The Anglo-Saxon world’s attitude to home ownership is that owning your own roof, walls and fireplace is good for householders because it helps them accumulate wealth. It is good for the economy because it encourages people to save. And it is good for society because homeowners invest more in their neighborhoods, engage more in civic activities and encourage their children to do better at school than do renters. Home ownership, in short, benefits everyone—not just the homeowner—and the more there is of it, the better. Which is why it is usually encouraged by the government. In America, Ireland and Spain, homeowners can deduct mortgage-interest payments from taxable income.Yet the worldwide crash was bound up in this supposed miracle of social policy.
April 16, 2009, The Economist
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