Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Affordable Housing: Nobody Knows What It Means, But Politicians Never Want To Be On Wrong Side

Anyone who has not lived in a liberal inner suburb such as Arlington, Virginia may have a difficult time understanding the emotional freight that the phrase "affordable housing" carries in local politics. It is an issue on which candidates campaign, on which activists make officeholders feel guilty and on which a remarkably forceful social service coalition, anchored by churches and nonprofit organizations, can amass lots of political power. Nobody is ever sure exactly what "affordable housing" means, but nobody running for office ever wants to be on the wrong side of it.

~Alan Ehrenhalt's article in The Governing Magazine titled "The Magic Word: Affordable"

HT: Tim Wise

9 Comments:

At 9/23/2008 3:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Affordable is anything that can buy me votes.

 
At 9/23/2008 4:28 PM, Blogger Tiger said...

Words are easy to speak sir, but the implementation and the maintenance is going to be tough.

 
At 9/23/2008 7:42 PM, Blogger bob wright said...

I've had just about all I can take.

If the bailout includes some sort of help for people in upside-down sub-prime mortgages, then I want a check to help me with my mortgage.

Otherwise, I might as well just default and let someone else pay for it.

Why should I keep paying?

 
At 9/23/2008 9:21 PM, Anonymous from robert reich said...

Robert Reight says .........

So if you are a member of Congress, you just might be in a position to demand from Wall Street certain conditions in return for the blank check.

My five nominees:

1. The government (i.e. taxpayers) gets an equity stake in every Wall Street financial company proportional to the amount of bad debt that company shoves onto the public. So when and if Wall Street shares rise, taxpayers are rewarded for accepting so much risk.

2. Wall Street executives and directors of Wall Street firms relinquish their current stock options and this year's other forms of compensation, and agree to future compensation linked to a rolling five-year average of firm profitability. Why should taxpayers feather their already amply-feathered nests?

3. All Wall Street executives immediately cease making campaign contributions to any candidate for public office in this election cycle or next, all Wall Street PACs be closed, and Wall Street lobbyists curtail their activities unless specifically asked for information by policymakers. Why should taxpayers finance Wall Street's outsized political power - especially when that power is being exercised to get favorable terms from taxpayers?

4. Wall Street firms agree to comply with new regulations over disclosure, capital requirements, conflicts of interest, and market manipulation. The regulations will emerge in ninety days from a bi-partisan working group, to be convened immediately. After all, inadequate regulation and lack of oversight got us into this mess.

5. Wall Street agrees to give bankruptcy judges the authority to modify the terms of primary mortgages, so homeowners have a fighting chance to keep their homes. Why should distressed homeowners lose their homes when Wall Streeters receive taxpayer money that helps them keep their fancy ones?

Wall Streeters may not like these conditions. Well, you should tell them that the public doesn't like the idea of bailing out Wall Street. So if Wall Street doesn't accept these conditions, it doesn't get the blank check.

 
At 9/24/2008 2:59 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

.

Can anyone tell me why it is that I can't find an *affordable* Playboy Playmate?


No, not the papery kind.

:oP

.

 
At 9/25/2008 4:29 PM, Blogger Joseph said...

This mess had a predecessor in the FHA graduated payment plan. This was an FHA program of the late 70’s and early 80’s. It was to get lower income people and opportunity to buy a home at a lower payment rate because interest rates were too high. The payment started off as a negative amortization which was adjusted up as the years progressed. The assumption was that incomes would also increase. When interest rates dropped, homeowners, with increasing rates, went to refinance their homes. When appraised, the loan was higher than the value of the home. Easy solution: do not appraise the home for refinancing, do not verify income, require current loan payments for the last six months, sign a new mortgage at a lower of fixed rate(payment) and the owner promises to pay (streamline refinance).

Affordable is what one will and can pay.

 
At 9/26/2008 11:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous said:

Affordable is anything that can buy me votes.


Actually, in MOST suburbs, opposing affordable housing is a sure-fire way to get votes.

 
At 9/26/2008 11:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

tiger said:

Words are easy to speak sir, but the implementation and the maintenance is going to be tough.


No, all you have to do is reduce excessive regulation and artificial supply restrictions, and let the free market operate.

More housing will be built, and it will be more affordable.

 
At 9/26/2008 11:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

obloodyhell said:

Can anyone tell me why it is that I can't find an *affordable* Playboy Playmate?


Supply and demand. The supply ios very low, demand is high, and the price goes through the roof.

 

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