Yesterday House Republican leaders issued a joint statement outlining “Principles for Bipartisan Housing Legislation.” Many of the principles are sound in theory, but could also easily open the door to invasive and costly actual legislation. The Heritage Foundation responds to each of the principles below:
Support Homeownership. Homeownership is central to the American dream and a key part of our free economy. We need to keep the dream of homeownership within reach of middle-class families.
OK – BUT WATCH FOR EXPANSIONS OF GOVERNMENT ROLE IN HOUSING TO INCREASE UNDER THIS PRINCIPLE. ONE SMALL THREAD OF A SILVER LINING IS THE MARKET SHAKE OUT IS STARTING TO HELP BUYERS
Jump Start the Housing Market. The best way out of the housing crisis to get Americans purchasing homes again. The housing market needs a jump-start, not a bail-out.
SOUNDS LIKE IT JUSTIFIES A BAILOUT FOR INDUSTRY. LET THE MARKET WORK.
Lower Taxes on Middle-Class Families. Lower taxes on middle-class families will help increase homeownership. We cannot tax our way to a housing recovery, and higher taxes on American families will only add to the middle-class squeeze.
GOOD. BUT NOT REALLY RELATED TO HOUSING DIRECTLY.
Help Needy Homeowners Who are Truly Victims. We must address the threat to our economy and help needy homeowners who are truly victims without a taxpayer bailout that rewards reckless behavior.
BETTER THAN IT COULD BE, BUT WORRISOME – DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS.
Reform and Transparency. We must bring reform and transparency to the housing market and improve our overall economy, as well as ensure that this situation doesn’t become a feeding frenzy of trial lawyers eager to profit from people’s misfortune.
Fairness for Responsible Homeowners. As a matter of fairness, we should stand up for Americans who saved and invested responsibly, not reward reckless behavior at the expense of those who did the right thing.
Protection for Taxpayers. We should protect taxpayers from having to bail out speculators and scam artists.
Stake in the Outcome. Anyone receiving government assistance should have to make a financial sacrifice and have a stake in the outcome.