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Burn Our Way Out Of The Housing Crisis? It's An Idea

Thursday, 13 Nov 2008 | 4:12 PM ET
AP

The housing crisis may end up being a real boon for my generation, as long as it doesn't lead to a reprise of the great depression. For the most part those of us under 30 aren't homeowners.

We haven't been working long enough to put together the kind of cash for a down payment. But with foreclosures skyrocketing, up 25% in October compared to last year, and prices already down big, we have a lot more access to affordable housing.

That said, I'm not one of those millennials who doesn't own a home. I've got an apartment in Manhattan, where homeowners are just starting to feel the pain. So I get pretty upset when I look on Diana Olick's blog and see this: the $300 billion Hope for Homeowners program, which was launched to help troubled borrowers hang onto their homes, isn't working.Since the program was established slightly more than a month ago, there have been 111 applications for help. The Feds were expecting 19,000 applications in the first year, but at the current rate they'll get roughly 1,332.

That scares me. It terrifies me enough to betray my generation, sorry guys, and tell the government exactly what it needs to do if it wants to stop the foreclosures and get home prices moving higher again, especially the price of my home. Jim Cramer has suggested this plan semi-seriously on "Mad Money."I'm dead serious about it. We need to take that $300 billion in the Hope for Homeowners program, along with the rest of the money in the TARP, and start buying up houses. Begin with the vacant ones, and just keep going.

Then we burn them to the ground. Radical and insane as this may sound, it will work. Can you honestly say that about any other plan, that you're sure it will work? I can't. So arson it is. If we can't bail our way out of this crisis, we'll burn our way out. Time to raise less homes and more hell!

A move like this wouldn't be unprecedented. We'd be following in FDR's footsteps. The Agricultural Adjustment Act part of the New Deal that was passed in 1933, paid farmers to slaughter their livestock and burn their crops. In 1933 alone six million piglets and 220,000 pregnant cows were slaughtered because of the AAA. The result? Gross farm income increased by 50% from 1933 to 1935.

    • Mortgage Applications Rise as Interest Rates Drop

Now, does burning down houses sound any less horrible to you than killing millions of piglets and hundreds of thousands of pregnant cows? Not to me. Let's do it. Home values will go back up. Young people will again be priced out of the market. I won't have to worry about what my apartment is worth, and all will be right with the universe again. All thanks to publicly sanctioned arson!

Questions? Comments? Send them to millennialmoney@cnbc.com