mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A tax credit for everyone except me...

I was reading the auction listings today in the newspaper, which is at the end of the real estate section. So I happened to see an ad for a new homebuilder mentioning the tax credit for existing homebuyers, which made my blood boil.

The fine print is that if you have owned a home for 5 continuous years out of the last 8, you are elgible for a $6500 tax credit if you buy a new home.

I've grumbled about previous handouts - from the mortgage bailout for people whose mortgages happened to be owned by the right agency to cash for clunkers, for people who happened to own the right cars - being handed out pretty randomly, and to groups that never seem to include me.

But this one takes the cake - it includes huge groups of people, but is especially written to exclude people like me - I bought my house in 2006, at the exact peak of the market. Now, it's not a huge deal because I have no plans to move anytime soon - besides the fact that I'd probably have to bring a check to closing if I sold my house, I have no desire to pack up 3 floors of crap or to keep my house showing ready.

But it seems odd to have a tax break that benefits people who bought their house in 2004 or before - when housing prices were still pretty reasonable - but excludes people who bought their houses when prices had gone up, and most likely are having to sacrifice more to pay their mortgages. While few of these people might be looking to sell and buy a new house, there are probably some who have to - because of financial reasons, job transfers, marriage/kids/ect - who are probably taking a loss selling their house, and would benefit more than someone who sold their house 3 years ago at the peak of the market and has been renting since - who would be qualified under the bill.

Of course, bills like this mean that those who don't receive it will be kicking in the extra taxes for those who benefit - to the tune of $10.6 billion, according to this article. Now, I don't harbor any ill will against someone who was in the right place at the right time and bought a house before prices climbed - that's life. But I do question why people who weren't so lucky are paying to give those lucky people even more money.

As a borderline libertarian, I've never really liked programs like welfare, but I grudgingly accept that there is merit to helping, say, to make sure poor kids have food and shelter. But government of late has pretty much just been handing random piles of money to random people and businesses in the hopes that it will spur the economy. In that, they've got a weird reverse kind of Robin Hood thing going on, where they often give people who are in pretty good shape a bunch of money, paid for by people who aren't so well off. And that strikes me as unfair, illogical, and frustrating.


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