Felix Salmon really hates entertainer/economist/half-informed-pontificator Ben Stein’s column in the Sunday New York Times business section (actually, I suspect that there’s a love/hate thing going on there, but whatever). This Sunday, Stein wrote:
Owning your own home is generally considered the bedrock of the American dream, so this is a good thing, both socially and individually. Walking into your own home, seeing your own dogs waiting for you there, is a major blessing.
To which Felix responds:
I just came back from Germany, where millions of people regularly walk into their homes and find their own dogs waiting for you there. In Germany, as in the US, this is a major blessing. But Ben Stein seems to think that this major blessing is impossible without homeownership, which is ridiculous. A dog neither knows nor cares whether a home is owned or rented. At the moment, homes still cost more to buy than to rent. Which means that a renter has more money to spend on himself, and his dog, than does an owner, even if the owner is a prime borrower.
This does miss the crucial point that renters are more likely to face no-pets rules than owners are (although many Manhattan co-op buildings don’t allow dogs either). But maybe Barney Frank and Chris Dodd can address that in their planned housing legislation.