Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.'s Plan to Use Government Bonds to Help First-Time Home Buyers
Democratic presidential contender Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. said this weekend that the government should assist first-time home buyers by offering them discounted 3 percent mortgages, financed by selling tax-free U.S. Treasury bonds.
“I’m gonna give everybody a ‘rich uncle’ — it’s gonna be Uncle Sam,” he said. “I’m going to have Uncle Sam cosign those mortgages. This new class of mortgages is going to be for single-home buyers in those communities who are going to live and work there.”
The proposal is similar to one floated by the late conservative Harvard economist Martin Feldstein, who wrote in June 2008 that the U.S. could avoid turning the subprime mortgage crisis into a full-blown financial crisis by using the government to offer partial financing to homeowners whose mortgages were more expensive than the value of their homes. The suggestion was not taken up; three months later, Lehman Brothers failed and the market crashed.
Kennedy described the decline of homeownership among young Americans as a problem not just for the economy, but also for American democracy, which has historically relied on a large and growing middle class for stability.
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