Published July 31, 2018
Help in Housing
One of the precipitating causes of the financial crisis of a decade ago was the meltdown of the housing finance system caused by imprudent risk management and inadequate regulation. In recent years, the Institute has made the challenge of shaping bipartisan reform of housing finance a focus of our work, both in terms of research and in bringing stakeholders in the system together. We are proud that much of the current policy conversation on the subject has coalesced around work spearheaded by thought leaders at our Center for Financial Markets.
We’ve published a series of white papers on relevant topics on the Milken Institute website. In the latest, “An Affordable Housing Fee in the Context of GSE Reform,” Institute senior fellows Michael Stegman and Phillip Swagel focus on how lack of bipartisan consensus on access and affordability helped derail previous legislative reform efforts and remains a considerable hurdle. Stegman and Swagel argue that if an affordable housing fee on mortgages supported by the government were included as part of the reforms, the funds generated could provide much-needed aid for housing assistance, which today barely serves one in four eligible households.
Another area of research and policy the Milken Institute has been active in for years is the assessment of the societal cost of chronic diseases. A recent report, “The Cost of Chronic Diseases in the U.S.,” by Institute health researchers Hugh Waters and Marlon Graf, provides the latest sobering numbers. Costs for direct treatment of chronic conditions totaled $1.1 trillion in 2016 — equivalent to 5.8 percent of GDP. The report also breaks down the cost by condition. The most expensive: diabetes ($190 billion), Alzheimer’s ($186 billion) and osteoarthritis ($116 billion).
Chronic diseases also generate indirect costs — lost income and reduced economic productivity — for patients, their family caregivers and the overall economy. When these indirect costs are included, the total increases to $3.7 trillion, nearly one-fifth of GDP.
For those who didn’t make it to this year’s Global Conference, the next best thing is to catch videos of some of the most fascinating panels. They are available for viewing at no cost at www.milkeninstitute.org (where you will also find the research papers mentioned above). For a panel that’s truly ahead of the news, check out “Big Tech and Antitrust: Rethinking Competition Policy for the Digital Era.” The lively debate featured Tyler Cowan of George Mason University, Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago and the head of the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division, Makan Delrahim.