Homeownership: The Ideal Which Refuses to Die

Of all the Big Ideas which have been thoroughly discredited over the course of this crisis, arguably the biggest is the concept that homeownership is always and everywhere a Good Thing. As we’ve seen over the past couple of years, that’s not at all the case: it can cause massive financial pain and suffering, and in places like Orange County and Miami there’s a whole class of Smug Renters right now who somehow managed to dodge the homeownership bullet.

So you can imagine my surprise when I pulled up John McCain’s lastest bailout plan and was confronted by its name: the Homeownership Resurgence Plan.

The last thing we need right now is a resurgence in homeownership. Too many people own their homes already, including a lot of families who really shouldn’t. Let’s start thinking in terms of affordable housing, and not in terms of home equity. But I guess I can’t really expect too much along such lines from a man who has literally lost count of how many houses he owns.

(Earlier installments in this series are here, here, and here; also see Justin Fox, who charitably calls the McCain plan "half-baked".)

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