Monday, August 28, 2006

Read the whole thing, please...

I know clicking the link rarely happens in the Blogdom, but I strongly urge everyone to stop reading this and start reading this, a great story from the Washington Post about the growing housing affordability problem. The short summary: As the problem has grown to include more than just "poor" people, politicians seem even less concerned about it.

Here's more in the form of a chat transcript with the author.


mary smith said...

Yes, I read this Sunday.

You really can't seriously support paying taxes to provide subsidies to people earning 6 figures.

Hayduke said...

We already do: Mortgage interest and other homeownership deductions to the tune of $130 billion a year.

mary smith said...

Housing subsidies go beyond interest deductions.

I cannot support a candidate who thinks this is a good thing.

You were just able to buy your first home, and additional taxes paid by you support someone who earns twice the amount you do?

Again, beyond the interest deduction, let's talk about housing subsidies as the linked article referenced.

Hayduke said...

What subsidies are you talking about? The article mentions only one federal housing program, HOPE VI, which isn't an individual subsidy but a grant program to cities to demolish and rebuild public housing projects.

As for total housing subsidies, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the source of almost all the money for housing assistance, has an annual budget of less than $40 billion and annual spending on housing assistance at around $30 million. None of this money goes to people earning six figures. The primary targets of HUD assistance are people earning less than 50% of area median, considered very low income.

But affordability for very low income families is a different problem than affordability for middle class families, even though some of the definitions may be the same. Middle class families have market power, they just can't afford housing because the market is so out of whack. Very low income families little or no market power. For them, I don't think its about correcting the market as much is it is making sure they don't get left behind.

My taxes already support someone earning six figures: 75 percent of the mortgage interest deduction and other homeownership expenditures go to households earning more than $100,000.

mary smith said...

You go from -0- to 60 with nothing in between. Call me slow, but here's what made me believe they were talking about federal subsidy programs:

"The situation is so dire that Fairfax recently began offering housing subsidies to families earning $90,000 a year; soon, that figure may go as high as $110,000 a year.
Changing places: In Fairfax County today, families earning $90,000 or less can qualify for the latest in public housing . .
Overall, the number of households receiving federal aid has flatlined since the early 1990s, despite an expanding population and a ballooning budget."

If people in Fairfax are *not* paying taxes in support of subsidies (not interest deductions) for $90k earners, then I'm still at zero.

If you want to convert readers to adopt the logic, please slow down and educate.