I have a story up on Time.com about why I don’t think the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit should be extended. I was asked to write the story as an opinion piece, which is why it reads like an opinion piece—even though the headline might lead you to believe you’ll be getting some good old-fashioned on-the-one-hand/on-the-other-hand journalism.
You can read the full piece here, but basically my argument boils down to three things: 1) We’re past the point of economic crisis control; 2) There are likely unsavory political motives around the push to extend the credit; 3) The tax credit cost a lot of money for not all that much pay-off; 4) The longer we pay people to buy houses, the less chance there is of ever taking such a program away.
In doing my research, I came across this Roger Lowenstein article from 2006. In it, he explains the history—and illogic—of another way we try to get people to buy houses: the mortgage-interest tax deduction. It’s pretty fantastic. I highly suggest reading it.