Chris Lau - Seeking Alpha

Monday, March 23, 2009

On Solving the Housing Crisis

In this week's newsletter of Front Line Thoughts, Mauldin discusses Gary Shilling and Richard LeFrak's solution to the housing problem.

In a nutshell, they propose that the U.S. give foreigners who will come to the US and buy a home resident status (green cards).

Consequence if this is Not Done:

"We believe that if nothing is done to eliminate surplus housing, prices will fall another 20% between now and the end of 2010 for a total peak-to-trough decline of 37%

It would take a little over $1 trillion to reduce their mortgages to the value of their houses, compared to $449 billion for the almost 14 million currently underwater."

Why the Current Solution to the Crisis is Not Working:

Lowering rates, as is being discussed in various circles, will help homeowners who can make their payments, but it does nothing to really bite into excessive inventory.

America -- the US -- is not so much a country as it is an idea, the idea that anyone, regardless of race or religion or gender, can come here and with hard work and determination make their own way. Some end up owning the local deli, and some end up founding Google. Some 25% of Silicon Valley start-ups, I am told, are by immigrants, creating jobs at the bleeding edge of technology. They see the US as a land of opportunity. That is why so many want to come and that is why we can attract a new generation of affluent, self-reliant immigrants who can help us solve a problem that we created.

I can see no downside to changing our immigration policy for a few years. We solve the housing crisis, stabilize home values, brings hundreds of billions in stimulus to the US, and with no taxpayer outlay. For a short time, we substitute one class of immigrant for another, to solve a serious crisis. It is not a matter of immigrants or no immigrants, just which immigrants

So which do you want? 10% unemployment and a decade of lower home values and increasing foreclosures, with a slow, Muddle Through, jobless recovery, or a stable housing market and home construction back to trend?

If you agree with me, I suggest you contact your Congressman. You can go to http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/ (selected at random from many such sites) and type in your address and get the name of your congressperson and senators. Just tell them you like this idea, and cut and paste the link where you read this into the letter. And tell them to get into gear! I would like to point out that this proposal is not Republican or Democrat, it is just common sense. I hope we can get broad bipartisan support.



The link to the Wall Street Journal editorial is: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123725421857750565.html

The links to the white papers are:

http://www.frontlinethoughts.com/pdf/Housing_Whitepaper_1.pdf

http://www.frontlinethoughts.com/pdf/Housing_Whitepaper_2.pdf

Video Links:

Links to the Yahoo segments:

D.C. to America: You Can't Handle the Truth
http://bit.ly/10rUiF

Plan to Solve Crisis: Let Immigrants Buy Houses
http://bit.ly/W0XLq

Fed Strategy: Spread Economic Pain Over Multiple Years
http://bit.ly/wgGjA

John Mauldin, Best-Selling author and recognized financial expert, is also editor of the free Thoughts From the Frontline that goes to over 1 million readers each week. For more information on John or his FREE weekly economic letter go to: http://www.frontlinethoughts.com/learnmore


Full Article Here: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/03/solving-the-housing-crisis/

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