Gone are the days of actual property ownership, the days when owning land provided a family and future generations an opportunity to build wealth.
I know the word “wealth” sounds like an ugly word these days. It is a word left for the well-to-do of society making it seem unreachable and therefore unpleasant. True property ownership is wealth, no matter the size, shape or location. It is an asset of the American dream and it should be treated as such.
An eternal tax on property ownership hinders the stability and prosperity of the community, especially in times of great need. I have lived in Cedar Rapids my entire life. We have never experienced the amount of devastation physically, financially and psychologically as we have this year. We watched helplessly as our businesses and places of employment shuttered from COVID-19. A storm hit and we watched as we were once again scrambling to find our bearings.
If a policy had been put in place decades ago, giving homeowners and landowners tax-free ownership of property clear of bank mortgages, we could have weathered these events so much better. People could have had an asset to draw on and the ability to go a few months without a job. Landlords would have been able to help renters more effectively. Farmers would have been able to survive markets that are otherwise out of their control.
A policy rewarding people clear of mortgage debt is the best policy, not only in times of great need, but also in times of great abundance. Promoting home and land ownership provides a sense of community. We live in a time where many can pick up and move from location to location easily. There is no incentive to live mortgage free. Staying in your community currently has no benefit.
I want people to be engaged in their communities. I want to build strong neighborhoods. I want lower rent housing options. I want to reduce our reliance on government protections. I want to encourage creating value that can be utilized not just today as a tax break but in the future as an asset.
We need the government to get out of the way of our success. We need to stop asking how to end poverty, and instead ask how we ensure prosperity.
Myra Matejka is a Libertarian candidate for Iowa House District 70.