Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Blogger Candidate Forum: Affordable Housing affordable-housing/492959/?utm_source=nl_link3_072716

Donald Trump on the campaign trail
Hello Everyone:

It is time for the weekly edition of Blogger Candidate Forum.  Before we get going on why Democrats and Republicans do not talk about affordable housing, yours truly would like to say a word or two about the latest development in the Trump-Pence campaign.

 Facing slumping numbers in swing states with less than three months before Election, Mr. Trump overhauled his campaign staff.  Mr. Trump added two officials to key positions to wright his floundering campaign and pivoting towards a scorched earth outsider determined to win.  Mr. Trump hired Breibart News executive and former investment banker, Steve Bannon to the position of campaign chief executive and promoted senior advisor and pollster Kellyanne Conway to campaign manager.  Campaign chief strategist Paul Manefort will retain his position as campaign chairman and recently dismissed head of Fox News Roger Ailes will advise Mr. Trump.  Can this shuffle save the this campaign or is it too little to late?  Only time will tell.  On to affordable housing.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake at the 2016 DNCC
Housing is not one of the most bold faced concerns of both the Democrats and Republicans.  The 2016 Republican Party platform includes a housing plank, i.e. "responsible homeownership and rental opportunities," something that did not get much airplay during the Republican National Committee Convention in Cleveland.  The Democrats did not give the subject a lot of attention at their convention in Philadelphia.  Kriston Capps, in his CityLab article "Why Democrats and Republicans Need to Talk About Affordable Housing," tells us, "No doubt, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Juli├ín Castro would have made housing a big deal, but the White House banned members of the cabinet from addressing the DNC.  Democratic VPOTUS-in-waiting Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) recently published an essay on his experience, as an attorney with Housing Opportunities Made Equal representing African Americans who discriminated against because of their race. (

Senator Kaine giving his acceptance speech at the DNCC
During his acceptance speech, the Gentleman from Virginia did not share his experience of representing a young African American woman who denied an apartment because of her race.  The Gentleman from Virginia had to cover national security, healthcare, the economy, and a number of other issues during his allotted him.

Neither major party were that anxious to place affordable housing on the front burner of their respective convention.  Mr. Capps writes, "This is a surprise in at least two respects: Democrats and Republicans broadly disagree about what to do about housing, but have policy solutions in mind that are close to their ideological solutions."  More to the point, Americans most definitely want hear about these solutions.

Public investment in affordable housing
Kriston Capps reports, "According to a recent national poll, more than half (59 percent) of all Americans list housing affordability as a top-tier issue."  Breaking this down in terms of demographics, housing affordability registers as higher concern for 73 percent of people 18-34.  The poll was conducted by Ipsos for the Enterprise Community Partner.  The poll found that "...71 percent of respondents wanted to see housing affordability as a 'core component' of the Republican and Democratic platforms."  Approximately one out five Americans considers the housing as important an issue as immigration, taxes, and entitlement reform.

This issue is more important to Democrats-i.e. "...71 percent of Democratic respondents emphasized housing affordability as a priority versus 44 percent of Republicans."  It is not as if Republicans do not care about affordable housing.  It is a situation of Democrats being more likely know someone having difficulty paying the rent or mortgage-women (51 percent as opposed to 43 percent of men) and respondents without college degrees (44 percent versus 40 percent of those with college degrees).  Thus, it is logical that Democrats would dedicate more airtime to housing.

Brooklyn affordable housing project
Brooklyn, New York
Interestingly, Kriston Capps believes that it makes just as much sense for the Republicans to take up the cause.  He reasons, "Among issues dividing the left and right, housing affordability is relatively neutral-it's not a moral third rail anyway."  Wishful thinking on his part considering that neither party can even agree on what brand of bottled water to put on the table.  Further, he speculates that the Red Team could draw blue-collar voters, the very kind that Donald Trump hopes to attract from the Blue Team.  In fact, Mr. Capps believes that if the Republicans offered a good solution for affordable housing, it might help them counter the accusation that Mr. Trump rooted for the housing market implosion in 2007/

The problem, one of many for the Red Team, is that Mr. Trump DID cheer for the housing crash and did build his real estate empire on discriminatory housing practices.  Yet, the Republican Party 2016 platform believes that the solution to housing affordability is " to strip away regulations on building, scale back Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and shrink the role Federal Housing in guaranteeing mortgages.  Affirmative Furthering Fair Housing earns special ire in the GOP ire."

OOR 2016 Housing wage map
The Democratic Party platform has a completely different approach to ending the affordability crisis.  Their remedy plans to increase incentives to build more housing and affordable housing, increasing funding for the National Housing Trust Fund, enhance the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, and defend the work of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in preventing predatory lending.

The big surprises all around:  The Red Team wants to restrict the federal government regulatory agency, designed to give the housing market in providing housing (except with respect to local zoning codes, something the GOP are keen to protect).  The Blue Team does not assign any role for the market at all in growing housing and make some improbable claims-"It would take a huge expansion of the modest National Housing Trust Fund to 'create millions of good-paying jobs in the process.'"

Be that as it may, both the Democrats and Republicans stand by their proposals and genuinely believe that their solutions will alleviate a major concern for voters, the party standard bearers should pay attention to this.  Events like the Terwilliger Foundation's  #MakeHousingGreatAgain benefit during the RNC Convention did not make the grade.

Kriston Capps cites one part of Democratic Party platform as being particularly noteworthy for the future,

Over the nest decade, most new households will be formed by families in communities of color, which typically have less generational wealth and fewer resources to put toward a down payment.

This is fact and making sure that these communities have equal access to the housing market over the next decades, something critical to the future of the nation's economy.  In short, both the Democrats and Republicans cannot afford to ignore this issue.

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