This is just a very short note about three good articles and a great book on the housing problem in America. It is mostly about the difficulty of owning your own home in contemporary America . Are we getting close to the end of the family home in America?
Not too long ago most American families owned their own homes. And homes were one of the surest routes to prosperity in America in those days. Owning your own home was kind of an enforced savings program with guaranteed good returns. You bought a home with a low interest loan and then wrote off the interest on your income taxes. This was a kind of a government subsidy to homeowners.
Now-a-days owning your own home in America is very different matter. For one thing the government is no long on your side; it is on the side of the financiers. And secondly, homes are now super expensive. In some parts of the country, like California, they are impossible expensive for anyone but the rich. In California and in much of the rest of the country there are not nearly enough homes and so, like all scarce things they have become very expensive.
The alternative to owning a home in American is renting or living on the street. The sad fact is that renting almost never leads to prosperity these days. For most people once you go down the rental road you end up spending close to half of your income on rent and then escape becomes impossible.
Here is the first article. I think it is by far the best. It was written in May of 2017. This article is a wonderful narrative about the experiences of several home owners and renters, along with great pictures of them and their homes and their families. This New York Times article is “How Homeownership Became the Engine of American Inequality” and is by Mathew Desmond. In my opinion Desmond is one of the very best writers in America. A link is below.
How Homeownership Became the Engine of American Inequality
by Matthew Desmond
The second article is called Build, Build, Build, Build, Build, Build, Build, Build, Build, Build, Build, Build,,Build, Build, Build, Build.
It is by Conor Dougherty and was published in the New York Times on Feb. 13, 2020. This one is about “When California’s housing crisis slammed into a wealthy suburb and one public servant became a convert to a radically simple doctrine.” A link to this book is below.
The third article is “The Great Wall Street Housing Grab” by Francesca Mari. This article is also in the New York Times and was published on March 4, 2020. The article is about how “Hundreds of thousands of single-family homes are now in the hands of giant companies — squeezing renters for revenue and putting the American dream even further out of reach.” Here is a link to this article.
The book that I really like about all of this is by Matthew Desmond, the same author as in the first article. The book is “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American city.” This is an absolutely great book. It is about all of the above and much, much more. I highly recommend this book. It reads like the best novel you have ever read and is full of all kinds of important and interesting information.
A link follows
More reading on this subject
Summary: three good articles and a good book on the end of the Family Home.