Speaking at a Arizona high school in August 2013, President Obama both addressed specific policies he hoped Congress would pass regarding homeownership as well as the dream of middle-class homeownership. Here is part of the speech connecting middle-class aspirations and homeownership:
What we want to do is put forward ideas that will help millions of responsible, middle-class homeowners who still need relief. And we want to help hardworking Americans who dream of owning their own home fair and square, have a down payment, are willing to make those payments, understand that owning a home requires responsibility. And there are some immediate actions we could take right now that would help on that front, that would make a difference. So let me just list a couple of them…
So I want to be honest with you. No program or policy is going to solve all the problems in a multi-trillion dollar housing market. The housing bubble went up so high, the heights it reached before it burst were so unsustainable, that we knew it was going to take some time for us to fully recover. But if we take the steps that I talked about today, then I know we will restore not just our home values, but also our common values. We’ll make owning a home a symbol of responsibility, not speculation — a source of security for generations to come, just like it was for my grandparents. I want it to be just like that for all the young people who are here today and their children and their grandchildren. (Applause.)
These sections echo common themes of how the American public often thinks about housing:
- Homeownership is a symbol of successful hard work and responsibility. Put it in the time and effort and it should lead to a home.
- Systems and particular actors can conspire against possible homeowners – financial speculators, irresponsible people – but the government should be in the business of helping people achieve homeownership.
- Homeownership is a goal across American generations, from grandparents to current adults to future children.
- The middle class and homeownership are intertwined.
Even as President Obama sought specific actions, he appealed to cultural goals and narratives very familiar in American life.