Excellent questions posed by Thomas Sowell at this link Here is one below. Many more. I'm sure these questions are going through a lot of heads but don't look for Washington to give you straight answers.
The same politicians who have been talking about a need for "affordable housing" for years are now suddenly alarmed that home prices are falling. How can housing become more affordable unless prices fall?
The political meaning of "affordable housing" is housing that is made more affordable by politicians intervening to create government subsidies, rent control or other gimmicks for which politicians can take credit.
Affordable housing produced by market forces provides no benefit to politicians and has no attraction for them
I came back to this post to add a comment from a reader I missed from the link I origianlly found Sowell's post. I think the commentary associated with Blogs is a significant "value add" . The notion that Blogging is an extended converstion is strengthened by this. Please add your thoughts by clicking the comments belwo each post.
Pretty good article by Sowell. It does, however, illustrate one of the pitfalls that conservatives and libertarians encounter when trying to get their message out. He is, of course, spot on when he points out that bailing out one set of people in order to keep them in houses comes precisely at the expense of another set who would have the same homes (now “affordable housing”), were prices allowed to fall naturally. But he can’t resist taking little digs at the former group, saying we “indulge” their living “high on the hog,” and referring to their “bad decisions” in the title of the piece.
This may all be true, but it is the type of rhetoric that fills leftists with outward indignation and inward glee. They will spin this article and cherry-pick quotes to make it sound like Dr. Sowell is a heartless bastard who blames poor victims for their own misfortunes. Worse still, members of the less-engaged public are likely to be receptive to this one-sided depiction.
In this case, it is abundantly clear that the aid rendered to one unfortunate group that we would like to help comes directly at the expense of another equal-sized and perhaps even more deserving group. This is a general principle of government action, but usually benefits are concentrated and costs are diffused in a manner that obscures the equal (or greater) harm incurred. Better to draw attention to the zero-sum nature of intervention in this teaching moment rather than cast aspersions on the unfortunate and play into the “cold greedy incompassionate market fundamentalist” rhetoric