Myths and misunderstandings about what happened in the Great Recession continue to hinder the American economy by making us afraid of the one thing we need most: more homes.
Remember when mania led to a massive housing bubble? When Americans found themselves saddled with too many houses and were hit with the reality that our economy had been built on unsustainable borrowing? Everyone knows about that, right?
What if that was wrong? What if, when we get down to brass tacks, Americans have been struggling to build enough new housing—especially in places where housing is in high demand—and this was true, even in 2005?
Viewing the economic calamities of the twenty-first century with this central insight turns the conventional wisdom about our economic challenges upside down. The need for more homes has been the core cause of American economic instability and stagnation. Building from the Ground Up will guide you to a sweeping new perspective about the Great Recession and the financial crisis, which points to a brighter path for America’s economic potential.
Kevin Erdmann is the author of Shut Out: How a Housing Shortage Caused the Great Recession and Crippled Our Economy. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the National Review, US News, Politico, on C-SPAN, and at the Mercatus Center.
“A lot of what we think we know about the housing crash and the great recession is wrong. In Building from the Ground Up, Kevin Erdmann patiently helps us unlearn false lessons that are still doing our economy serious damage.”
“Erdmann is a rare combination of charming and disagreeable, which makes him a perfect challenger for poorly-supported conventional wisdom. In these pages he tells the untold story of the 2008 financial crisis—how the homebuilding industry took the fall for policy mistakes. Our problem was too little housing, not too much. Erdmann is an unabashed advocate for an industry that got framed. Erdmann’s contemporaries may bristle at his provocative ideas, but like many of the best challengers of conventional wisdom, I expect he will be vindicated in the long run.”
– Alan Cole, Full Stack Economics, former Senior Economist at the US Congress Joint Economic Committee
“Forget everything you think you know about the 2008 global financial crisis (GFC). Kevin Erdmann has the courage and insight to question the conventional GFC narrative. The policy implications of his exhaustive research are clear. In short, we need more homes and more homeowners. We are already seeing the social and economic costs of policies which make home ownership unreasonably difficult. Every policymaker should read this book.”
– John Welborn, Lecturer in Economics at the Political Economy Project, Dartmouth
“Something terrible happened in U.S. housing markets back in the 2000s, but what? Kevin Erdmann shows that the problem was never ‘building too much housing.’ We were starved for housing before the crisis—and the starvation has only continued. The real problem is that government has been strangling the housing market for decades, and occasionally panics and tries to ‘do something’ about mere symptoms of this fundamental policy mistake. An old adage says, ‘If you’re not confused, you don’t understand what’s going on.’ Erdmann’s Building from the Ground Up shows us why we ought to be confused by the standard view of the housing crisis—and leaves us with a subtle understanding of the market.”
– Bryan Caplan, New York Times bestseller, author of Myth of the Rational Voter, Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids, The Case Against Education, and Open Borders, Economics professor at George Mason University