September 14, 2018
The options we have for housing are determined, in part, by the houses and apartment buildings that developers choose to build. But what they are allowed to build is controlled, in turn, by varying zoning laws across the country. The zoning code a city or town chooses to adopt can have a dramatic effect on what's possible...and what's affordable.
September 13, 2018
The broader financial crisis of 2007-2008 was the result of the U.S residential housing market collapse. That housing collapse itself was a consequence of an unprecedented number of weak and risky mortgages, driven predominately by the government-sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. When many of these mortgage holders defaulted, the mortgage-backed securities held by financial institutions around the world also buckled, leading to the financial crisis.
September 12, 2018
If anything symbolizes the American dream, it is homeownership—an asset that is viewed as part of a route from poverty and exclusion to independence and responsibility. However, as detailed in Part I, for over a century, state and federal governments worked to racially segregate American neighborhoods, promoting homeownership for whites while denying it for African-Americans.
September 11, 2018
A decade ago this Saturday, the world shook as Lehman Brothers, the fourth-largest investment bank in the United States, filed for bankruptcy. Representing one of the most dramatic episodes of the financial crisis, the date September 15, 2008, will live in infamy as the world economy was brought to the brink of collapse.
August 22, 2018
Most startups fail. The conventional wisdom is that about 90 percent of businesses fail within five years of their founding. For companies making new types of products in brand-new industries, maybe protective tariffs or other trade barriers can give them a little bit of a breather from foreign competition until they become established enough to compete on their own. This is the “infant industry” argument, and was first popularized by no less than John Stuart Mill.
July 24, 2018
As we’ve been saying ever since this issue heated up, tariffs hurt the economy. There’s no way around it. Seeing this harm, President Trump today proposed $12 billion in emergency aid to farmers hurt by his trade policies. This is a bad idea. This round of aid tries to fix one mistake with another mistake. That $12 billion of aid comes from other people, reducing their purchasing power and hurting other industries. Aid recipients will only benefit at others’ expense, meaning the best possible economic impact is zero.
June 27, 2018
My colleagues Trey Kovacs and Iain Murray and, in Forbes, Wayne Crews, give mixed reviews to President Trump’s long-awaited executive branch reorganization plan released late last week. Murray stated that the plan’s “focus on creating a better experience for the citizen who consumes government services rather than the bureaucrat that is supposed to provide them is a step in the right direction. However, it is disappointing that the opportunity was not taken to propose a wholesale reduction in the size of...
June 20, 2018
When Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, there was an unprecedented allocation of power to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP—previously known as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB), a new federal regulator created under the Act. Not only were a vast number of statutes transferred from other federal regulators, but the Bureau was also vested with new powers. Since then, little effort has been made to assess how these new rulemaking authorities are shaping out, until now.
June 17, 2018
Ever wonder why installations of household solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and utility-scale solar power have surged since 2014? The declining cost of solar technology is part of the reason. But a bigger factor may be the profusion of state and federal “incentive” programs, i.e. subsidies.
March 23, 2018
When the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finalized a rule regulating payday loans in October last year, I wrote that this could be the end of the road for millions of desperate customers who rely on these loans to get from paycheck-to-paycheck. It's now March 2018, and there aren’t many options left for these marginal consumers.