Americans are by now broadly aware of the threat posed by Chinese-owned TikTok, including its threat…
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TikTok’s Latest Assault: Ripping Off American Artists and Songwriters

Americans are by now broadly aware of the threat posed by Chinese-owned TikTok, including its threat to U.S. national security.

In recent days, we’ve witnessed in real time another emerging TikTok threat reaching the headlines:  The threat it poses to intellectual property protections, which undergird America’s status as the most artistically and musically productive and influential nation in human history.

Universal Music Group, however, has decided to stand up and fight back by removing its catalog of songs – including artists like Taylor Swift, Drake and Billie Eilish – from TikTok.

Tone-Deaf TikTok has built its aggressive worldwide empire largely on the backs of music created by American artists, as even its corporate leadership openly admits.  As TikTok’s very own…[more]

February 08, 2024 • 12:44 PM

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Biden's Killing the American Dream of Homeownership Print
By Stephen Moore
Tuesday, September 05 2023
If you want to buy a $500,000 home today, which is close to the median price in many desirable locations, your total interest payments will be at least $800 more per month. That means over three decades of payments totaling at least $250,000.

In boasting about Bidenomics two weeks ago in Milwaukee, President Joe Biden declared that his policies are "restoring the American dream." Then he went into his creepy whispering mode and assured us "it's working."

Huh?

Isn't a big aspiration of the American dream owning a home? Biden keeps making first-time homeownership harder for young families for two reasons. One is that the overall jump in inflation and the slower increase in wages and salaries means that homes are more expensive. High home prices benefit those who already own their homes, but much of the increased value is due to general inflation, which reached a high of 9% last year and hurts everyone. 

A bigger killer for first-time homebuyers has been the steady rise in mortgage rates under Biden. When he came into office, the mortgage rate was 2.9% nationally. Now it is 7.1%, thanks in no small part to the Federal Reserve's 11 interest rate increases prompted by the $6 trillion Biden spending and borrowing spree in 2021 and 2022. 

So now, according to the mortgage company Redfin, just the increase in interest rates on a 30-year mortgage from 5% to 7% means that a middle-income family that could once afford a median-value home of $500,000 can only afford a home worth $429,000. Great, spend more and you get less house. Or instead of a single-family home, you can only afford a three-room condo or a townhouse. If we compare the rates today versus when Donald Trump was president, the typical homebuyer can only afford a house with a price tag more than $100,000 less than three years ago. 

What a deal? Maybe this is one reason the size of a new home is smaller than in the past. 

Here's another way to think about the damage done by Biden policies: If you want to buy a $500,000 home today, which is close to the median price in many desirable locations, your total interest payments will be at least $800 more per month. That means over three decades of payments totaling at least $250,000.

Of course, rents are up nearly 20% as well, so for many 20-somethings, this means sleeping in the parents' basement. 

Biden talks a lot about bridging gaps between rich and poor and blacks and whites. But the group that is most handicapped by these interest rate shocks is minorities. Black homeownership is still less than 50% for black households. The Washington Post calls this "heartbreaking," but they blame racism, not bad government policies. 

There's one other impediment to homeownership for Generation X and millennials. Many 30- and 40-something's are hamstrung by their existing and expanding debt. Credit card debt is now $1.03 trillion. Half of all families are expected to have problems paying off this debt each month. Delinquencies are rising, which can mean penalty rates of 20% to 25%.

So, if families can't afford their existing debt, how will they get a bank to approve a $400,000 or more mortgage loan? 

An even bigger question is how in the world can Biden call his economic policies a success? 

Perhaps Biden has a secret plan to "forgive" trillions of dollars of mortgage debt, as he has already attempted to do with student loans. But that just shifts the debt burden to taxpayers  hardly a solution. 

The Biden administration's assault on homeownership isn't just harmful to the families that are being priced out of the market. It's bad for communities and cities around the country. When families become homeowners and set roots in a town, they are much more prone to care about not just improving their own house and maintaining the upkeep and mowing the lawn and trimming the hedges, but it gives them a stake in the schools and children in the neighborhood and the quality of the public services. In other words, homeownership gives Americans a sense of Tocquevillian civic pride. 

Crime is lower, neighbors are friendlier and everyone's property values rise when they live in a community of owners, not renters. 

There is one reason to feel today's downward spiral can be reversed. Back in 1980 when Jimmy Carter was president, mortgage rates weren't 7%; they reached above 17%. Voters rebelled against the economic mayhem and chased Carter out of office. Ronald Reagan came into the White House, and with wiser economic fiscal policies, mortgage rates quickly fell in half and then lower still. It can happen again.


Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a chief economist at FreedomWorks. He is the co-author of the "Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive Our Economy."

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Notable Quote   
 
"Mitch McConnell changed the direction of the world. He stopped the destruction of the Republican Party by opposing, delaying and weakening and ultimately defeating the drive for 'campaign finance reform' that would have left union bosses as the sole power in America. Senator McConnell herorically sculpted the present Supreme Court and saved the second amendment, religious liberty and free speech.…[more]
 
 
— Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform
 
Liberty Poll   

Assuming that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., is able to get on most 2024 ballots as a third-party or independent candidate for President, from which major party candidate do you believe he will take the most votes?