A Reckoning For The Ideology Of Homeownership

<p>Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) chastises those whom he calls the "homeownership ideologues" for promoting homeownership to lower income households.</p>
April 22, 2008, 11am PDT | Michael Dudley
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"The economy is sinking into a recession and faces the worst financial crisis since the depression. The unemployment rate is rising, the foreclosure rate is soaring and home prices are plummeting. It's time to settle some scores with the people who brought us to this sorry state of affairs.

The identity of some of the villains is already widely known...But there is one group that still needs to be singled out for their role in bringing about this disaster: The ideologues of homeownership. These are the folks who push the ideology of homeownership as an end itself. They insist on lavish government subsidies, even in situations where homeownership is not a good solution for the people affected.

To be clear, homeownership is often desirable. It can be a mechanism for providing good secure housing and, also, for accumulating wealth. It is, therefore, reasonable to have policies like a limited mortgage interest deduction or credit that make it easier for low- and middle-income people to become homeowners.

However, homeownership should not be viewed as an end in itself. One of the reasons millions of families face foreclosure and/or the loss of their life's savings is the ideologues of homeownership continued to promote homeownership even when it was clear buying a home would be financially detrimental.

In the interest of promoting better housing policy in the future, it is important to have a public acknowledgment of the follies of homeownership ideology."

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Published on Monday, April 21, 2008 in Truthout
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