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NY Times Article Exposes Influence of Housing Lobby in Making Tax Policy

1 min readBy: Gerald Prante

Let’s be straight. When you are going to let the National Association of Home Builders and the National Association of Realtors® tell you what is good taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. policy, you might as well throw out everything you ever learned in ECON 101 or basic public finance. They aren’t trying to tell you what is good tax policy for the nation. They are trying to tell you what is good tax policy for themselves. And despite what you may hear, policies that are good for housing are not necessarily good for the nation.

An article in today’s New York Times details the scary amount of influence that the lobbies in these industries have, as well as how they also try to manipulate public opinion on issues relating to housing tax policy. The Realtors® did the latter in 2005 with their “the world is coming to an end” scare tactics about the recommendations made by the President’s Tax Reform Panel.

As many bloggers covering the housing bubble have pointed out, the spokespersons for these organizations are paid shills and should not be trusted by those on Capitol Hill or by those in the media.

One final note: It’s funny that the website of NAR simultaneously says that an upturn in the housing market is expected in the second half of 2008 but that we also need a tax credit for housing to spur the market.