Monday, January 18, 2010

How to help Haitians and raise home prices

There are over 15 million vacant homes in the United States. This is a problem if you want to sell a home, but it gives you an edge if you are a first time home buyer. Since bad news is more dramatic than good news, there has been much more fuss about the plight of homeowners than the discount that home buyers are getting.

So there have been many policy proposals intended to raise home prices. Personally I don't think it should be a priority. Artificially propping up home prices treats the symptom and not the disease. (The disease is a matter for another post.) But if you, unlike me, happen to think that raising home prices is a legitimate policy goal, here's an idea that I'm throwing out there.

We should let Haitians displaced by the earthquake resettle in the US. There are potential economic pros and cons to this, but I would argue that humanitarian considerations outweigh both at the moment. We could set up a system in which states and cities decide how many refugees they are willing to accept. I would imagine that some states would prefer to not allow any Haitian inside their borders, but hopefully other states would be generous enough to allow a few in.

1 comment:

Tim Zank said...

You had me until paragraph 3.

Here's a better idea. Get the government the hell out of the real estate market, it'll fix itself if they would just leave it the fu%k alone.

As for Haiti, immediately help stabilize the wounded, bury the dead, help put up temporary shelters, police the country to prevent looting, then give them all a hammer and show them how to build a structure that will withstand the inevitable next one.

I've got no problem helping Haiti from a humanitarian standpoint, it's the right thing to do, but just once I'd like to see us get a country back on their collective "feet" and then actually STOP at that. Just like kids and democrats, if ya keep giving them everything, they'll sure as hell grow to expect it.

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