We can and must solve the crisis in housing for all our young families and future families.
We must start with people, the American people. Just as Lyndon LaRouche did in his precedent-setting Homeowners & Bank Protection Act of 2007 (HBPA). Widely endorsed, including by nine state legislatures and over 200 city councils, the HBPA would have nipped the 2007-2008 financial crash in the bud.
See Homeowners & Bank Protection Act of 2007 (HBPA) by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr
Keep people in their homes, no foreclosures, LaRouche emphasized in a parallel address to a July 25, 2007, Washington DC conference and live LaRouchePAC national webcast. The hyper-inflated mortgage bubble would be restructured. While the system was in reorganization, homeowners would pay only a fair market equivalent rent to the banks, just as they had in the 1930’s foreclosures moratoria. The HBPA simultaneously created a firewall that would protect chartered state and federal banks that held mortgages, keeping their doors open. Meanwhile, the speculation --- toxic mortgage securities & financial derivatives – would be purged from the system. There would be no bailout of Wall Street hedge funds and other speculators. States would be the administrative arm, acting through the Governor’s office, including “rental” assessments to designated banks, to carry out the HBPA and get the job done.
However, in 2007-2008, we were gamed. George Soros and House Representative Barney Frank desperately opposed LaRouche’s proposal, telling Congressmen that such sane measures were “unconstitutional” and would collapse the financial oligarchy’s $60 trillion credit default derivatives market. The Obama administration and Congress acted to bail out “the banksters.” The right to foreclose was defended, and tens of millions of Americans lost their homes, while there was a massive financial bailout of Wall Street and the entire Anglo-Dutch monetarist system that is still ongoing. We collectively accepted the help of that “invisible hand” that had originally robbed our wallet!
It was also out of those tens of millions of foreclosed homes that was created the first mass corporate takeover of residential housing. They are doing it again unless we stop them. Lyndon LaRouche rightfully put people first.
This time we must get this right. A massive bubble has emerged anew in the housing market, with large Wall Street speculators like Blackstone buying up single family homes. This crisis, making housing unaffordable for a whole emerging generation while also driving up rents across the board, will not only result in homelessness. It will also destroy family formation, which the United States desperately needs at this point in our history.
Heading this off will require many to check some fundamental assumptions at the door, including those associated with limits to growth, or the desirability of decreases in population.
Let’s begin by looking at the fundamental economic requirement to drastically increase our population if we are to secure economic growth and a future. Forget whatever you may have heard to the contrary from Joe Biden’s collective, Wall Street predators, the World Economic Forum, or other Malthusians. The Statue of Liberty stands in New York Harbor for good reason.
To secure our future, we will always need more people.
Cadet 3rd Class Nate Moeller, Cadet Squadron 1, works on the roof of a Habitat for Humanity home. Cadet Moeller is one of 65 Air Force Academy cadets giving up their spring break this week, to build homes for the needy in Santa Fe, N.M.; Cody, Wyoming; El Paso, Texas; and Beaumont, Texas. Photo: U.S. Air Force photo/John Van Winkle
This truth established by a million years of human history, gives the lie to the pessimism of the Biden collective’s Green New Deal and its attendant demand for population reduction. In contrast, American methods demand that our nation always, optimistically be engaged in launching the next leap. There are no limits to resources that cannot be overcome with the discovery of new resources, and more profoundly, by the discovery of new physical principles that unfold our universe.
In a previous posting here, this writer discussed solving the crisis of the American family and population growth. Here it is sufficient to emphasize that blue collar pay-scales are woefully inadequate in the current “post-industrial” and greening economy. Without the rising productivity [see How to Make America a Manufacturing Superpower] inherent in an advanced industrial and manufacturing platform, pay scales cannot match real increasingly inflated expenses. So, the single paycheck household has largely vanished; even multiple wage earners barely make ends meet. Families that still tough it out and do grow are effectively denied a piece of the American dream. As everyone is paying for everything on credit, paychecks are eaten up. Student loans, used cars, rented apartments, cell phone and internet services, food, etc. Because of the revenue streams drained from worker’s pockets, there is little or no ability to save.
What is the Malthusian message? “Family formation? Don’t even go there. Move back in with your parents or grandparents.” To feed their financial bubble, the Great Reset would turn future generations into modern-day “sharecroppers” who only shop for necessities at the (Amazon or Walmart) “company store.” As the World Economic Forum makes clear, except for the super-wealthy, in the globalist future, no one will own anything; everything is to be rented, instead.
The Housing Crisis
Turning now to the housing crisis: there can be no further toleration of the current crisis in housing, as speculation and a lack of home building over decades, have driven the prices of residential houses and large apartments out of the price range of many, many families. Forget about the “starter” home that fits within the budget of a young family; they simply do not exist in many parts of country.
Did corporate investors snapping up a reported 15 percent of U.S. homes for sale in the first quarter of this year have something to do with it? As well as 25.8% of multifamily properties in the first quarter? Consider: over the past 40 years, the construction of entry-level homes has declined more than 85%.
In the first quarter of 2021, 1 of every 5 low-priced homes that sold (20.8%) was purchased by an investor. (That compares with 12.5% of high-priced homes and 11.3% of mid-priced homes.) Corporate investors are cornering the inventory of the precise houses and communities (designated “strike zones” by corporate predators) that might otherwise be desirable and obtainable for younger, working- and middle-class households, in the cities where those workers can find good-paying jobs.
In targeted markets, up to 25% of homes sold in the first quarter of 2021 were purchased by “investors.” These included Atlanta (22 percent of home purchases), Charlotte (22 percent), and Phoenix (20 percent). These corporate equity funds can scour those markets systematically utilizing software and algorithms, to make cash offers on the most potentially lucrative properties. https://www.redfin.com/news/investor-home-purchases-q1-2021/
After the avoidable consequences of the 2007-2008 financial crisis new housing starts plunged. Since World War II, actual family-oriented housing construction has always been victimized by the Federal Reserve’s insane on-again, off-again monetarist policies. Then construction plunged in the “Great Economic Recession.” And throughout, our actual population has been growing. In 1960 we had a population of 180 million souls. Today we are 331 million--and we should be more!
New Privately-Owned Housing United Started: Total Units. See https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/HOUST
Indeed, Blackstone and other predatory Wall Street equity firms – many of the same ghouls responsible for the 2007-2008 crisis that threw millions of Americans out of their homes – are sweeping in to buy up residential housing, outbidding other potential buyers. They are notoriously buying houses at auction in bulk from banks. They explicitly state their assessment that residential real estate represents their “once in a lifetime” opportunity to snare a long-term “revenue stream,” stealing it out from under the American citizenry. You have probably noted that all sorts of investors are following suit, including little “wise guy” home-flippers. Foreclosure auctions are becoming virtual brawls.
Turning residential homes into “investment properties” with absentee landlords is rapidly becomes a parody, ad infinitum, of New York City’s infamous slumlord real estate market. But now, “enforcers” deliver a revenue stream up the ladder to an integrated international “slime mold” best identified as the Anglo-Dutch monetarist system – centered in the City of London and Wall Street.
We Can Fix This!
While it will take a multi-pronged effort to rebuild our communities. centered in Lyndon LaRouche’s Four Necessary Laws, we can use LaRouche’s widely endorsed, 2007 “Homeowners and Bank Protection Act” as a compass. In any financial crisis, the Constitution’s general welfare clause requires that people, not speculators, be first in line for legal protection.
At the state level, measures to save this important part of the American Dream must be taken, alongside federal action, just as our states are now taking actions to preserve fossil fuel industries and jobs; ensure voter integrity; and outlaw the teaching of CRT and ‘gender fluidity.’ California has implemented a law, however imperfect, preventing corporate buyers from making bulk purchases at foreclosed home auctions. Under impeachment pressure, that governor has signed SB 1079, intended to make it more difficult for big-money investors to buy up foreclosed properties en masse. Among other changes, the bill prohibits the bulk sale of foreclosed properties by banks, etc. Tenants, affordable housing groups and local governments will get first crack at buying foreclosed homes in California. https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/california/story/2020-09-28/california-law-prioritizes-people-over-corporate-home-buyers
Other available measures include targeted property taxes; auction rule revisions; and changes to eviction laws applied to renters at the time of a change in ownership. Local government agencies can also force delinquent corporate landlords to pay maintenance costs which they systematically evade, such as backed-up sewers, while charging excessive and undisclosed fees for what maintenance they do undertake.
Further, we cannot allow local and state governments to destroy residential neighborhoods through imposed multiple-unit housing. The Biden collective’s intention is to multiply corporate owners’ earnings, per square foot of real estate, by forcing local governments to remove local zoning and other measures protecting still-existing, already integrated, blue-collar residential neighborhoods. The corporatists and equity financiers’ intent is to jam multiple-unit housing with shrunken floor space, preferably rentals, onto every piece of formerly family-supporting residential real estate. This is yet another step in wringing out of residential properties an ever-increasing feudal revenue stream for Blackstone et al., to further prop up their dying, predatory Anglo-Dutch monetarist system–and the people be damned.
Steps Now Required
Here are some of the steps that could be taken, starting now, to solve our national housing crisis:
* Legally halt speculative corporate purchases of residential properties, whether for resale or with intention to lease or rent. For example, Fannie Mae must not be allowed to financially back the corporate debt of large-scale corporate home buyers (see below). It should be clear, up-front, that a simple national Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on short term gains in residential real estate will not work by itself, as proposed by some. Blackstone et al say they are intent on holding onto their properties and squeezing renters over the long term. We must force them to unload.
* At the same time, we should implement a substantial net Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on the sale of any residential property held by large corporate entities. China, Taiwan, New Zealand, and even the UK have implemented CGT and similar policies for residential real estate to prevent or dry out speculation. Taiwan has just implemented a CGT of up to 45%, retroactive to 2016. They have deliberately brought corporate CGT’s -- including foreign companies -- into line with new CGT policies on private parties. https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2021/04/10/2003755410
* Further speculation might also be dried out with a Capital Gains Tax (CGT) that targets house-flipping –for example, on houses held less than 6 months. The intent is to deflate existing housing prices, making their purchase increasingly accessible to first-time buyers. They can still sell but sell-offs must be rational, not purely speculative.
These measures will require that certain mortgages be re-written downwards. While this process proceeds, as in LaRouche’s proposed Homeowner and Bank Protection Act, everyone stays in their homes. Banks that hold mortgages they wrote can be supported (not bailed out) as necessary, as these and other mortgages are generally written down from decades of speculation.
* Build more homes, creating millions of productive jobs! Over the past 40 years, the construction of entry-level homes has declined more than 85%. (See chart below.) Conservatively, over three million units are needed now. In the 1970s, as many as 480,000 entry-level homes were built every year. In contrast, only 65,000 entry-level homes were constructed in the last year — a year in which there were 2.4 million first-time homebuyers struggling to find affordable houses.
Overall, between 2012 and 2020, nearly 10 million new households were formed in the U.S. However, only 5.92 million single-family homes were built in that same period. Shortages feed speculation.
* To finance the building of more homes, we will need a dedicated system again, along the lines of the savings & loan (S&L) institutions that served this nation so well. Perhaps the reader recalls the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” This deserves a longer treatment than can be given here. However, the key is the utilization of national credit, earmarked, in this case, for home building and financing. The savings & loans were themselves rescued and their role enlarged by Jesse Jones and the Reconstruction Finance Corporation of the 1930’s and early 40’s. However, the S&L system was then deliberately bankrupted and looted in the 1980’s, by the Fed’s Paul Volcker along with the Wall Street-dictated policies that followed suit. Volcker’s policy was “controlled disintegration,” as promoted by the 1980’s Project of the Council on Foreign Relations. The Great Reset is simply a rerun of that attack on the American population.
* To build more of those homes, we must begin to log our national forests again! And tax the hell out of commodity speculators! Timber harvests on our national forests have fallen from 10-12 billion board feet/year in the mid-1990’s, down to between 1-3 billion board feet/year, due to “red tape and litigation.” Currently, thanks to the green fascists, the forests out West have been left to burn down. The same green/brown policies have warped our biggest forest and lumber corporations. Yes, there are new offerings, by such as Warren Buffet’s MiTek, offering “system built” construction – what used to be call modular housing. What we know, and can do on a large scale now, is wood and steel framing. We should do this.
* Help our families! We need – at least until wages begin catching up to costs -- mortgage subsidies or support to first-time family homebuyers, as well as other additional measures supporting our families. A “breadwinner” policy is sorely needed, allowing at least one parent to afford to stay at home and care for children.
* Revamp the mortgage market. As noted above, Fannie Mae’s financing of corporate residential house buyers must end now. In the lead-up to the 2007-2008 financial crisis, Fannie Mae and Freddie contributed to the mess by loosening underwriting standards, buying, and guaranteeing risky loans, and increasing purchases of those notorious “mortgage-backed securities.”
Yet, in October of 2013, Fannie Mae subsidized corporate real estate buyers to buy still unoccupied homes, homes foreclosed on due to the 2007-2008 speculative collapse --triggered by many of these same real estate speculators. https://www.fanniemae.com/newsroom/fannie-mae-news/fannie-mae-prices-first-capital-markets-risk-sharing-transaction
In 2017, Fannie Mae officially announced it would backstop up to $1 billion in debt from the country's largest owner of single-family rental homes, Blackstone LP’s Invitation Homes, already the largest corporate owner of residential housing. This was the first time in history Fannie Mae had directly backstopped a single-family house corporate landlord company. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/blackstone-wins-fannies-backing-for-rental-homes-2017-01-24?mod=article_inline
* Finally, outlaw financial derivatives in the housing market, both related to new construction and pre-existing housing units. Glass-Steagall re-enactment as stipulated in LaRouche’s Four Laws, is also a mission critical step in this process.
It can be done! We can bring back to our country the blessing of greatly increased numbers of families with children for the sake of “ourselves and our posterity.”