It's housing, stupid.
With all due respect to those who focus on jobs in elections.
And right now, gas prices, in this election.
I'm telling you...none of that matters as much as the value of folks' homes in this election.
And I say that, not because jobs aren't important…
Or what you pay at the pump isn't important.
It's just that, the value of folks' homes is "more" important.
It's how they define their wealth.
And not too long ago, their homes "were" their wealth.
Not now though.
And today's news home prices fell for a fifth-straight month is just the beginning.
In fact, over the last four years, most Americans' home wealth has fallen.
Making this the first quadrennial falloff we've ever seen that happen.
The first presidential election-over-election downdraft in home values we have ever seen.
At least since they've been recording this stuff.
Now to be fair to this president, this housing decline has been going on a lot longer than he's been in office...
But here's the difference…many thought back in 2008, that by 2012, certainly home values would rise...
But they haven't.
Or that every major region of the country would be off double-digits over those four years.
But they are.
Or that four years later, the lending environment would be even tighter "today."
But it is.
Many say Americans have gotten used to this….
That gone are the days their homes were like ATMs…
An easy stash for cash for college tuition when you needed it,
Or a quick getaway when you had to have it.
Not so easy now. Yes, still now.
This is the first presidential election in memory where the value of that piggy bank is less than it was the last presidential election.
Even in 2008, the falloff in housing was so recent, that it hadn't quite wiped out the heady levels from 2004. Not yet at the time.
Most definitely, this time.
I think the affinity people have for their homes has turned into a sort of financial albatross for those still lucky to live in, and afford their homes.
Many are stuck and can't move.
Many who aren't stuck dare not risk a move.
I call it the elephant in the economic room that no one talks about…
Because gas and jobs are more important to talk about.
Because jobs and gas can change.
Not so housing. It doesn't seem to change. At all.
Nothing's getting better under that roof.
That's why I suspect so many folks are hitting the roof.
Too many questions about whether they're still just treading water...
And not a one about how so many of 'em are still...under water.