Watch how the received wisdom gets worded: “A sustained rebound in home prices is considered critical to getting the economy back on track.”
That’s from a Washington Post business report on falling home prices. Its passive voice construction covers up who holds the opinion.
The sentence could have been written differently: “Many politicians, policy wonks, and industry shills believe that only a sustained rebound in housing prices can put the economy get back on track.” But that would have helped the reader see the special interests behind the statement.
We need housing prices high and rising again . . . to fulfill the plans of the very people who set up the house of cards that just came down.
Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron’s reaction is worth quoting in full: “No, no, a thousand times no!
Housing prices are falling because they soared to ridiculous levels during the bubble. Any policy that attempts to keep prices high — or, equivalently, that attempts to prevent foreclosures or juice housing construction — is fighting a crucial market adjustment to past distortions.
The housing boom mania — fed by multiple government subsidies and massive financial intervention coupled with cheap money from the Federal Reserve — served some people at the expense of the public at large. Progress doesn’t depend on it. Real progress depends on rejecting such nonsense.
By the way, other things equal, inexpensive housing is good for us. The whole “rising prices” mania defeats the alleged rationale for mortgage subsidies in the first place.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.