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NYT columnist: Houses are the biggest problem in America


By Call it Crazy   Follow   Sun, 24 Feb 2013, 9:42am PST   694 views   7 comments
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What's America's Biggest Problem Right Now? It's Not Washington, It's Houses, Houses, Houses.....

David Brooks asks the headline question this morning and gives this answer: The biggest problem in America today "is that business people think that government is so dysfunctional that they are afraid to invest and spur growth."

Hmmm. Washington's dysfunction is indisputable. But it is not America's first, second, or third biggest problem. Those are (1) the lingering effects of the housing bust are still impoverishing families and economic growth; (2) globalization pushing down wages for work that lives along a worldwide supply chain; and (3) essentials like health care, education, energy, and housing getting more expensive while families have to work longer hours just to keep up with microscopic inflation.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/02/whats-americas-biggest-problem-right-now-its-not-washington-its-houses-houses-houses/273422/

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Vicente   Sun, 24 Feb 2013, 10:13am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (6)   Dislike     Comment 1

David Brooks is emblematic of the top-down thinking problem we have.

Why must houses continue to get more expensive?

Why should mortgages even be allowed to be tossed into a blender for FIRE wonks instead of held by local banks?

For the David Brooks of the world, these sort of questions are never asked.

FunTime   Tue, 26 Feb 2013, 7:03am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike     Comment 2

I'm annoyed by the constant referral of a return to the fraud-driven housing bubble sales levels as a "recovery." Let's say we don't want to go there again as a commitment to avoid fraud.

varmint   Tue, 26 Feb 2013, 7:32am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 3

This author is an idiot. first he says:

"the lingering effects of the housing bust are still impoverishing families and economic growth"

True enough statement, but then:

"So why isn't the economy growing faster? Because we're not investing in houses."

This dude has some causation issues. Just because looked the economy looked better in 2006 when people were investing in housing doesn't mean it will look good if they do it again. The over investment in housing is what crashed everything in the first place.

Moron.

thomaswong.1986   Tue, 26 Feb 2013, 3:47pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike     Comment 4

varmint says

This dude has some causation issues.

product of his environment. when all you see is housing as the core to the economy,
that is all you can talk about... i doubt he ever saw real production of real goods driving
a real economy creating cities and towns which was nothing before.

marcus   Tue, 26 Feb 2013, 10:22pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 5

All the people who really matter, own their homes (possibly with a nice low interest rate mortgage).

But their home is not worth what it was 5 years ago. So of course housing prices need to go back up. (sarcasm font on)

marcus   Tue, 26 Feb 2013, 10:25pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 6

Vicente says

David Brooks is emblematic of the top-down thinking problem we have.

Why must houses continue to get more expensive?

David Brook was quoted by the author making a statement unrelated to housing (one that I don't totally agree with). I think the remaining thesis about housing being our problem, isnot Brooks' thesis.

marcus   Tue, 26 Feb 2013, 10:39pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 7

I don't know that he's even arguing that prices need to go up, or whether he understands that that is what he is indirectly arguing.

The core of his argument is around this:

Noting the terrible drop in real estate investment since 2006. No consieration seems to be given to the possibility that it was just too high back in the bubblicious days and closer to normal now.

Better title for the article: The real problem with our economy: NOT ENOUGH GOOD BUBBLES GOING RIGHT NOW.

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