Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is questioning whether federal policy unfairly favors homeowners over renters.
According to a MarketWatch report
, Paulson offered comments during a conference sponsored by The Brookings Institution marking the tenth anniversary of the Great Recession; Paulson was Treasury Secretary during President George W. Bush’s administration. “Renters are disadvantaged relative to homeowners,” said Paulson. “All of the benefits are going to homeowners. It has gone too far.”
Although Paulson did not offer specific examples of the benefits that homeowners can access, he openly questioned whether the concept of homeownership has changed for the better.
“The American Dream sort of changed over time,” he stated. “I remember thinking the American Dream was you could come to this country and, based upon your hard work and abilities, you could achieve great success. Suddenly, the American Dream became about homeownership and homes morphed from becoming shelter to becoming an investment vehicle. What’s going to be done to change it?”
Also addressing the conference was Michael Barr, a former Treasury staffer and now a professor of public policy at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Barr noted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are observing their tenth year in federal conservatorship, and he predicted their status is not changing in the near future.
“There is no political will to address them,” he observed. “I think the most likely outcome is that they will still be in conservatorship when we next have a conference on the financial crisis.”