When it comes to the housing market and the real estate industry, few things could be more clear – the two are among the most important contributors to economic growth.
Indeed, the amount of economic activity involved in a single housing transaction – from the agents, to the movers, to the attorneys, to the appraisers, to the builders – is staggering, and yet, despite its importance in the economic recovery, housing is nowhere to be seen on the presidential campaign trail from either of the major candidates.
Dude, Where’s My Housing?
It was the same situation last fall during the Republican primaries. As we reported then, it seemed as if there was a gag order on housing, with none of the candidates touching the topic, and now, neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney have any housing-related policies on their campaign websites:
- President Obama’s site, though filled with information about jobs, taxes and education (three issues, coincidentally, that are directly related to housing), makes no mention of housing or real estate.
- Mitt Romney’s site is equally evasive of the issue, though the word “housing” does appear twice in his 153-page “Believe in America” e-booklet on jobs and economic growth; however, both times (pages 10 and 14, if you want to check!) the word is part of “housing bubble.”
- Ironically, the one public comment Mitt Romney has made about housing policy inspired romneyhousingplan.com/, a DNC-funded site solely devoted to negatively portraying that quotation as a bad thing for housing.
Cost of Political Campaign’s Silence
Naturally, numerous media outlets have picked up on the candidates’ silence on housing:
- A strongly-worded Bloomberg piece recently took the candidates to task for their avoidance of housing, stating it “verges on political malpractice. Voters deserve a substantive conversation about whether housing can be revived, to what extent mortgage credit should be restored and what, if anything, the government can do to achieve these goals.”
- Another article, on the progressive politics website The Huffington Post, took a similarly voter-centric view on housing, pointing out that by recent projections, 15 million homeowners are still underwater on their mortgages – meaning, 15 million voters could be swayed by a bold housing policy from one of the candidates.
Give us your take. Are the candidates missing a golden opportunity to appeal to an untapped reserve of voters? Or are other issues more pressing?