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The idea of helping the lower-middle class by using the federal government to encourage homeownership is, to put it mildly, out of favor. There’s a popular narrative that the housing bubble of the 2000s — and, by extension, the financial crisis and the Great Recession — were caused by the government making or encouraging cheap loans to low-income Americans. That narrative is a myth — the leading cause of the bubble was private banks making bad loans, mostly to speculators rather than to low-income owner-occupants. But the myth is unlikely to die, meaning that it will be an uphill battle to convince recession-scarred Americans to support the idea of expanding homeownership.

That’s a shame, because for all its drawbacks, homeownership is still a crucial source of wealth for everyone who isn’t rich.

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