Statement on Housing

We are economists who think that the economy should serve people, the planet and the future.

Four million families have lost their homes to foreclosure in the Great Recession. Today another four million or more face the same fate. This devastation was triggered by unscrupulous financiers and exacerbated by government policies that put banker bonuses ahead of homeowner solvency.

Some blame families for foolishly pursuing the American Dream of homeownership.  They think government assistance for banks is OK, but homeowners should be left to take “free-market” medicine.

Some claim that the solution for the housing crisis is to extend and pretend, to perpetuate make-believe values on bank balance sheets rather than to modify principal based on real housing prices. These policies may be a dream for bankers, but they’re a nightmare for homeowners.

We oppose treating the nation’s housing as a bundle of assets to be sliced, diced, flipped, and bailed out in pursuit of inflated profits and bonuses.

We call for reality-based, ethically grounded housing policies that restore stability to families and sanity to markets.

We call for mandatory partial reductions of mortgage principal whenever this can keep a family in its home. We call for America’s best run housing non-profits to be paid to provide the counsel required to determine when such modifications will work. We call for civil and, when necessary, criminal sanctions on banks and loan-servicing companies whose employees intentionally obstruct implementation of mandated loan modifications.

We call for amending bankruptcy laws to restore pre-2005 rules that protected families and communities from bank depredations.

We call for immediate return to the rule of law by requiring those who seek to foreclose to demonstrate they have the proper title and rights to do so – with stiff legal penalties if they ignore the law.

In response to recent moves by the top 1% to buy distressed housing and convert it to rental stock as absentee landlords, we call for local, state and national standards to protect families from predatory rental practices.

We extend our support to all who are working in the private, non-profit, and public sectors to promote access to affordable and stable housing as a human right of families and an asset for communities.


Gar Alperovitz / University of Maryland College Park

James K. Boyce / University of Massachusetts Amherst

Omar S. Dahi / Hampshire College

George DeMartino / University of Denver

Gerald Epstein / University of Massachusetts Amherst

Gerald Friedman / University of Massachusetts Amherst

Eban Goodstein / Bard College

Juliet Schor / Boston College

Douglas Smith / Econ4

Nurul Aman / University of Massachusetts Boston

Hannah Appel / University of California Berkeley

Michael Ash / University of Massachusetts Amherst

Lee Badgett / University of Massachusetts Amherst

Ron Baiman / Center for Tax and Budget Accountability

Scott Baker / Common Ground – NYC

Erdogan Bakir / Bucknell University

Benjamin Balak / Rollins College

Radhika Balakrishnan / Rutgers University

Fabian Balardini / Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY)

Ahmet Baytas / Montclair State University

Marc Bilodeau / Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis

Cyrus Bina / University of Minnesota

Peter C. Bloch / University of Wisconsin-Madison

Elissa Braunstein / Colorado State University

Antonio Callari / Franklin and Marshall College

Martha Campbell / SUNY Potsdam

Jessica Carrick-Hagenbarth / University of Massachusetts Amherst

Kimberly Christensen / Sarah Lawrence College

Jennifer Cohen / Whitman College

J. Kevin Crocker / University of Massachusetts Amherst

James Crotty / University of Massachusetts Amherst

Anita Dancs / Western New England University

Susan M. Davis / Buffalo State College

Carmen Diana Deere / University of Florida

Geert Dhondt / John Jay College, City University of New York

P.K. Dollar / Gem Communications

Laura Dresser / Center on Wisconsin Strategy

Amitava Krishna Dutt / University of Notre Dame

Justin A. Elardo / Portland Community College

Bilge Erten / United Nations, DESA

Joshua Farley / University of Vermont

Susan Feiner / University of Southern Maine

Kade Finnoff / University of Massachusetts Boston

Heidi Garrett-Peltier / University of Massachusetts Amherst

Barbara Garson / Author “Down the Up Escalator: How the 99% live in the Great Recession”

Armagan Gezici / Keene State College

David Gold / The New School

Jonathan P. Goldstein / Bowdoin College

Doug Henwood / Left Business Observer, “Behind the News”

Wolfgang Hoeschele / Truman State University

Sue Holmberg / The Roosevelt Institute

Julio Huato / St. Francis College

Emily Kawano / Center for Popular Economics

Mary C. King / Portland State University

Mark Klinedinst / University of Southern Mississippi

Tim Koechlin / Vassar College

Kazim Konyar / California State University, San Bernardino

Philip Kozel / Rollins College

David Laibman / City University of New York

June Lapidus / Roosevelt University

Joelle J. Leclaire / Buffalo State College, SUNY

Frederic Lee / University of Missouri Kansas City

Fernando Leiva / University at Albany (SUNY)

Charles Levenstein / University of Massachusetts Lowell

Margaret Levenstein / University of Michigan Ann Arbor

Patricia J. Lindsey / Retired

Sean MacDonald / New York City College of Technology, City University of New York

Arthur MacEwan / University of Massachusetts Boston

Stephanie Martin / Allegheny College

Peter Hans Matthews / Middlebury College

Elaine McCrate / University of Vermont

Michael Meeropol / John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY)

Philip Mellizo / The College of Wooster

John D. Messier / University of Maine Farmington

Peter B. Meyer / University of Louisville, The E.P. Systems Group, Inc.

John Miller / Wheaton College

Fred Moseley / Mount Holyoke College

Tracy Mott / University of Denver

Ellen Mutari / The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

Julie Nelson / University of Massachusetts Boston

Reynold F. Nesiba / Augustana College–Sioux Falls

Eric Nilsson / California State University San Bernardino

Jennifer Olmsted / Drew University

Shaianne Osterreich / Ithaca College

Aaron Pacitti / Siena College

Karl Petrick / Western New England University

Robert Pollin / University of Massachusetts Amherst

Thomas Michael Power / University of Montana

Paddy Quick / St. Francis College

Stephen Resnick / University of Massachusetts Amherst

Meenakshi Rishi / Seattle University

Leopoldo Rodriguez / Portland State University

Frank Roosevelt / Metropolitan College of New York

Nancy E. Rose / California State University San Bernardino

Luis D. Rosero / Fitchburg State University

Blair Sandler / San Francisco

Helen Scharber / Hampshire College

Ted P. Schmidt / SUNY Buffalo State

Markus P. A. Schneider / University of Denver

Eric A. Schutz / Rollins College

Barry Shelley / Brandeis University

Thomas Simmons / Greenfield Community College

Bryan Snyder / Bentley University

Peter Spiegler / University of Massachusetts Boston

Howard Stein / University of Michigan Ann Arbor

Masao Suzuki / Skyline College

Frank Thompson / University of Michigan Ann Arbor

Renee Toback / URPE

Zdravka Todorova / Wright State University

Mariano Torras / Adelphi University

Mayo Toruño / California State University San Bernardino

A. Dale Tussing / Syracuse University

Valerie Voorheis / University of Massachusetts Amherst and Marlboro College Graduate Center

Mwangi wa Gĩthĩnji / University of Massachusetts Amherst

James Wagner / John Burrough Schools, Webster University

Scott A. Weir / Wake Technical Community College

Thomas E. Weisskopf / University of Michigan

Maggie Winslow / University of San Francisco

Yavuz Yaşar / University of Denver

Lyuba Zarsky / Monterey Institute of International Studies

Barbara Zoloth / Retired




“four million families have lost their homes”: New York Times 2012.

“another four million or more face the same fate”: McBride 2012.

“mandatory partial reductions of mortgage principal”: see, for example, Ulam 2011.

“bankruptcy laws to restore pre-2005 rules that protected families and communities”: Coco 2012.