Alex Tabarrok draws an interesting analogy between home vacancies and unemployment, pointing out that vacant homes are just unemployed resources. He also provides this chart:
Unlike human unemployment, this is a problem with a really easy fix. It’s actually a fix that doesn’t require government spending, includes a bit of non-government Keynesian spending, and will help with our debt as well as lower global poverty. Right now, there are millions and millions of people who want to “employ” our “unemployed” housing stock: immigrants. Simply let more of them in and they will buy, rent, and live in these empty homes.
Can you imagine if a such a simple solution existed for any other resource underutilization problem that was having a huge negative impact on the wider economy, and not only were politicians not discussing it, but people aren’t demanding it. What is going on here?