GATEWAY PERSPECTIVES: It’s the Issues That Matter

Richard Haggerty | November 14, 2016

Haggerty-Richard_squareMany moons ago, when a then young James Carville was an aide working on Bill Clinton’s campaign for president, he uttered the famous line “It’s the economy, stupid” and made a sign with that slogan that he pinned to the campaign headquarters wall to keep everyone on message. The line still resonates today.

Elections can be contentious and emotional things, and certainly this election was a doozy. The National Association of Realtors does not involve itself in Presidential races (thank goodness!), but rather focuses on issues and policies that impact the real estate industry and homeownership rights. As the dust settles from this election we need to stay focused on the issues that affect our clients and us. Our slogan needs to be “It’s the issues that matter.”

It’s a frequently made observation that Congress often has long stretches of time when little is accomplished. The reality is that when you have divided government, currently a Congress controlled by the Republicans and a President who is a Democrat, you have inherent checks and balances that make it a challenge to enact sweeping initiatives like tax reform. We have a similar situation in New York with a Democratic Assembly and Governor and a Republican Senate.

At the federal level that all changes in 2017 when there will be a Republican President and the Republicans will control both the Senate and House. It provides the opportunity to launch new initiatives and enact significant policy changes. I am not suggesting that these potential initiatives and policy changes will be good or bad—my crystal ball has been broken for many years—but I am suggesting that we need to be vigilant concerning the Realtor issues that matter. I would offer the same caution if the Democrats controlled both the White House and the Congress. Here’s a short list of issues of vital importance that should look very familiar:

  • Preserving the Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) as currently structured.
  • Preserving the important role that the GSEs (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) play in the real estate transaction.
  • Preserving 1031 Like Kind Exchanges
  • Funding and maintaining a National Flood Insurance Program

This is just a partial list and I want to emphasize that we cannot take any of these issues for granted. For example, there have been recent tax reform proposals where the sponsors of the proposed legislatiion indicated that the MID would be preserved, but upon further analysis the MID would have been gutted. The devil is in the details, and fortunately the National Association of Realtors is ever vigilant, but we need to do our part as well, especially when asked to contribute to RPAC and to participate in calls to action.

And remember, it’s the issues that matter.


Richard Haggerty