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Why push homeownership?

August 17, 2009 |  8:00 am

University of Pennsylvania historian Thomas J. Sugrue pointedly asks that question in a Wall Street Journal essay today.  Sugrue notes that before 1940 the majority of Americans were renters and argues that the view of a house as an investment vehicle is misguided.

He says the federal government guided much of the post-World War II rise of the construction and real estate industries and questions the viability of such subsidies going forward.

"Home should be a place to build a household and a life, a respite from the heartless world, not a pot of gold," he concludes.

-- Peter Y. Hong