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Financial Shock (Updated Edition): Global Panic and Government Bailouts—How We Got Here and What Must Be Done to Fix It by Mark Zandi

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3. Everyone Should Own a Home

The roots of the subprime financial shock begin in the American psyche and run through the typical household’s balance sheet. Most of us define financial success by the size and quality of our home. The pecuniary and psychological benefits we attach to home ownership are unique; no other country values hearth and home more highly. Most of us spend far more on housing than we do on anything else, and American wealth is critically linked to the home—a house is the typical family’s largest asset, and the mortgage is the largest liability.

Most economic policies since the Great Depression have been designed to help people acquire homes. Nothing receives more tax breaks than a house, from the ability to deduct mortgage ...

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