White House Housing Conference debates 'value of homeownership'.

Published: August 19, 2010

I suspect many of you have been following the blowback from the White House Conference on Housing held earlier this week. I haven’t had an opportunity to talk with former CAR President Vince Malta, who was NAR’s rep at the event, nor have I seen any quotes from him in the press. Most of the quotes seem to be from Mark Zandi and his comments about how ‘we can’t afford housing subsidies any longer’. Hmmmm, I don’t recall Zandi mentioning that the last time he addressed an NAR crowd. Could it be he modifies his comments and his beliefs depending on the audience? Pro-housing when you’re in front of Realtors but pro-tax when you’re invited to sit on an Obama panel? I guess that’s how you keep getting  invited back.

But as Dr. Alan Greenspan told us at the NAR conference a couple years back, you’ve got to pay attention to the ‘first rule of economists. For every economist there is an equal and opposite economist. Rule #2 – they’re both wrong’. Zandi’s just the one getting quoted today.

But the more serious underlying tone of the seminar is that for the first time in 70 years, housing is on the table – especially the heretofore sacrosanct mortgage interest deduction. Panelists questioned the ‘value of home ownership’ and floated the theory that the government ‘spent’ $230 Billion to promote home ownership last year, the biggest chunk – $80 Billion – on the mortgage interest deduction. And they’re just not sure what return that’s producing for the government.

Excuse me? They’re spending $80 Billion on the mortgage interest deduction? That’s a bald faced LIE! They don’t ‘spend’ a nickel on the MID. The fact is for them, it’s simply a missed opportunity to tax us on yet another area of our lives. And since when was the purpose of homeownership  to provide a revenue generating tool for the government?

Let’s take their argument one step further – is the $80 Billion they claim they’re spending on homeowners really going to make a dent in the national debt, which is approaching $10 Trillion dollars? Is it Mark? So it’s OK to continue to funds all the pork and earmarks, bridges to nowhere, the arts, auto bail-outs, bank bail-outs, welfare for illegals, a trillion dollar healthcare bill, Fannie & Freddie not to menton the lifetime benefits accorded those who serve in Congress. But that $80 Billion a year for MID is breaking us? Is that really the best you can come up with?

And remember, it’s not $80 Billion they’re spending – it’s $80 Billion of OUR OWN MONEY they’re letting us keep.

And why did they seem to focus on the $80 Billion in MID and ignore the remaining $150 Billion spent on housing stimulus last year including the first time homebuyer tax credit? Maybe it’s because the tax credit was backed by this administration so they didn’t want to bite the hand that invited them to the conference.

But probably it’s because of a theory floated by another administration sycophant claiming that studies show the MID primarily benefits the wealthy. People making less than $40,000/year only benefit $91 while those making $250,000 benefit $5,459. Look out people, here’s another salvo at those damn ‘wealthy’ people. We need to redistribute that wealth.  Somehow we need to level the playing field so that people who work hard and do well get dinged more, or maybe they need to subsidize bigger houses for the people making less so those people can get bigger tax write-offs. It’s a shame to waste $80 billion on homeowners when you so many more undeserving groups you could fritter it away on.

Regardless of his fallacious math, the bottom-line is he has just redefined ANYBODY who owns a home as wealthy because they are getting benefits from the federal government that non-homeowners aren’t. So if you’re one of the people only benefitting $91/year, don’t get too smug because according to these folks you’re wealthy too and you won’t escape the axe.

That’s just wrong. Never mind we’re not collecting welfare or food stamps or ADC  or all the other give-aways our government has devised. The paltry $80 Billion ‘spent’ on homeowners is simply not providing a big enough ‘return’ to the government, according to these flacks.

I’m sick of this. I’m sick of paying ever increasing taxes so the unmotivated and unproductive can maintain a lifestyle. I’m sick of this talk of re-distributing the wealth. I’m sick of the constant attacks by this administration on the hard-working, productive members of this country. I’m sick of attacks on real estate and private property rights and on people who have been fortunate or industrious enough to own a home or several homes or invest in real estate. Mostly I’m sick of sycophants who, when faced with a problem, point the finger at every aspect of our society except toward the one segment where the blame truly rests – our country has a huge freakin’ spending problem and we can no longer afford OUR GOVERNMENT.

Well, that’s just my opinion – I could be wrong.

Last modified: August 19, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Originally published: August 19, 2010 at 2:39 pm
Printed: September 22, 2020