On Longreads.com, writer Maria Bustillos justifiably praises a “breathtaking debate” on debt relief in Boston Review as one of the best features of 2012. The lead essay in that package by Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal lays out a compelling case that the still cavernous overhang of household debt in the aftermath of the housing bubble collapse is the central reason why the economic recovery remains so stubbornly sluggish.
Newly appointed Century Foundation trustee Jacob Hacker and Century Foundation fellow Robert Hockett offer their own contributions in response to Konczal’s essay. Hacker and his Yale colleague Nathaniel Loewenthal concur with the thesis that high household debt remains a central problem, but they emphasize the broader political forces perpetuating the “financialization” of the economy that culminated in the Great Recession. Hockett hones in on a novel idea for alleviating the debt overhang, urging local governments to use their eminent domain powers to facilitate the writing down of loans and enable underwater homeowners to stay put. The entire collection of Boston Review essays is well worth a read.