Rhode Island senator Jack Reed (D) believes that the key to helping the housing market is for the U.S. government to become a landlord. For months now, Reed has been calling on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to rent out their massive, 250,000-strong inventory of foreclosed homes in order to “shrink the inventory of government-owned homes” and hopefully, in the process, diminish the glut of foreclosures on the market as well. Now, Reed finally has some real support in the form of a call to action from the White House. The Obama administration has announced that the government-controlled GSEs should partner with private investors in order to make Reed’s proposed rental program a reality.
Currently, the president has simply said that the administration is “soliciting ideas” on how to put Reid’s concept into action. The end goal is to “turn the federal government’s inventory of foreclosed houses into rental properties that could be managed by private enterprises or sold in bulk”. Previously, the idea of a landlord-government has been met with strong resistance. Do you think that this new addition to the proposal – that the government sell the rentals off – makes it more appealing? Do you trust the government to really stay out of the landlording business and let private investors in on the action?
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