It’s true that you can’t blame the President for the housing crisis, or the recession as a whole. He wasn’t in charge when those things happened. But the promises of President Obama to his youngest voters about fixing the economy are ringing empty 6 years later. Millennials still can’t afford a mortgage and feel miles behind where their Baby Boomer parents were at their age.
While the economy has bounced back quite a bit from 2008, the damage still lingers for Americans in their twenties. Lack of job stability, student loans, and debt from the leaner years still haunt the younger generation. Two to three years of severe under and unemployment haven’t been wiped away. Even with a cheap mortgage, a house is often an impossible dream. Most millennials don’t even have a genuine savings account so a down payment of ten or twenty thousand is completely out of the question. While the economic outlook may have improved for our parents, our generation has trouble landing entry-jobs, or finding any position with a little job security. As far as employment goes, none of the economic plans the White House pushed have changed the situation for us.
Even without the job problems, President Obama’s plan to fix the real estate market didn’t help Millennials in the long run. Obama offered as part of his stimulus package a first-time home buyer housing credit of up to $8000. Many people (2.3 million) took advantage of this, at the cost of $16.2 billion to the government. Instead of fixing the problem, the credit merely delayed inflation, leaving home buyers with a house worth less and a bigger problem for future buyers dealing with the fallout. This small short term credit continued to cause a ripple effect in the market, helping a few, but ultimately extending the crisis with the same government interventionism that prevents a true capitalist market to appear. It should also be noted that specific markets do have some cheap homes within the price range of some young professionals, unfortunately, those locations often don’t match the places young people might have found a good job (for example, cheap real estate in Detroit doesn’t help the successful millennial living in DC or New York City).
Even after the stimulus and restructuring attempts, home-ownership hit an all-time low in 2013. Instead of allowing home prices to naturally stabilize, the government just pushed more home buyers into places they could not afford—which sounds suspiciously like how we got stuck in this problem in the first place. And yet, the President is reconsidering this very option, advising banks to provide loans for housing to people who cannot afford it. This kind of lending sparked a downward spiral for the whole country, impacting the lives and plans of an entire generation. And yet, for a short term fix, Obama wants to try the exact same methods and scar our future generations in the same way.
Millennials have been forced to put their dreams on hold, particular home ownership. We learned hard lessons about the true worth of a dollar and how to exercise delayed gratification. Isn’t it time our President learned the same tough lesson?