12/13/2009

I should not be the one to point this out, but no one else has: there is an ironic paradox inherent in this economic meltdown because the very thing our government has encouraged and subsidized-- home ownership (how is it subsidized? tax write-offs for property taxes and mortgage payments, tax breaks for capital gains on primary real estate . . . how is it encouraged? the Bush and Clinton administrations pushed banks to offer loans to higher risk applicants and allowed them to offer complex mortgage products and then allowed mortgages to be bundled into tranched funds so everyone could get in on the mortgage funds) has now collapsed, but this was the thing that the was supposed to be the safest way to achieve the American Dream, buy a house and pay for it, and so now that it has collapsed and the foreclosure rate is high and the demand for housing is low because the market is flooded because so many people need to unload mortgages they can't afford because of high unemployment which was caused by the subprime loans to begin with, and we won't pull out of the recession quickly because we are a nation of homeowners, and in comparative studies, nations with lower home ownership weather recessions better because their workforce is more dynamic and liquid, and not locked into areas without work because they can't sell their houses, but since so many of us are home owners who can't afford our homes but can't move to find work because we can't sell our homes, the crisis is feeding itself but I'm not sure why an English teacher is pointing this out, although maybe it is because I can think about the crisis in a more detached manner because my job is relatively safe.

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