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But you're right in the sense that speculative bubbles are fragile things: Monetary policy can puncture them, if it is applied with some care; fiscal policy can puncture them with ease; a depressed public mood can prevent them altogether; and even a dose of vigorously voiced pessimism from someone who enjoys a reputation for being Serious can snap some people out of it. So the presence of a speculative bubble indicates failure on several level, from cultural myths to regulatory inaction.
Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
The policy solution was to give people more control over their housing through ownership entitlement to their homes instead of through rental contract entitlement, but the problem was that no bank in their right mind would lend more than 5 years out to working homebuyers on modest wages and salaries, and home building prices required mortgages of 20 to 30 years before middle class families could expect to be able to buy and own their own homes. Thus the federal government created long term mortgages through establishment of secondary market for them by copying the already successful federal farm credit system model of GSEs (government supported enterprises) of a generation earlier, which was itself an adaptation of the 19th century German Landesbank model. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were born and to this day remain the only stable market which provides for home mortgages. Despite all the problems such as the recent crisis, mass homelessness has never returned to the pre-1930's levels again.
Besides, there's nothing wrong with increasing rent that can't be solved with better public housing provision.
That's a cute story, but it does not explain the recent push to expand the "ownership society."
You live in the pwn3rship society.
(part of the ET's ClassicalTM Series)
The housing bubble has been indeed very useful: unlike the previous Internet bubble that only enrolled the stock owning people, housing bubble allows to enroll just about everyone. And this "wealth effect" was sorely needed to offset wages than have been stagnant or declining since "Morning in America".
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