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We Need A New Deal for Housing

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/12/27/we-need-new-deal-housing

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I suggest that the problem of home cost and home ownership can be partly solved by changing how homes are taxed. Currently we pay a property tax at a rate usually based on the value of the home. Suppose instead that the property tax that we pay for housing is based on our income and the type of home.

For example, the tax on a 1000 square foot home might be set to 10% of ones income. You might object to this because your property tax will increase from what you are paying now, although you will probably enjoy having lower taxes when your income drops in retirement.

You will definitely object to this form of taxation when you see that the taxes you pay on your 20 rental properties considerably exceeds your income, but that is the part of the reason for this system of taxation, to prevent the wealthy from accumulating, hoarding, flipping and profiting from the ownership of most of the housing by making such activity unprofitable. By the laws of supply and demand, with the demand for housing for profit taking by the wealthy largely removed by tax policy, the price of housing will drop and the need for housing subsidies will be reduced considerably.

Unless all of FDR’s New Deal programs and regulations that were destroyed and decriminalized (in the name of deregulation) during the past four decades are restored, there is zero chance of any new deals for housing or anything else.

On the contrary the GOP is currently dismantling Social Security and Medicare, thereby assuring that many Americans who do own homes will be losing them.

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That ranking list is interesting.

Cuba has a 90 percent home ownership rate good for a 5th place tie with China.
Russia has a homeownership rate of 87 percent 9th place.

Number 1 is Romania at 96 percent.

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On the radio last night: in Oakland California, there are FOUR unoccupied houses or apartments for every homeless person in the city of Oakland. Four vacant housing units for every homeless person. The vast majority, over 2/3, of new housing built in Oakland in the last 10 years is luxury housing, only affordable to the obscenely wealthy. Many of these houses and apartments are owned by financial firms, or by those firms acting on behalf of wealthy owners. Lots are not even local. And we have thousands of people, including children, the elderly, and working people living on the streets. This is completely unacceptable.

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Under the system called Capitalism everything is a commodity. Shelter is not shelter. It is an investment and a store of WEALTH. No wealth, then sleep on the streets. Shelter is secondary to money. Everything is secondary to money.

Those companies that own that luxury housing still profit off of it. The Prices of real estate go up so as a storehouse of “value” , the worth of their portfolios goes up. This is how the system gamed. Under Capitalism a sure way to becoming a billionaires is through artificial scarcity.

I believe that China has more unoccupied homes and apartments than anywhere else. Vancouver BC, Seattle, SF, LA and other west coast cities are also high on the list. Many of these are owned by Chinese who must launder their wealth outside of China.

Here is a web site where you may add a city or county at upper left and a chart providing most of the data about home ownership, population and income can be reviewed. Suggest that there may be some errors because Chicago is shown to have only 70,000 military veterans. Nearby Gary, Indiana reports nearly 4,000 out of 70,000 residents…

A big fix is the three generation household.

In the 1980’s when I sold real estate in Sacramento, CA close to 70% owned where they lived. They had access to almost no down FHA loans and no down VA loans. Their payment including taxes was less 30% or close to it of their monthly income. It was Wall Street and investors who came in and destroyed the market pumping fraudulent loans that would have sent me to jail. After they set up the boom it collapsed and they made money going down too. As a little person I had no legal protection from their crimes. Shame on them forever. Real estate is still used by the wealthy for their income in ways that set up the massive homelessness now near me.

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Yes, it is totally unacceptable! And Oakland is not the only place where all the new housing is luxury priced, even apartments!
When apartments are renting here in Central Valley of CA, for $1,500 mo., $2,000 & UP(!), you can imagine what that does to cost of all other housing in the area. There’s no excuse for this! And it seems that once you’re homeless, it’s as if you don’t exist anymore to politicians & other decision makers.
The homeless are only discussed when people want to complain about having to see them when they visit the “rough side of town”, or heaven forbid, they start spreading into your suburban neighborhoods.
This problem is not going away. Our jobs went overseas. U ions busted up. Minimum wage didn’t go up for 10 straight years in the '80’s & has never caught up since! The cost of living has gone up alot tho. And now, as always, cuts in government spending are always put on the backs of those who need help the most. This month it’s SNAP, food assist program that keeps people from literally starving. After re-election, Trump & the Repubs have plans for major cuts in SSI & Medicare. Also have plans for more tax cuts for the rich. Who the hell is supposed to pay for this stinking gov’t. to keep screwing us over?!?
Not the rich, that’s for sure! Not unless we get different Parties in Office than the greedy schmucks there now! And if they don’t do the job, replace them too.
We have no power unless we ALL get out there & VOTE FOR CHANGE!