We may not know the full impact of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic for years to come as metrics will not only measure our economic and health pulse, but our emotional and psychological one as well.
Will we be more careful, more risk averse, more sensitive to the perils of life and the planet itself? One thing’s for sure: it’s time to bring it home.
Amid the imponderable and the unpredictable, most have come to appreciate their home, the bedrock of family (and the family purse) more than ever.
As tens of millions of Americans work from home, Zoom from home, and supervise their children’s learning at home, one’s house/condo/townhouse/apartment has become a fresh barometer of how they — and the nationare handling COVID-19.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest quarterly report, 65.3% of Americans now own their home. This is higher than it was a year ago, and transcends all delineations of class and race, demography and topography, red states and blue.
Now the government — which has been the financial anchor in the storm for more than 159 million Americans and tens of millions of small businesses — has an opportunity to literally give Americans a boost where they live.
A proposal for a 30% homeowners tax credit, backed by mega building supply giants from Johns Manville to Owens Corning, has been gaining traction in the past few weeks for reasons that are as essential as they are obvious.
The essential part: an estimated 10 million jobs will be saved across the home building and maintenance industries, meaning few people will need a continuing stream of support checks from the government.
Those are dollars that can redirected into efforts to feed the under-nourished, teach the under-educated, and help in the vital supply line of manufacturing/distribution of COVID-busting vaccines.
The obvious part: it will provide a financial and visual shot in the arm to all those who need to turn part of their home into a full-time workspace.
At a time when Zoom refers to virtual connection vs. vehicular speed, and young families with kids are trying to figure out how to care for them while preventing unfortunate on-screen cameos, a homeowners tax credit will not only boost a homeowner’s spirits but the value of their home as well.
As proposed, there would be a ceiling on qualification so modest and moderate income households, not the highest income class, would receive the benefits.
For all who have suffered through horrific home damages caused by nature’s fury —hurricanes, floods, mudslides, torrential rains — and have yet to be made whole, this tax credit would fill the hole of despair for millions who suffered needlessly for far too long.
Then there are the recurring — and currently red hot — issues of fairness.
A meaningful tax credit reduced inequality given home equity represents a larger share of total wealth among minorities, those with high school degrees or less, and people in the lower to moderate income brackets.
Though many low-income earners paying little or no taxes would not directly receive the tax credit, they would benefit nonetheless from the resulting upswing in jobs.
Washington is looking for innovative ways to continue protecting the American Dream from the nightmare of a virus threatening every aspect of it.
The private sector is looking to rebound with jobs bred from a renewed sense of optimism.
The middle class, too often squeezed into living paycheck-by-paycheck existence, is looking for relief from both a health and economic pandemic.
A homeowners tax credit would continue putting Americans back to work, increase the net wealth of tens of millions more, and become a proclamation that our homes are not only where the heart is, but where our road to recovery continues.
Adam Goodman is a national Republican media strategist and columnist. He is a partner at Ballard Partners in Washington D.C. He is also the first Edward R. Murrow Senior Fellow at Tufts University's Fletcher School. Follow him on Twitter @adamgoodman3. Read Adam Goodman's Reports — More Here.
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