Episode

3/8 America’s Housing Scam w/ Andrew Ross

March 8, 2022

Emma hosts Andrew Ross, professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University, to discuss his recent book Sunbelt Blues: The Failure of American Housing, on the continued financialization of the housing market in the wake of the 2008 recession as seen through myriad communities throughout the sunbelt. They begin by situating Professor Ross’ research within the sunbelt region, moving back two decades to the birth of Disney’s Celebration Village, where he lived as he researched the fledgling years of the town, before looking at the rapid global expansion of the affordable housing crisis, and the focus of the coverage centering on urban areas, despite the expansive effect of the crisis on rural and suburban areas. Professor Ross explores how the sharpest poverty increase has been in areas like Celebration in the Sunbelt, as he explores the sale of the town to a private equity firm in 2004 as an early example of what we saw in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis: venture capitalists swooping in and purchasing homes across the US aiming to jack up the rent, refinance them, and generally bleed them, and their communities, dry. He and Emma then look to the effects of this rampant exploitation, as Prof. Ross dives into the flood into local motels and encampments as the levels of poverty grew in this relatively well-off village, eventually making the high school in Celebration the largest enrolled of homeless students. They explore the lower requirements of motels and how this translates into a lack of tenants’ rights, especially with the eviction moratoria of the pandemic, before looking to how the immediate need for money to pay for housing pushes people into the more precarious informal economy. They wrap up by taking on the complete transformation of America into a full-on rentership society, as Black homeownership has reached a lower rate than before the Fair Housing Act of 1968, and a complete lack of federal investment in affordable housing since before the Reagan years, while wage stagnation and the Wall St-focused response to the 2008 recession reinforced this, before they walk through the genuinely obvious solution of mass investment in public and full-spectrum social housing policy. Emma also covers Mitch McConnell running on the child poverty platform, and Democrats’ inability to capitalize on the disgusting policies of their opponents.

And in the Fun Half: Emma is joined by Nomiki Konst as they celebrate International Women’s Day, Nomiki dives into Russia invading Ukraine the day she arrived in the Bay of Pigs, and they take on Fox’s Oil Tycoon coverage and their deep desire to serve the whims of tyrants and dictators. Wren from Oregon calls in to discuss Biden’s violent inaction in refusing to federally take on Texas’ family criminalization and separation tactics against trans kids, and Emma and Nomiki discuss Florida passing the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Louie from Palm Springs expands on Florida’s insane upper-class housing projects, and Kowalski wraps up with a quick discussion on the recent IPCC report. Tulsi Gabbard ties the invasion of Ukraine back to CRT and queer people in the US, plus, your calls and IMs!

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