Habitat FOR HOMEOWNERS ONLY

Habitat FOR HOMEOWNERS ONLY, billions in subsidies paid for by taxes on renters

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BUMPERHUMPER:  Want a balanced budget? End homeowners' subsidies 


EDITORIAL: Using Government To Steal From Renters

Here's how the thievery works--

You homeowners deduct billions of your housing expenses from their taxes, but renters do not deduct their housing expenses from their taxes. So renters' taxes have to be higher than they would otherwise be, in order for the taxes of homeowners to be lower than they would otherwise be. To make this politically acceptable, instead of saying "subsidies" you homeowners say "tax benefits" to disguise your use of government to enrich yourselves at the expense of renters.

By reducing Federal taxes on homeowner income, these subsidies function as artificial price supports by making homes more valuable. When homeowners sell, the selling price is much higher than it would otherwise be. The Federal subsidy for homeownership keeps prices high for all housing, including rentals. Without these "tax benefits" (subsidies) for homeownership, prices of all housing would fall dramatically, including rentals.

Homeowners gain not only by subsidies for their homes but also by artificially higher rents. And where does rental money go?--to homeowners. So current homeowners want these artificial price supports (for their homes and for rents) to be continued.

Subsidizing homeowners also means less money for education, infrastructure, fire departments, law enforcement, and important social programs--including programs for people who have been made homeless by the unaffordable housing prices created by these artificial price supports.

By 1994, those subsidies for homeownership had reached $ 90 billion a year.
By 2012, subsidies for homeownership reached $ 175 billion per year.
By 2016, subsidies for homeownership reached $ 195,000,000,000--more than doubling since 1994.

Homeowners argue they pay more "aggregated" taxes than renters, and therefore deserve their "tax break" for homeownership. By that logic, we should give a $ 195 billion annual subsidy to men because men pay more taxes than women. Such a subsidy for men would require raising women's taxes, to cover the revenue shortfall of men deducting $ 195 billion from their taxes each year.

The massive subsidization of homeownership is paid for by renters--in renters' Federal taxes and in higher rents. Programs to help more people become homeowners such as Habitat For Homeowners (which is run by homeowners and misnamed "Habitat For Humanity") guarantee majority political power for homeowners, hence continued subsidies for homeowners, hence higher rents and poverty for renters. And increasing homeownership decreases the supply of rental housing-- another major cause of higher rental prices.

Homeowners take advantage of renters by six mechanisms:
(1) by decreasing the availability of rental units
(2) by granting themselves massive subsidies
(3) by maintaining monopoly political power
(4) by shifting taxes onto renters
(5) by rental income to homeowners
(6) by mandatory rental agreements which abrogate privacy and confidentiality of renters' personal information.

How do you homeowners excuse your thievery against renters?--by defining renters as being less "respectable" than homeowners. Thereby you say you are more deserving of subsidies, which you know impoverishes renters. Subsidies are paid for by those who don't have them. You homeowners use government to enrich yourselves at the expense of renters, and then portray yourselves as respectable and responsible and progressive and liberal and socially conscious.

 
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