Economics

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

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"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.

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Held every July in Las Vegas, FreedomFest is an annual gathering of about 2,000 free-market and libertarian enthusiasts. This year's speakers included Reason's Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch, Sen. Rand Paul, Judge Andrew Napolitano, and scores of others. Reason.tv conducted interviews with more than two dozen speakers, which we'll be releasing over the next several weeks. Our growing playlist can be watched online here.