In the American mind, renters are regarded as an unsavory lot, willful dissidents from the American dream. They do things like put cars up on cinder blocks in their front yard or, worse, live in your basement. The vision of an Ownership Society was about more than just houses, but the promotion of homeownership was, for a time at least, its most successful element. You know the story by now: The rate of homeownership climbed to almost 70 percent, sellers walked out of closings trundling wheelbarrows full of cash, and the phrase “granite countertops” seemed to hold as much promise as “plastics” did in The Graduate. Then it all fell apart. We woke up in a Rentership Society, and it’s starting to look permanent. And you know what? Thank goodness. Ownership, it turns out, is for suckers.
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