Friday, October 27, 2006
Housing the Homeless
If any of my readers out there believe the USA has a free market economy PLEASE do not believe this fantasy!!
My daily newspaper presents clear evidence that "government assistance" is distorting the housing market -- at least in Minnesota but of course the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (another department that would be closed were I sworn in as President) works nationwide so no doubt the following market distortion is occurring in other states.
First, today's front page banner headline story of the Pioneer Press's business page states:
"Home buyers still hold back: cooling market hasn't hit bottom yet, experts warn"
Wow, so real estate analysts and economists expect further price cuts for homes on the market today but yet in its infinite wisdom (as noted on Page 3C of this SAME business page) was this headline:
"Affordable Housing get $37 Million"
This story focused on the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency's announcement that it is awarding "more than $37 million this fall to help with construction and development of affordable housing projects throughout the state."
Amazing!! Current projections state that it will take at least 8 months for all the houses for sale in the Minneapolis/St. Paul real estate market to sale -- this is a "surplus" of homes in case government bureaucrats did not study Economics 101 in college.
If the government at all levels wants to make housing more affordable for all of us here are my suggestions:
1.) Reduce property taxes. For instance my local city council should sell its liquor store and golf course since the private sector supplies these services. The proceeds from the sale should be sent back to us as property tax refunds.
2.) Allow softwood imports from Canada under our current NAFTA free trade obligations.
3.) Allow more logging in our national forests to reduce lumber costs for homes while also reducing forest fires.
4.) Increase tax deduction levels for contributions to non-government entities such as Habitat for Humanity, www. habitat.org, which build affordable housing.
5.) Use some of this $37 million that the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency has to buy up some of the homes currently on the market for giving to homeless people -- this is a lot better idea than BUILDING MORE HOMES WHEN WE HAVE A SURPLUS!!
Finally, why is the government using OUR tax money to build more homes when this same government (via people like Al Gore and anti-Wal Mart city council members around the country) want to prevent urban sprawl?
Markets not programs,