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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press NPR Still Has Not Noticed the Housing Bubble

NPR Still Has Not Noticed the Housing Bubble

Monday, 02 August 2010 05:11

Morning Edition told listeners that the shadow inventory of foreclosed homes will keep the housing market depressed for several years to come. Actually house prices are not depressed. House prices are still 15-20 percent above their trend levels. The housing market will not be back to normal until house prices fall back to a more sustainable level.

This is really getting annoying. NPR completely missed the housing bubble. During its run-up they relied almost exclusively on economists who did not have a clue, many of whom were on the industry payroll. Given the enormous damage that has been done to the country by the collapse of this bubble, can't NPR make a point even now of finding someone who knows something about the housing market? Isn't that what their reporters are paid for?

Comments (19)Add Comment
written by izzatzo, August 02, 2010 6:53
What oil spill? No oil is visible on the ocean surface, so it must have been absorbed harmlesssly by the natural forces of mother nature, the same way the economy absorbs housing bubbles. Not to worry, drilling rates and house prices will bounce back from depressed levels in no time.

Next up, our report on why employment levels are not depressed, but rather a structural problem from the supply side.
Keep hammering away
written by Sharl, August 02, 2010 6:59
Frustrating and annoying as it is, please keep hammering away, Mr. Baker. You will (I hope) eventually punch a hole in NPR's Mighty Shield of (Willing?*) Self-Delusion. FWIW, I linked to your post on my Twitter feed, so my vast army of 100+ followers** might see this.

Someone brought up the topic of possible undue influence of PBS programming on Diane Rehm's (sp?) show last week. She let him finish, but quickly manned the defensive ramparts in response. I assume there are others at PBS/NPR don't give a rat's patoot. If possible, you might want to try targeting specific on-air personalities who are sensitive about this sort of thing.

*Famous Upton Sinclair statement may apply:
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it." [1]

**After subtraction of spam followers, maybe about 40 followers, give-or-take (yay).

[1.] From about 1935; http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Upton_Sinclair
written by billy, August 02, 2010 7:06
and now some upbeat jazz to take us into our next happy little segment - dee dee t dee do do
written by bakho, August 02, 2010 7:26
They did mention that there was a housing bubble today. Now if npr could only understand what that means and that some houses are still over priced.

I suspect the problem is with the writer(s) who don't know much. In this age of specialization, there are people who write without understanding what it is they are writing.
Quick Correction
written by floccina, August 02, 2010 9:56
I wonder if it is your position that rather than attempt to keep prices up (like with the subsidy to new home buyers) the Fed Gov. should hope for a quick correction back to trend.
written by yuan, August 02, 2010 2:34
NPR = fox news for the petit bourgeoisie.
written by Queen of Sheba, August 02, 2010 4:55
There will need to be a lot more foreclosures before housing prices return to a reasonable level across the country. Banks are still holding a raft of troubled mortgages on their books as worthwhile assets, and apparently only foreclosures will force the bankers to own up to the truth.

NPR hosts are very good at book and music reviews, some science reporting and interviewing actors. But their attempt at "balance" in political reporting has resulted in a mishmash of competing ideologies with no guests being held accountable for what they say, and their reporting on the economy is worse than useless.

For my money they could run back-to-back episodes of Car Talk featuring Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers all day. At least I would be laughing at my radio instead of screaming at it.
Even better, Sheba
written by CDW, August 03, 2010 11:45
Alternate Wait Wait Don't Tell Me with Car Talk.

The republicans dumbed down NPR like everything else so it would appeal to conservatives. I haven't supported it since they fired Bob Edwards.
Anybody noticed the China housing bubble?
written by AndrewDover, August 03, 2010 3:15
"In major cities like Beijing and Shanghai, the Chinese pay about 20 times their annual salary to buy a condominium. By comparison, this factor is only about eight in expensive major world cities like Tokyo."

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.