Help ATS with a contribution via PayPal:
learn more

From the Far-Fetched Solution File: A New Homestead Act

page: 1
7

log in

join

posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 10:30 AM
link   
So your good friend Bob here has been kicking around some ideas for solving our nation's many problems, and I think I've come up with a really great idea that could do wonders for this country and will never ever happen in a million years. Still, if I believe in anything it is the notion that ideas need to put out there. They need to be set adrift out there on the seas of public discourse regardless of how much institutional objection they will meet.

First off, a bit about the impetus behind the concept. I've noticed more and more on social media that people who just a few years ago would never have brought the topic up are talking about self-sufficiency and off-grid living. People are fantasizing about getting SMALLER houses and streamlining their needs. Or they're looking at ways to take regular houses and install solar, wind, kinetic power. They want to grow their own food. They want to set up a cistern system. Etc.

What's more, I've been looking at finances, at the costs that drain people of their capital and make low wages so untenable.

Now what I am about to propose here will look, initially, like socialism or communism. Ayn Rand fetishists will flip out and fire up their flame throwers ready to call me a pinko and looter and all the usual epithets thrown around by people who can't quite admit how rigged the game is. But rest assured, this is not an idea that rewards the lazy. This latches no one to the government teat. This is an idea designed to boost accountability and reward personal responsibility on newly leveled playing field.

Now, I recognize that what I am about to suggest would jeopardize apparently vast swaths of the "economy" in a way that bankers and derivative market jag-offs would paint as a full on apocalypse. They would be liars and manipulators covering their own predatory backsides. Screw 'em.

So the basics: The New Homestead Act would eradicate home/shelter costs for any and all American citizens who agree to improve the sustainability and self-sufficiency of the property where they live. This would be done by wiping out the remaining balance of mortgages for homeowners and (far more controversially) transfer ownership of rental properties to those tenants who agree to the term of land/home improvement.

The guidelines for improvement would be centered around energy and water efficiency as well as food production by either conventional or hydroponic means. It would, in essence be a reset button on land ownership in this country.

Keep in mind, that this would not completely end the private real estate market in this country. Commercial and Industrial land will continue to be bought, rented, and sold in the same way it is today. Similarly anyone who does not wish to participate in the improvement requirements (or renters who don't want to be responsible for maintenance and upkeep) would have the option of staying in their conventional mortgages and/or leases. Similarly, those who wish to sell their properties and move would be able to buy homes on an open market just as they are today.

This same program would also give the homeless the option of moving into empty properties (provided they are willing to meet the upkeep/improvement requirements). This would not be difficult as there are currently more empty properties than there are homeless people in this country.

I recognize there are some considerable and practical hurdles here which I will address in the "Cons" section below but let us talk about pros for a moment.

1) This will free up 30-60% of the average household's income for expenses and purchases other than housing. As it currently stands the money that American's spend on simply having a roof over their head goes rather directly into the pockets of the wealthy elites. The money is poured into mortgage holding banks and their primary shareholders. This money does not get circulated in the community at the same rate as other expenditures.

2) It would, in effect, give everyone across the board significant raises without costing their corporate overlords a dime. The 8 bucks an hour someone makes at McDonald's starts to look a heck of a lot better when it only needs to go towards food, clothing, and utilities. What's more, everyone has more money to spend at a far broader spectrum of visits. The banks would lose a big slice of their income, but the real economy: the goods and services sectors would experience an unprecedented boom.

3) The guidelines for improvement and self-sufficiency would (in time) further reduce the overhead cost for families participating in the program. Yes, they would have to spend probably the equivalent of a year's rent/mortgage payments installing wind or solar, but then moving forward they still have no rent/mortgage related expenses AND their utility bills will be greatly reduced. Those growing their own food would see, not only a reduction in costs, but an improvement in their diet as it is difficult to grow snickers bars, but easy to grow cherry tomatoes.

4) This modern homesteading (which can be done in all environments from the city to the country) can help usher in a return of the household work ethic as families take on work with tangible results. For example, the chore of taking out the trash, provides no obvious benefit or value to the modern child. Making a salad from vegetables you grew yourself is a far more rewarding experience.

The various benefits go on, but are all variations on these themes. Now, there are some cons. Let's consider them.

1) Some will inevitably see this as a form of government invasion as there would need to be some sort of system to confirm compliance with the improvement/sufficiency guidelines. The necessary guidelines are relatively obvious and easily observable, the inspection requirements would be as non-invasive as possible. Again, the fact that the program is optional also goes a long way towards mitigating that concern.

2) Aren't we taking from people who have worked hard and giving to people who haven't? Short answer: No. The majority of people who are being "given" their houses here are people who have long been paying into the system. The only thing that divides most renters from owners is that the owners at one point had a down payment handy. Yes, there are people whose primary income is through rental properties. I would daresay to do so borders on unethical. Shelter should be a fundamental human right so long as one works on the maintenance upkeep and improvement of the property.

3) What of future "new entries" into the system? Again this might sound a bit socialistic, but I see no reason why there shouldn't be a certain amount of government built properties available specifically for people who wish to OPT IN to the system. Those who want to work on the improvement, maintenance, and self-sufficiency of a property can jump on board. Those who don't can choose to rent or buy conventionally.

Again, there are myriad implementation issues that would probably make his untenable. At the same time, I think it's an interesting thought experiment and the very least.




posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 10:43 AM
link   
You are talking about the government giving people something that has a permanent tangible value (land)?

I can't see that passing Congress today.



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 11:02 AM
link   

butcherguy
You are talking about the government giving people something that has a permanent tangible value (land)?

I can't see that passing Congress today.


To be fair the government never really gives land to anyone. Nor do they really sell it.

The best anyone can hope for is long-term renting via property tax.

So the government giving you a never ending tax liability that they'll shoot you for not paying, I can totally see that happening.



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 11:53 AM
link   
reply to post by RobertAntonWeishaupt
 


I don't know why you would say that Rand fanatics would go nuts. If you have read Atlas Shrugged, you have pretty much described Galts Gultch. You know, that place where all the wealthy entrepenuers were disappearing to. To live off the grid, with the exception of creating their own devices for power, and growing their own food, etc. They weren't beholden to anybody but the community that they lived in.

The problem I see here is as you say it, The banks. They'd rather bleed money than lose a asset. Maybe it could work though if a Homeowners Association would implement it. Not only would the homeowners have to pay HOA fees, but those who are living there would also have to tend the crops, cut the grass and help with upkeep. The HOA fees can go to help buy seed, or things for maintenance or even help someone in need within the HOA. (All this pretty much goes against everything your standard HOA is though.)



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 11:57 AM
link   

thisguyrighthere

butcherguy
You are talking about the government giving people something that has a permanent tangible value (land)?

I can't see that passing Congress today.


To be fair the government never really gives land to anyone. Nor do they really sell it.

The best anyone can hope for is long-term renting via property tax.

So the government giving you a never ending tax liability that they'll shoot you for not paying, I can totally see that happening.

You are right.
If you sell the property for a profit, they tax that. If you die intestate, they take it.

And here is a big one... if someone wants to build a Walmart on your property, they will kick you out (even if you paid your taxes) and give it to the entity that will pay higher taxes on it.



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 12:06 PM
link   
reply to post by TDawgRex
 


It's refreshing to see someone other than myself recognize Galt's Gulch in that way. You recognize the similarity here, but still many Ayn Rand fans would call my concept communist. The simple fact is that if you replace Rand's fetishized gold coinage with something called a "work credit" or "productivity unit" the Gulch would look a lot more like a commune. Communism and Capitalism work almost identically when you have a 100% competent and skilled population.

I'm describing Galt's Gulch with the exception that ANYONE would be allowed in, so to speak. Most of the Ayn Rand acolytes I deal with fancy themselves to be Henry Rearden when they're more realistically comparable to James Taggart. They also tend to think that the majority of people are less deserving of a break than they are since they identify so closely with Rand's great men.



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 12:08 PM
link   
reply to post by TDawgRex
 


HOAs are evil incarnate, by the way. Why anyone would allow themselves to be subject to their caprices is beyond my understanding. An HOA is an automatic dealbreaker for me when looking at homes.



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 12:16 PM
link   
The big hurtle for this is the government, the government levies taxes on utilities so its in its best interest to force people to have electric, water, gas, ect. You need to be free of zoning and building codes/permits.

In a world that makes sense this would be a great idea.



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 12:28 PM
link   

RobertAntonWeishaupt
reply to post by TDawgRex
 


HOAs are evil incarnate, by the way. Why anyone would allow themselves to be subject to their caprices is beyond my understanding. An HOA is an automatic dealbreaker for me when looking at homes.


What I descibed is basically a anti-HOA, but with HOA requirements. LOL

I would never buy into a HOA. I'll be damned if anybody tells me what size Dawg I can have or color of house...etc, etc.

I really have no problem with living within a commune either, as long as everybody does what they can in a effort to help the whole. Laziness is not allowed. I've often described myself in a humorous manner as a Hard-nosed, grumpy, hippie. I think that they used to call them Farmers back in the day. LOL





new topics

top topics



 
7

log in

join