Housing market—it ain’t getting better: Dean Baker, as usual, is right. He proposed this idea—allowing homeowners facing foreclosure to stay in their homes as renters—way back at the beginning of the end of the housing bubble.
I’ve tried to understand objections to it: banks will make lousy landlords; if you can afford to rent, you can afford the gov’t’s modification programs (this is patently wrong–a key advantage of own-to-rent is that homeowners, not solely banks/mortgage lenders, can initiate it); it doesn’t solve the problem of folks who simply bought too much house. Some of these may have merit, but if there was ever a case of not letting the best be the enemy of the good, this is it.
It’s not too late to try it.
Energy Efficiency: I couldn’t squeeze this into my piece of gas prices, but in an energy market of largely disturbing trends, it’s an underappreciated positive one: the long-term decline in energy consumption per dollar of GDP. It’s down by half since the 1960s, meaning it takes half as much energy now compared to then to create a dollar of output. Doesn’t by any means suggest we’re out of the woods, nor does it diminish the need to conserve or to develop renewables. But it’s a good trend nevertheless.