Thomas Sowell takes a look at the “problem of affordable housing” that has led to our current economic situation and finds False solutions and real problems:

What was the problem that didn’t exist? It was a national problem of unaffordable housing. The political crusade for affordable housing got into high gear in the 1990s and led to all kinds of changes in mortgage lending practices, which in turn led to a housing boom and bust that has left us in the mess we are now trying to dig out of.

House prices are very high in a relatively few areas of the country.  Why is that?

Almost invariably, these severe local problems had local causes— usually severe local restrictions on building homes. These restrictions had a variety of politically attractive names, ranging from “open space” laws and “smart growth” policies to “environmental protection” and “farmland preservation.”

…No one asked how many hundreds of thousands of dollars would be added to the cost of an average home by “open space” laws, for example. Yet empirical studies have shown that land-use restrictions added at least a hundred thousand dollars to the average home price in dozens of places around the country.

…In other words, where the problem was real, local politicians were the cause. National politicians then tried to depict this as a national problem that they would solve.

It’s easy to act without counting the cost  if you’re not the one paying.

Read the whole thing.  Mr. Sowell has been beating this drum for a long time.  Too bad politicians aren’t listening.

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