Wasn’t TARP supposed to take care of these troubled assets?
Tired of illegal immigration divorced from love of the English language, the Declaration of Independence, and personal independence from welfare and anchor babies? Well, build a fence, but in the meantime, how about an idea that increases legal immigration and does what TARP was supposed to do.
Chuch Schumer as Fred Sanford
Mike Lee as Aunt Esther
Enter the latest version of Sanford & Son, with Fred Sanford and Aunt Esther in the persons of Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY):
American consumers and the federal government haven’t been able to bail out the sinking U.S. real estate market. Now wealthy Chinese, Canadians and other foreign buyers could get their chance.
Two U.S. senators have introduced a bill that would allow foreigners who spend at least $500,000 on residential property to obtain visas allowing them to live in the United States…
The bipartisan proposal, part of a package that also would make it easier for international tourists to visit the U.S., is similar to an existing program that puts foreigners on a fast track to a green card if they invest at least $500,000 in an American business that creates at least 10 jobs…
The legislation would create a new homeowner visa that would be renewable every three years, but the proposal would not put them on a path to citizenship. To be eligible, a person would have to buy a primary residence of at least $250,000 and spend a total of $500,000 on residential real estate. The other properties could be rented.
The program would come with several restrictions.
The purchase would have to be in cash, with no mortgage or home equity loan allowed. And the property would have to be bought for more than its most recent appraised value, Schumer said.
The buyer would have to live in the home for at least 180 days each year, which would require paying U.S. income taxes on any foreign earnings. Buyers would no longer be eligible for the temporary visa if the property were sold.
The buyer would be able to bring a spouse and minor children to live in the U.S. but would need to apply for a work visa to hold a job. Neither the buyer nor dependents would be eligible to receive Medicaid, Medicare or Social Security benefits.
“The bill does not limit people from being productive,” Schumer said. “It simply prevents them from coming here and taking jobs that otherwise would go to Americans.”
I would remove many of the above restrictions from the bill (complete text here), but many conservatives may be suspicious of the bill as is, given that it is co-sponsored by the senior senator from the Empire State. But, given the help it would offer to our underwater real estate market we would we wise to take the advice of Fred Sanford’s Aunt Esther (played by the junior senator from the Beehive State) upon discovering the funds Fred (Schumer) was donating to her charity was earned from gambling, exclaimed: “I’ll take money from the Devil to do God’s work!”
And for those that worry about foreigners gobbling up America soil, I am reminded of the scare in the 1980s when many Japanese bought up prime real estate including iconic skyscrapers in major U.S. cities. Guess what, the Fruited Plain remains and they can’t take it back to China either.
With so many Americans facing foreclosure and in desperate straits and with prospects for recovery on hold until the real estate market reaches bottom, those that want to see the economy grow should welcome the prospect of ready buyers for these troubled assets.
God knows that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Hank Paulson and Barack Obama have let us down while TARP gave GM and UAW a welfare program no matter if anyone buys a Volt.
[h/t to Pilgrim for heads up on story]
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