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Jenny Schuetz @jenny_schuetz
, 9 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
New blogpost coming shortly putting Senator Warren's housing bill in context, but a few big-picture thoughts in the meantime. Summary: there's a lot in this bill for traditional affordable housing advocates, YIMBYs, and housing economists to like.…
Any credible plan to improve affordability _must_ address housing supply, especially to tackle ways in which local govts make it hard to build apartments. Warren's bill does this front-and-center (offers infrastructure $ to local govts if they reform zoning).
(I still have doubts about whether design of voluntary infrastructure grants will induce seriously exclusionary suburbs to participate, but w/in limits of federal authority over land use, this is a credible attempt.)
Given variation in local housing markets across US, it's *really hard* to design coherent natl housing policy. Like, really hard.
Warren's plan acknowledges breadth of issues (rising costs in supply-constrained mkts, underwater homeowners, rural hsg costs), tries to offer location-appropriate policies (only places where costs rise faster than income eligible for new bldg subsidies).
Many of our current bad housing outcomes are result of former (& ongoing) bad policies. Redlining, weak oversight of mtge lending, outdated CRA coverage, plus excess zoning. This bill acknowledge past policy failures & explicitly tries to correct them. That's pretty awesome.
The bill calls for lots of new federal funding for housing. And it identifies a credible way to pay for itself, in a pretty non-distortionary way (estate tax). Revenue-neutral policies, there's a crazy idea I can definitely get behind!
My biggest critique would be to spend more money expanding vouchers to low-income families, rather than subsidizing new construction (lots of places where housing costs are pretty low & vouchers are more efficient way to bridge income-rent gap).
But overall, it's a thoughtfully designed, nuanced roadmap for comprehensive housing policy reform.
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