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My Two Cents

The Politics of the Housing Market

Chris Farrell Aug 16, 2007

Mike Mandel of Business Week has a good post on the political imoplications of the housing market bust:

Is the 2008 Election Over?
Back in early 2006, I wrote

When the housing boom is over, the politics will begin…Democratic politicians fail to understand that their economic attacks on the Bush Administration can’t really take hold until the housing market goes south. Rising home prices are an engine of prosperity for the typical American family. Until that engine goes in reverse — which may be starting to happen — doom-and-gloom politics won’t really resonate….
Democrats have to be ready with their own package of reforms to cushion the housing downturn, even if the measures add to the budget deficit. There’s no excuse for not having made plans in advance.

Well, that time has come. It will be much easier for the Democratic nominee—whomever he/she is—to make the case that the economy is heading in the wrong direction if the housing market is in crisis.

That point is now being made by others. A Boston Globe article

The more the crisis ripples through the economy, the more it will help Democrats make the case that Republican economic policies have spurned middle- and lower-income families, some campaign watchers said.

“It’s an enormous opportunity for the Democrats to criticize the failures of the Bush administration, the fallout we are seeing from laissez-faire economic policies,” Alan I. Abramowitz, a political scientist at Emory University, said yesterday.

But here is the real wild card: The unemployment rate.

And if the unemployment rate starts to rise? Then the Republicans might as well kiss the White House good-bye.

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