Government Spending

How Housing Policy and Public Pensions are Bankrupting America: Anthony Randazzo and Adam Summers at FreedomFest


"The day that facts start winning in Washington is the day I don't have to do my job," says Reason Foundation's director of economic research Anthony Randazzo. Randazzo and policy analyst Adam Summers spoke at a panel at FreedomFest 2011 called "Shooting Elephants: Government Pensions & Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac."

At the heart of the current economic crisis is a housing meltdown that Randazzo says was underwritten by misguided government policies designed to increase home ownership rates. When you look at the data, he argues, there's little reason to believe that owning makes more sense than renting from a variety of perspectives. Yet the government's push to create an "ownership society" ended up first inflating an unsustainable market.

Summers focuses on the role that public pensions play in state and local budget shortfalls. Routinely based on "wishful thinking rather than what is reasonably foreseeable," Summers says public-sector wages and benefits need to brought into line with the private sector and that states such as Utah are providing a workable model of reform.

Shot by Jim Epstein and Zach Weissmueller and edited by Joshua Swain.

About 44 minutes long.

Go to for downloadable versions and subscribe to's YouTube Channel to receive automatic notifications when new material goes live. 


NEXT: Russia's Natural State of Corruption

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Would it kill Nick to show up to one of these events in a suit and tie? The jacket is great, but a little variety is called for now and then.

    1. Brace for the wrath of The Jacket!

  2. Fortunately, California doesn’t have a serious pension crisis, and the public here has embraced sensible approaches to its housing sector. Oh wait . . .

  3. The Jacket can wear what he wants AFAIAC.

    There is some terrific information here, but geez, does the delivery from the speakers have to be as dry as the desert? No wonder libertarians have been losing the battle for the minds of America. Again, thanks for the information….

  4. Freedomfest–what a stupid right-wing name. You libertoid dimwits have your heads so far up your fat asses, you can’t hear how moronic you sound.

    1. True. The word was ruined during the Bush years. Freedom medal, freedom fries, freedom tower, freedom cage…

      1. Nothing new under the sun. Those were recycled from the Wilson administration.

    2. As much as I’d like to while away the hours in my own anal cavity, it would mean missing out on your witty and insightful comments, Max.

  5. Randazzo can take one step closer to the razor in the morning.

    “Housing is a good investment. You have probably heard it said to you throughout your life that one of the best investments, one of the best things you can do with your resources is become a homeowner, is to buy a home. That’s actually not true.”

    That’s not necessarily true.

  6. I can’t listen for 44 min. I just can’t. Maybe you should publish some sort of written format of some sort.

    1. We can’t read for 44 min. We just can’t. Maybe you should publish bills in some sort of video format of some sort.

  7. I’m not getting all of the metro-politico hate on home ownership.

    The problem was the credit bubble pushing artificial amounts of money into housing, not who owned the assets. The bubble could have played out to the same extent with home ownership rates vs renter rates flipped.

    It comes across like sour grapes on the part of political douche-bags:
    Our efforts fucked up a market, ergo the market was fundamentally flawed to begin with.

    1. What’s your point?

      The CRA could have pushed money into “affordable” rental property for the dis advantaged with a similar bubble developing.

      The problem was politically directing credit and investment. Change the asset owners only changes some of the beneficiaries but not the underlying problem or the result.

      Furthermore, the fact that real estate is over priced now does not change the long term fact that it is the only inflation hedge for most people.

      But hipsters, keep renting forever. Just dont complain to me in twenty years when you’re paying more for a one bedroom apartment than I am for my McMansion.

  8. Willows make the trip to battle Wheatland Tuesday, and returns home Thursday to welcome Mercy.

  9. When the government says they want an “ownership society” what they really mean is that the government becomes the owner. This is not some principled support for property, it is simply vote buying.

    1. Exactly. “ownership society” was a euphemism for “debtorship society”.

  10. An New York Giants fan? Then our New York Giants shop can help you make your dream come true. Here you can find New York Giants jerseys you want with all kinds of styles and colors. It’s easy to get, just click your mouse. Here you can choose many types of Giants jerseys, such as authentic jerseys, premier jerseys, and replica jerseys, they are all of high quality. They are made of high-quality polyester two-way stretch pique fabric and has solid mesh inserts for ventilation. You can also see many jerseys of hot players such as Justin Tuck, Eli Manning and so on; you can choose what you like best from them. They are all free shipping and not tax.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.