The American Dream turned into a nightmare when the housing bubble burst, and people have been trying to figure out who to blame- Greedy bankers? Corrupt politicians? Ignorant homeowners? In American Nightmare: How Government Undermines the Dream of Homeownership, Randal O'Toole explores the forces at play in the housing market and shows how we can rebuild the American dream of homeownership by eliminating federal, state, and local policies that distort the free market for housing.
But, American Nightmare is more than an inside look at how government policies undermined the American Dream. O'Toole offers a penetrating view of the housing landscape in America by delving into the changing attitudes about homeownership among people of different income classes as they migrated to and from urban centers and shows how that laid the groundwork for the war on sprawl. He covers housing during the agrarian, urban, suburban, New Deal, and postwar eras and demonstrate how the drive for homeownership did not let us down. Government planners let us down.
I recommend Randal O’Toole’s American Nightmare for both academic and general interest readers, especially anyone who wants to learn more about the contemporary real estate market. It is very informative and insightful about a topic that represents most peoples’ largest expenditures and largest investments, our homes. It is both a wonderful history of housing and an informative analysis of the most recent housing bubble and crisis. - Mark Thornton, The Independent Review
Randal O’Toole is a Cato Institute Senior Fellow working on urban growth, public land, and transportation issues. O’Toole’s research on national forest management, culminating in his 1988 book, Reforming the Forest Service, has had a major influence on Forest Service policy and on-the-ground management. His analysis of urban land-use and transportation issues, brought together in his 2001 book, The Vanishing Automobile and Other Urban Myths, has influenced decisions in cities across the country. In his book The Best-Laid Plans, O’Toole calls for repealing federal, state, and local planning laws and proposes reforms that can help solve social and environmental problems without heavy-handed government regulation. O’Toole’s latest book is American Nightmare: How Government Undermines The Dream of Homeownership. O’Toole is the author of numerous Cato papers. He has also written for Regulation magazine as well as op-eds and articles for numerous other national journals and newspapers. O’Toole travels extensively and has spoken about free-market environmental issues in dozens of cities. An Oregon native, O’Toole was educated in forestry at Oregon State University and in economics at the University of Oregon.