Jan 15 • 52M

The answer to homelessness and homeownership is supply, with Jerusalem Demsas

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Josh Barro
Very Serious is a weekly conversation with top political commentators, columnists and policymakers, focused on how events in the news relate to major, long-standing controversies in politics, economics and culture. Host Josh Barro is joined by a rotating set of regular guests to work out the ideas behind the arguments on topics serious and not-so-serious. It’s a great conversation across ideological lines that will leave you entertained, enlightened, and maybe even persuaded.
Episode details

Dear readers and listeners,

A few weeks back, I wrote about the ethic of homeownership, and how I think it is unlikely to be dislodged from American society. If we’re going to improve our housing policy and ensure more adequate supply, we’re going to have to work with that ethic, not against it. And I think that’s a feasible thing to do.

That piece was a response to an article in The Atlantic by Jerusalem Demsas, and Sara and I wanted to bring her back on the podcast

to discuss housing issues in more depth.

The result, I think, is a really interesting conversation — starting with how the housing shortage causes homelessness, moving through the politics of building support for more housing supply, and then talking about the homeownership society — why Americans want to own, when that’s the right impulse, when that’s misguided, and what can be done to make renting and owning good options for the circumstances they suit.

I hope you enjoy the episode.

Click here for a transcript of this episode.

We either referenced these pieces Jerusalem wrote for The Atlantic, or they’re relevant if you would like to read more of her work.


Jerusalem first came on the Very Serious podcast back in April to talk about why some of the most prevalent economic predictions related to the pandemic turned out to be so wrong.