In all the talk about the nation's supposed housing crisis, one thing's missing.
"The longer housing prices remain stagnant or fall, the greater the penalty to our future economic growth," Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson told Georgetown University law students Tuesday.
But if housing prices go up and up and up forever while salaries stay roughly the same or fall, sooner or later we reach the point when only the rich can buy homes. It's already reached that point on the east and west coasts.
Families and individuals shouldn't be expected to spend every penny they make on housing. After all, other greedy companies such as auto manufacturers want us to spend the rest of the money on them.
And then there's everyday expenses such as utility bills, things the kids need...
I'll give Paulson credit for criticizing predatory loan companies who fleece the poor to build up the rich. And Paulson also took a shot at "property speculators," who he says he has "no interest" in bailing out.
I'd guess by "property speculators" he includes landlords who buy home after home and leave them in the poorest condition they can get by with while charging outrageously high rents. But I can't criticize decent landlords who take care of their properties, don' t gouge renters and are just trying to make an honest (note "honest") profit.
I realize homeowners want their property values to go up (as long as the property taxes don't rise too high), especially if they're planning to move at some point. But somewhere down the line the gap between home or rental costs and income has to stop expanding.