What's the Matter With Our Housing Policy?

By Marty Nemko

What one change would you make regarding housing where you live? Tell us below in our latest "Working It Out" feature, and we'll publish the best answers later this week

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Reuters

Nothing's more basic than housing. Yet even in America, which ranks 4th of 185 countries in standard of living, we have housing issues.

Liberals claim that:

-- In many downtowns, people live in dripping rat traps or in doorways just blocks from where Kardashian aspirants worry about whether to buy $1,000 shoes and/or $1,000 pocketbooks.

-- In the 'burbs, many people play "Who can build the most conspicuously consumptive (and environmentally wasteful) abode?"

Conservatives moan that:

-- Strangulating regulations add more to the price of a house than the house itself used to cost.

-- Government forces developers to play Robin Hood. Increasingly, government will refuse to allow a development to be built unless a significant percentage of the units are sold to low-income people at a big discount. That not only makes market-rate units cost more, buyers who feel they've earned the right to live in a middle-class neighborhood are forced to have low-income neighbors.

Others worry about more personal matters: "I had a gorgeous view from my condo window. Now they built a low-income housing highrise next door. No more view. No recourse. It's a new expansion of eminent domain.

This is Working it Out: Housing Grousing Edition, and our question for you is: What one change would you make regarding housing in your locale? Leave your response in the comment section below. Later in the week, my editor, Derek Thompson, will post your most thoughtful, provocative, and/or amusing comments. And next Monday, I'll propose what I think is a darn innovative idea.

"Working It Out"

1. Do Christmas trees belong in the workplace?

2. When is a so-called staycation a better choice than a vacation?

3. Do colleges need a consumer's report card?

4. What's the single best fix for our tax system?

5. Do the long-term unemployed deserve special treatment?

6. Should gas prices be higher or lower?

7. Do the long-term unemployed deserve special treatment?

8. What's the most important change we could make to college aid?

9. What one change would you make regarding housing where you live?


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This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/03/whats-the-matter-with-our-housing-policy/255067/