed across the board, and protections few and far between, lower-income renters are, obviously, the most vulnerable. Even before the pandemic struck, 23 million people lived in households that paid more than half their income on rent and utilities. Which is just not sustainable for anyone. Now, in theory, we have something designed to combat that. Federal housing assistance in the form of housing choice vouchers, commonly known as “section 8.” The idea behind them is that a household still has to pay 30% of its monthly income for rent and utilities, but the government will help cover the rest. The problem is, the program is massively underfunded, to the point that only 1 in 4 households that qualify for assistance actually receive it. As we’ve shown on this show before, sometimes people have literally raced to apply for vouchers when they became available. And even once you’ve applied, the waiting period can be absurd. Take Chicago alderwoman Jeanette Taylor, whose application took a ridiculously long time to be approved.

When did you apply for this voucher?

In 1993.

And when did you get it?

2022. So 29 years.

What was your reaction when you got that letter?

I just sat on the side of the bed for like an hour in shock. And I was like, God, you got a sick sense of humor.

John: I mean, she’s right, he does. Although to be honest, I prefer God’s early stuff. Convincing Abraham to almost kill his son as a prank? Very funny. Flooding the world and making one guy get every animal species to fuck on a boat? Hilarious! [Laughter] But a housing voucher that’s 29 years late? I dunno. That does start to feel like God’s running out of ideas. And even if you’re lucky enough to get a voucher, you still then have to find a landlord willing to accept it. But many landlords don’t, either because they see it as a bureaucratic hassle, or because they have a stigma against Section 8 recipients, all of which leads to a lot of stories like this:

I was blessed with a homing choice voucher in April, and I haven’t been able to find a spot. I called over 200 places that would supposedly take the voucher, and none of those places were actually renting.

How many places do you think you got turned down from?

Jesus, at least 15.

15 Places turned you down?

If not more. It’s like I have a plague. It’s like we have a plague.

Everywhere you turn, no Section 8. I’ve called up 50 apartment complexes in Sacramento. They don’t look at me as an individual. I’m on Section 8, therefore I’m poor. Therefore, I’m bad.

John: That is terrible. Because even the worst people will honor vouchers. Take Willy Wonka. Sure, he may have run a sweatshop with horrible safety protocols that put children’s lives in danger, but even he had the decency to honor the fucking vouchers! [Laughter] Now, discrimination against those with section 8 vouchers is illegal, in some places. But even where that’s the case, landlords can just invent other reasons to turn people away. And with housing this tight, rents skyrocketing, and landlords holding this much power, low-income renters can be left vulnerable to the nightmare scenario: eviction. We’ve talked about evictions on this show before. They’re invasive, traumatizing, and like all the other perils of renting, disproportionately affect black people. One study of more than a thousand counties found black renters made up around 20% of all adult renters, but nearly a third of all eviction filing defendants. And perhaps nowhere demonstrates the enormous power imbalance between landlords and tenants more than housing court. Starting with the fact that, in most places, tenants don’t have a right to a lawyer in eviction proceedings. And if you don’t have an attorney to guide you through what can be a complex process, not only can you fail to raise legitimate defenses, you can make basic mistakes with huge consequences.

Gina comes across a tenant sitting distraught.

So she came to court, she came to court early and as happens sometimes because court is confusing, she sat in the wrong courtroom.

While her case was heard in a different courtroom. When she realized her mistake, she dashed over and caught the landlord outside, but he doesn’t want to speak with her.

And the court informed her that after ten days, the sheriff would come in and remove her and her three children from her home.

John: One tiny mistake and her housing was gone. Which is clearly unfair. The only time someone should be punished for going into the wrong room is when they accidentally stumble into the 3:30 showing of “Downton Abbey: A New Era.” [Laughter] Get ready for a long, boring ride. “But John, it’s delightful because they’re British!” Counterpoint: it is not. [Laughter] One study of nearly 100,000 eviction cases in Denver found that nearly 90% of landlords were represented by a lawyer, compared to less than 1% of tenants. Which is not good. And yet, some attorneys who work for landlords get very angry at the suggestion that tenants are poorly protected. Take this guy, who represents multiple landlords in St. Louis. He’s a self-styled guru for the real estate bar. And just listen to him giving a zoom seminar about evictions, and rolling his eyes at some of the basic legal protections extended to renters during Covid.

The advocates for the tenants are like, “you know, these people still don’t know what’s available to them and they don’t know anything about the CDC declaration.” [Bleep] Them! [Bleep] Them all! They’re too stupid to know what their legal rights are? They shouldn’t have signed a [bleep] contract for $1,000-a-month unit for a year if they’re too [bleep] stupid to sign, to know anything, to read the news, to have any idea about their rights! If they’re too [bleep] stupid, they shouldn’t be signing the $12,000 contract.

John: Okay, first, that is definitely the angriest I’ve ever seen anyone wearing a “rush” hat. [Laughter] And second, there is no doubt that man, at some point, has been kicked out of a youth soccer game. He just exudes “ref, I’d like a word” energy. I guarantee that is a man who has thrown a lawn chair, or at the very least, squeezed a kool-aid jammer so tight in his fists, the other parents thought his hand was covered in blood. Besides that, I will say, he seems like a cool guy. [Laughter] So that is what tenants can be up against. And the problem is, eviction filings can be on your record for years, jeopardizing your chance at future housing. Just watch as this woman contacts a realtor about a home that she’s interested in.

Did you get a chance to drive by and take a look at it?

Yeah, I’m sitting in front of the home right now as we speak.

Okay. And what’s your name?

Margaret.

Okay, Margaret. And how soon are you looking to move into a home?

As soon as possible. Right now.

Are you on a lease where you’re living at right now?

No, as a matter of fact, we’re not. We’re actually homeless.

Okay, so where are you currently living?

In our vehicle.

Yeah, unfortunately, when we check the court records and see an eviction, unfortunately, we can’t help you.

John: Look, there are some things that should probably stay on your record. Like war crimes, or voting for Taylor Hicks in the 2006 season of “American Idol.” [Laughter] You shouldn’t get to come back from that so easily. But people should have a chance to find safe and affordable housing, since the alternative is being homeless! And the thing is, you can be turned down for housing simply because an eviction case was filed against you, even if that case was later dropped, or indeed, you won it. The long-term damage that eviction filings do to your record is why many will choose not to fight when a landlord tries to kick them out. That’s one of the reasons people can wind up with a so-called “informal” eviction. That’s where their landlord does things like change the locks, threaten them, or even remove the front door. It is hard to measure just how many of these take place each year, but a survey of Milwaukee renters found that for every eviction executed through the judicial system, there are two others executed outside the court, without any form of due process. And given just how devastating evictions can be, it is infuriating to hear how some involved in the process view it. Remember that screaming rush fan from earlier? Well, it turns out, he actually has a little more to say.

It’s sad to say, and some of you who are not landlords might be shocked to hear, we evict grandparents who are poor. We evict cancer-stricken people who are attending chemo. It’s sad, but what’s sadder is that somebody who purchases property for hundreds of thousands of dollars is given the finger by the law.

John: Except it’s not sadder. [Laughter] It’s just not. On the great big list of sad things: person getting evicted during chemo is up there with dog deaths and the first ten minutes of “Up.” While landlord doesn’t get rent is at the very bottom, with celebrity tweets about a shitty airline experience and white guy not allowed to rap all the lyrics. It’s objectively not sad, at all. That is the core issue with rental housing in this country: people who think investments deserve more respect than basic human needs. And it has set up a system designed to ensure that some people just spiral downwards: they can’t move somewhere cheaper if nowhere cheaper exists. They can’t apply for federal assistance if there’s nowhere near enough. They can’t even use that assistance if no one accepts it. They can’t take their landlord to court if the court system is skewed against them. And they can’t depend on rental housing ever again if they’re evicted even just once. It’s a complete shit show. So what can we do about it? Well, there are some small things. We could pass rent-stabilization laws, and laws that prohibit discrimination against recipients of housing choice vouchers, and make it easier for landlords to accept them. We also could pass laws mandating the sealing of most eviction records, and give people a right to counsel in housing court. That alone can have massive impacts. In 2017, after sustained pressure, New York city became the first place in the country to give tenants the right to a lawyer in housing court. It is a major reason why, even before the pandemic moratoriums, residential evictions were down 40%. And luckily, other places are now following that lead. But I would argue what we really need to do is fundamentally change our mindset away from simply hoping that we can just tinker around the edges of housing policy and the private market will sort the rest of this shit out. Because we’ve tried that for decades, and yet, here we are. Instead, we need to agree: housing is a human right. And that is not actually just some empty slogan like subway’s “eat fresh”, or Gatorade’s “is it in you?” Which, looking back, was very, very weird. [Laughter] This can actually be policy. Many countries, including France, Scotland, and South Africa have legally codified a right to housing. And here in the U.S., 3/4 of Americans already believe that it is a human right. As for what that would mean, it would entail a massive federal investment in rental assistance, and the creation of much more affordable housing units across the board. And before anyone suggests we can’t afford that: we already subsidize certain people’s homes. The mortgage interest deduction gives massive subsidies to homeowners, by letting them deduct the interest that they pay on their mortgage on their taxes. That has cost the federal government more than $580 billion over the last decade. And currently, nearly 2/3 of the deduction’s benefits are going to those making $200,000 or more a year. I am benefiting from this program and I do not need to be! So we are clearly willing to prioritize housing in the budget, just not for the people who need it the most. The point here is, for a large portion of the population, simply having a place to live is an everyday battle. And for far too long, we’ve prioritized the protection of investments over individuals, and we’ve set up a system where landlords can “press rents and reset market rates,” and justify their actions with self-serving bible readings, even as they subject tenants to everything from tactical rat assaults to the incoherent rage of the single most foul-mouthed fan Ontario’s premiere prog rock power trio has ever fucking known. [Laughter] And now, this.

* * *

Announcer: And now, it’s always happy hour on QVC.

I think you just look so great in it, Amy. It’s like casual but there’s an updated elegance to it, and of course, I had to stop by with wine because I missed you guys last week!

We love you.

Tracy, thanks for swinging by and I will swing by and bring you some more wine later on.

It’s just me, a few bottles of wine. I’m a mom and I enjoy a nice glass of my wine sometimes.

Literally took a sip of the wine. I just want that for the record. It’s not a prop.

We are going to bring in Jackie Stafford!

Oh, she has wine!

Oh, my god!

And they said “wine?” And I said, uh, yeah!

I need a hand, I need a glass of wine.

There you are.

We have wine in our teacups.

We have one in our teacups. We are having a tea party.

Is there wine in the teacup?

Love you!

All right, I love you.

I love you.

And we are going to go shopping for wine!

Let me bring my own bottle of wine and I will be here.

Right here with my glass of wine.

It’s always a pleasure to be here. I think I lost my wine. Oh, you have your wine?

I lost my wine for the hundredth time tonight.

I have my college teachers, I have my Dave Matthews t-shirts that I love. Don’t get me started. [Singing]

I’m number 41 all the way. We almost had Dave Matthews wine on QVC years ago. I think we should all go to his Instagram —

Oh, my gosh! [Laughter]

John: That’s our show. Thank you for watching. These are my lines, and I love them, and I love to present them like this on my desk. See you, good night!

[Cheers and applause]

♪ ♪

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