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New home sales plunged to the lowest level in four decades in May, according to Howard Gleckman at the Tax Policy Center:
But they had risen dramatically in the previous months. What explains the difference? The first-time home buyer tax credit, a stimulus measure, expired at the end of April. People who were planning to buy over the next few months rushed their schedule to take advantage of the offer before it ran out. As a result, sales spiked in March and April and cratered in May, because by that time many of the people who were planning to buy houses had already done so to take advantage of the credit.
Gleckman explains what we got out of this deal:
Total amount of permanent job creation from this timing change: pretty close to zero. Cost to taxpayers: $12.6 billion just through last February-even before the latest buying frenzy. What a deal!
As my Tax Policy Center colleague Ted Gayer has been warning, at least 85 percent of those buyers would likely have purchased a home anyway. For them, the credit was a pure gift—courtesy of a government running a $1.4 trillion deficit.
But that’s not all. Yesterday, the Treasury Department’s inspector general issued its second report on homebuyer credit fraud. And the scams are worthy of a Carl Hiasson novel. Among the lowlights: 1,295 prisoners received $9.1 million in credits for houses they claimed to buy while incarcerated. Two hundred forty-one were serving life sentences at the time.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?