Instead of lowering standards, maybe a new Homestead Act?

November 4, 2014

Two academics in economics suggest that if the government insists on promoting homeownership, they should consider a “Homestead Act for the 21st Century.”


Back in 1862, the federal government passed an act that specified anyone over 21 could obtain a grant of 160 acres of public land. “After living on and farming the land for five years, including building a home and paying a filing fee, the land would be theirs,” write Kermit Schoenholtz and Stephen G. Ceccheti, two U.S. business school professors, for the Huffington Post. They argue that instead of offering cheap debt, the current government should follow Lincoln’s example and create a program that would help transform the debt into an equity boost of roughly equal aggregate size.


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