September 25, 2018

The Atlantic: Elizabeth Warren’s Ambitious Fix for America’s Housing Crisis

Ten years ago, the subprime-mortgage crisis stripped millions of Americans of their homes. Many haven’t gotten those homes back and now face skyrocketing rents. Ask an economist, or any recent graduate trying to afford rent, and they’ll tell you: America is still in a housing crisis. On Tuesday, Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced a bill tackling the issue head on, trying to lower the cost of homes in neighborhoods with greater economic opportunity.

The legislation, titled the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, is perhaps the most far-reaching assault on housing segregation since the 1968 Fair Housing Act. It’s ambitious, pouring half a trillion dollars over 10 years into affordable-housing programs, and funded by raising the estate tax to Bush-era levels. An outside study by Mark Zandi at Moody’s Analytics found that raising the estate tax would ensure the bill does not create a deficit.

As rumors swirl about a potential 2020 presidential bid by Warren, the bill—focused on race and class—is imbued with Warren’s trademark theory of capitalism: Market competition can work, but only after the government has made sure the market isn’t rigged for one side. Equally true to Warren’s ethos is the bill’s raising of the estate tax, which means it has no chance of passing a Republican-controlled Congress. However, if Democrats take the House and possibly the Senate in November, the bill could at least be seriously considered. “I think in the next Congress it’s very likely that some form of this bill moves ahead,” said Philip Tegeler, the executive director of the Poverty and Race Research Action Council. “I think housing is on the front burner for most Democrats and many Republicans, and it’s not going away.”

Read the full article on The Atlantic's website here.

By:  Madeleine Carlisle
Source: The Atlantic