Russ Roberts is no fan of the Obama administration's economic policies. The George Mason professor and Planet Money guest says the stimulus is an outsize answer to a recession with employment still below 8 percent. He says the government ought to let some of the faltering banks fail.
And when he looks at the particulars of the $787 billion stimulus plan, he notes one provision that strikes him as deeply, deeply wrong: an $8,000 tax credit for home buyers. On his blog, Cafe Hayek, Roberts headlined his objection "They never learn."
"This is unbelievable," he told me. "It's like, 'We got into this problem by trying to let people buy houses they couldn't afford -- let's keep it going!' It's an extraordinary thing."
Roberts argued that people who chose to rent rather than stretch their resources to buy homes were now in the position to take advantage of falling prices and become owners. "Let's let them," he said.
And never mind the tax credit, he argued -- the responsible renters won't need it. "Let's let somebody buy the house who can afford it and has some skin in the game," he said.
Bonus: Russ Roberts' EconTalk podcast