Too Few Homes, Too Many Homeless: Part One, How it Happened

Apart from the fine weather unique to California, there is little stopping the homeless crisis that grips that state from infecting the rest of America. California’s other even bigger problem, unaffordable housing, is also coming to America. All the elements are in place.

The problem of increasing homelessness boils down to three fundamental policy failures. Massive immigration, overpriced housing, and an inability of state and local governments to properly deal with homeless people.

Volumes could be written about each of these problems, because each of them are symptomatic of deeper challenges. Immigration is fundamentally transforming our culture. Overpriced housing is just one element of the economic asset bubble that offers an illusory, unsustainable substitute for genuine economic growth. And our inability to deal with the homeless is just one example of a stultified society, mired in legal disputes, bureaucratic inertia, and corruption.

Before exploring the specific synergy these three problems have with respect with homelessness, it’s important to declare their larger significance. Because how each of these problems affect homelessness, and how each of them might be solved in order to resolve the problem of homelessness, point the way to larger, more general solutions.

Mass Immigration Raises Demand for Housing

The easiest of these three to understand is mass immigration. It is also the easiest to solve, which unfortunately is only to say the other problems are even tougher. Since 1965, over 60 million people have immigrated to the United States. During that time, the total population has […] Read More

Economic Headwinds Came Long Before Trump’s Presidency

After the unexpected election of President Donald Trump, something else unexpected happened. The stock market soared.

In the final week before the 2016 election, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 17,888, an unimpressive level, since it had reached that same point nearly two years earlier in December 2014. But following Trump’s victory, the Dow went wild. By the time he took office in January 2017, it had already jumped over 12 percent, to 20,094. By January 2018, it peaked at 26,616, then edged upwards to 26,828 on October 3, 2018. In less than two years, the Dow Jones Index grew by an astounding 50 percent.

Since then, however, the Dow, along with the other major U.S. indexes, have been tumbling. By Christmas Eve, the Dow was 19 percent off its high, down to 21,792. What had been called the “Trump Bump” is now being called the “Trump Slump.”

While President Trump has been criticized for taking credit for the stock market rise, Barack Obama also got into that action, claiming in October 2018 that “the booming started on his watch.” But today’s economy, and especially the stock market, are reacting to longer-term trends for which neither president deserves full credit or blame.

Depicted on the chart below is the performance of the Dow from 1995, when the markets began first showing signs of “irrational exuberance,” to the extremely exuberant present day. On clear display are the past two bubbles, the internet bubble of 2000, […] Read More