The Bottom Line: Housing

We are economists who think that the economy should serve people, the planet and the future.
Four million families have lost their homes to foreclosure in the Great Recession. Today another four million or more face the same fate. This devastation was triggered by unscrupulous financiers and exacerbated by government policies that put banker bonuses ahead of homeowner solvency.
Some blame families for foolishly pursuing the American Dream of homeownership. They think government assistance for banks is OK, but homeowners should be left to take “free-market” medicine.
Some claim that the solution for the housing crisis is to extend and pretend, to perpetuate make-believe values on bank balance sheets rather than to modify principal based on real housing prices. These policies may be a dream for bankers, but they’re a nightmare for homeowners.
We oppose treating the nation’s housing as a bundle of assets to be sliced, diced, flipped, and bailed out in pursuit of inflated profits and bonuses.
We call for reality-based, ethically grounded housing policies that restore stability to families and sanity to markets.
We call for mandatory partial reductions of mortgage principal whenever this can keep a family in its home. We call for America’s best run housing non-profits to be paid to provide the counsel required to determine when such modifications will work. We call for civil and, when necessary, criminal sanctions on banks and loan-servicing companies whose employees intentionally obstruct implementation of mandated loan modifications.
We call for amending bankruptcy laws to restore pre-2005 rules that protected families and communities from bank depredations.
We call for immediate return to the rule of law by requiring those who seek to foreclose to demonstrate they have the proper title and rights to do so – with stiff legal penalties if they ignore the law.
In response to recent moves by the top 1% to buy distressed housing and convert it to rental stock as absentee landlords, we call for local, state and national standards to protect families from predatory rental practices.
We extend our support to all who are working in the private, non-profit, and public sectors to promote access to affordable and stable housing as a human right of families and an asset for communities.
If you’re an economist and would like to add your name to this statement, please send us an email by clicking here (info@econ4.org).
Gar Alperovitz / University of Maryland College Park
James K. Boyce / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Omar S. Dahi / Hampshire College
George DeMartino / University of Denver
Gerald Epstein / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Gerald Friedman / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Eban Goodstein / Bard College
Juliet Schor / Boston College
Douglas Smith / Econ4
Nurul Aman / University of Massachusetts Boston
Hannah Appel / University of California Berkeley
Michael Ash / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Lee Badgett / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Ron Baiman / Center for Tax and Budget Accountability
Scott Baker / Common Ground – NYC
Erdogan Bakir / Bucknell University
Benjamin Balak / Rollins College
Radhika Balakrishnan / Rutgers University
Fabian Balardini / Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY)
Ahmet Baytas / Montclair State University
Marc Bilodeau / Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis
Cyrus Bina / University of Minnesota
Peter C. Bloch / University of Wisconsin-Madison
Elissa Braunstein / Colorado State University
Antonio Callari / Franklin and Marshall College
Martha Campbell / SUNY Potsdam
Jessica Carrick-Hagenbarth / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Kimberly Christensen / Sarah Lawrence College
Jennifer Cohen / Whitman College
J. Kevin Crocker / University of Massachusetts Amherst
James Crotty / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Anita Dancs / Western New England University
Susan M. Davis / Buffalo State College
Carmen Diana Deere / University of Florida
Geert Dhondt / John Jay College, City University of New York
P.K. Dollar / Gem Communications
Laura Dresser / Center on Wisconsin Strategy
Amitava Krishna Dutt / University of Notre Dame
Justin A. Elardo / Portland Community College
Bilge Erten / United Nations, DESA
Joshua Farley / University of Vermont
Susan Feiner / University of Southern Maine
Kade Finnoff / University of Massachusetts Boston
Heidi Garrett-Peltier / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Barbara Garson / Author “Down the Up Escalator: How the 99% live in the Great Recession”
Armagan Gezici / Keene State College
David Gold / The New School
Jonathan P. Goldstein / Bowdoin College
Doug Henwood / Left Business Observer, “Behind the News”
Wolfgang Hoeschele / Truman State University
Sue Holmberg / The Roosevelt Institute
Julio Huato / St. Francis College
Mary C. King / Portland State University
Mark Klinedinst / University of Southern Mississippi
Tim Koechlin / Vassar College
Kazim Konyar / California State University, San Bernardino
Philip Kozel / Rollins College
David Laibman / City University of New York
June Lapidus / Roosevelt University
Joelle J. Leclaire / Buffalo State College, SUNY
Frederic Lee / University of Missouri Kansas City
Fernando Leiva / University at Albany (SUNY)
Charles Levenstein / University of Massachusetts Lowell
Margaret Levenstein / University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Patricia J. Lindsey / Retired
Sean MacDonald / New York City College of Technology, City University of New York
Arthur MacEwan / University of Massachusetts Boston
Stephanie Martin / Allegheny College
Peter Hans Matthews / Middlebury College
Elaine McCrate / University of Vermont
Michael Meeropol / John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY)
Philip Mellizo / The College of Wooster
John D. Messier / University of Maine Farmington
Peter B. Meyer / University of Louisville, The E.P. Systems Group, Inc.
John Miller / Wheaton College
Fred Moseley / Mount Holyoke College
Tracy Mott / University of Denver
Ellen Mutari / The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
Julie Nelson / University of Massachusetts Boston
Reynold F. Nesiba / Augustana College–Sioux Falls
Eric Nilsson / California State University San Bernardino
Jennifer Olmsted / Drew University
Shaianne Osterreich / Ithaca College
Aaron Pacitti / Siena College
Karl Petrick / Western New England University
Robert Pollin / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Thomas Michael Power / University of Montana
Paddy Quick / St. Francis College
Stephen Resnick / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Meenakshi Rishi / Seattle University
Leopoldo Rodriguez / Portland State University
Frank Roosevelt / Sarah Lawrence College
Nancy E. Rose / California State University San Bernardino
Luis D. Rosero / Fitchburg State University
Blair Sandler / San Francisco
Helen Scharber / Hampshire College
Ted P. Schmidt / SUNY Buffalo State
Markus P. A. Schneider / University of Denver
Eric A. Schutz / Rollins College
Barry Shelley / Brandeis University
Thomas Simmons / Greenfield Community College
Bryan Snyder / Bentley University
Peter Spiegler / University of Massachusetts Boston
Howard Stein / University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Masao Suzuki / Skyline College
Frank Thompson / University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Renee Toback / URPE
Zdravka Todorova / Wright State University
Mariano Torras / Adelphi University
Mayo Toruño / California State University San Bernardino
A. Dale Tussing / Syracuse University
Valerie Voorheis / University of Massachusetts Amherst and Marlboro College Graduate Center
Mwangi wa Gĩthĩnji / University of Massachusetts Amherst
James Wagner / John Burrough Schools, Webster University
Scott A. Weir / Wake Technical Community College
Thomas E. Weisskopf / University of Michigan
Maggie Winslow / University of San Francisco
Yavuz Yaşar / University of Denver
Lyuba Zarsky / Monterey Institute of International Studies
Barbara Zoloth / Retired