I can remember the time when, if we wanted a house or housing, we relied on private enterprise. In fact, Americans built more square feet of housing per person than any other country on the face of the earth. Despite that remarkable accomplishment, more and more people are coming to believe that the only way we can have adequate housing is to use government to take the earnings from some and give these earnings, in the form of housing, to others.
The bottom line for housing is that the concerns we used to hear about the possibility of a devastating collapse""one that might be big enough to cause a recession in the U.S. economy""while not fully allayed have diminished. Moreover, while the future for housing activity remains uncertain, I think there is a reasonable chance that housing is in the process of stabilizing, which would mean that it would put a considerably smaller drag on the economy going forward.
The standard of 'affordable' housing is that which costs roughly 30 percent or less of a family's income. Because of rising housing costs and stagnant wages, slightly more than half of all poor renting families in the country spend more than 50 percent of their income on housing costs, and at least one in four spends more than 70 percent.
By laying the groundwork for a system centered on home ownership rather than the public housing popular in Europe, the New Deal made possible the great postwar housing boom that populated the Sun Belt and boosted millions of Americans into the middle class, where, ironically, they often became Republicans.
There is plenty of blame to go around for the U.S. housing bubble, but not much of it belongs to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The two giant housing-finance institutions made many mistakes over the decades, some of them real whoppers, but causing house prices to soar and then crater during the past decade weren't among them.
The most common objection to changes in public policy which would increase a user's control of housing at the expense of centralized institutions is that standards would be lowered as a result. The standards the objectors have in mind, however, are not something that cam be achieved with available resources, but, rather, represent the objector's own notion of what housing ought to be.
Anyway, they went and built this silly housing project, with us living right across the street from it. Some of the children from the housing project got into trouble. You can't just take people who don't have anything, don't know what they're doing, pack them in a bunch of buildings, and expect it's going to all work out somehow. - Sadie
Amy Hill Hearth
Having spent years ruining the housing markets with their interference, leading to a housing meltdown that has taken the whole economy down with it, politicians have now moved on into micro-managing automobile companies and medical care. They are not going to stop unless they get stopped. And that is not going to happen until the voters recognize the fact that political rhetoric is no substitute for competence.
Too-easy credit and millions of bad loans made during the U.S. housing bubble paved the way for the financial calamity and Great Recession that followed. Today, by contrast, credit is too tight. Mortgage loans are particularly hard to get, creating a problem for the housing market and the broader economy.
Hunger, inadequate medical care, poor housing, and inferior schools are enemies of the sense of wonder. It is easier and less expensive in the long run to prevent a loss of imagination by providing adequate nutrition, housing, medical care, and schooling than it is to try to restore that loss.
We must dispel the negative and harmful atmosphere that has been created by avaricious and unprincipled realtors who engage in "blockbusting." If we had in America really serious efforts to break down discrimination in housing, and at the same time a concerted program of government aid to improve housing for Negroes, I think that many white people would be surprised at how many Negroes would choose to live among themselves, exactly as Poles and Jews and other ethnic groups do.
Martin Luther King
Mitt Romney and I don't agree on every issue and certainly housing is one of them. When you look at what is going on here in Southern Nevada, you can't say you got to let the housing market hit bottom. We have been bouncing along the bottom for years. And the fact is we have to do everything possible to: 1) keep people in their homes and 2) get people who are out of their homes back into their homes.
The government has brought on the housing problem, partly by these very low interest rates, which encouraged many people to go way out on a limb. They've brought it on by highly restrictive building policies, which have caused housing prices to skyrocket artificially. And they've brought it on by the Community Reinvestment Act, which presumes that politicians are better able to tell investors where to put their money than the investors themselves are. When you put all that together, you get something like what you have.
One third of the $15 trillion of mortgages in existence in 2008 are owned, or securitized by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, the Federal Housing and the Veterans Administration. Wall Street buyers of repackaged loans didn't mind buying risky paper because they assumed that they would be guaranteed by the federal government: read bailout from the taxpayers. Today's housing mess can be laid directly at the feet of Congress and the White House.
Walter E. Williams
The title says it all: 'Little House on a Small Planet.' With population, pollution and environmental pressures weighing heavily upon us, our planet grows smaller every day and the need for thoughtful, lower-impact housing becomes more urgent. This delightful book is full of inspiring ideas that will help you simplify your housing choices, make more environmentally responsible product and material choices and bring down the square footage of your next home. Or maybe you'll decide to take your current home and turn it into several. You won't be disappointed.
Does affirmative action place minority students in colleges where they're likely to fail while depriving other applicants of the chance to attend the most challenging schools where they are capable of succeeding? Does rent control drive up the cost of housing, depriving property owners of the same opportunity to profit as any other investor while driving down the quality and quantity of the housing stock? Do minimum wage laws reduce the number of entry-level jobs, making it harder to escape from poverty? Because compassion, by its nature, subordinates doing good to feeling good, these are questions the warm-hearted rarely pursue.
Although both home and mental illness are complex, modern ideas, we have fallen into the habit of using phrases such as "housing the homeless" and "treating the mentally ill" as if we knew what counts as housing a homeless person or what it means to treat mental illness. But we do not. We have deceived ourselves that having a home and being mentally healthy are our natural conditions, and that we become homeless or mentally ill as a result of "losing" our homes or our minds. The opposite is the case. We are born without a home and without reason, and have to exert ourselves and are fortunate if we succeed in building a secure home and a sound mind.
Thomas Stephen Szasz