We need more affordable housing. With more of it, we could end homelessness and get on the fast-track to eliminating poverty in America.
A pipe dream? Not really. All we have to do is simply build more houses. With more houses will come lower prices. That is basic supply-side economics. A crisis would be averted.
And not only could we just build more houses, we could build more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly homes, offering more strategic tax breaks for such purposes. We could gradually upgrade our whole nation's housing system for the future, incentivizing us ahead of a hostile China in at least one category that they seem to utterly fail in: what I call "compassionate capitalism." Not to mention that this would also provide many jobs within the construction industry, in which more than 1.9 million jobs have been lost since the beginning of the recession in December 2007.
However, we must do this at the national level, or else more compassionate cities will face an unsustainable influx of disadvantaged people, putting strains on police and social services. We must all share the burden.
Imagine how great this country would be with no poverty. Crime rates would drop significantly, potentially reaching a point extremely close to zero. People could stop worrying so much about their economic stability and could spend even more of their earnings on other things, helping to further fuel the economy. Yes, it would require massive investment. But in the end, it would all be worth it.
The problem is that in years past, government powers-that-be have decided to side with the uber-wealthy and the debt-saddled that want home prices to stay up out of pure selfishness. They are even tearing houses down. Never mind that 3.5 million people experience homelessness every year, according to a National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty study.
All of this links back to the faulty, hypocritical premise that raising home prices back to their pre-recession levels will somehow magically fix the entire economy. That's crazy, and it is time for all of us to wake up and realize it. Capitalism-obsessed economists can not have it both ways. Either you believe in supply-side economics or you don't.
Almost every person I have ever talked to about the subject is against affordable housing, at least until I am able to convince them of the need. Why? Because of Fox News and other irresponsible news outlets that purport to care about the average American while they simultaneously stab them in the back by misinforming them and endorsing those kooky economists and their troubled math abilities.
President Obama seems like he might lean on the right side of this issue. In his recent "American Jobs Act" speech before a joint session of Congress, he confirmed his support for the many people whose minuscule bank accounts have been ravaged by the recession. His plan allots $15 billion for a nationwide "Project Rebuild" real estate initiative, putting emphasis on rebuilding and sometimes repurposing old, abandoned homes. And while that is obviously not enough, it is certainly a good start.
Naturally, most Republicans have poised to stop such measures, neglecting to even second-guess their disturbing hyperpartisanship. Concerned only about the votes needed to keep them in office, they have decided to side with the misguided majority, rather than educate them.
Maybe this country needs to rethink its current careless and ruthless strategy before it dooms our poor, our elderly, our friends, our neighbors, and eventually, all of us.