The Score: Helsinki Summit, Housing Policy, Gay Marriage

This week on The Score – a University of Virginia political scientist assesses the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki; a look back at the housing bubble of ten years ago – plus we hear how zoning and land use regulations cause housing shortages; and will the new Supreme Court take away marriage equality?

Trump/Putin
Coming up first: President Donald Trump stirred up a hornet’s nest with his supine performance alongside Russian strongman Vladimir Putin during a press conference in Helsinki. I went to University of Virginia political scientist Todd Sechser to ask about the Helsinki Summit and how it was conducted. As you’ll hear, he said that, in order to understand what happened in Helsinki, we also have to look at the NATO meeting in Brussels and President Trump’s trip to England that preceded it.

Time constraints left our radio listeners unable to hear the last few minutes of Dr. Sechser’s interview. Fortunately, you have found the podcast for The Score this week and, if you stay tuned, you’ll hear the rest of it during the second half of the program.

Housing Policy
Housing matters to all Americans. We all need a place to live but prices in many cities are prohibitive, especially for families with modest incomes.

Emily Hamilton Mercatus Center housing policyEconomist Emily Hamilton studies housing policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia. Working toward her doctorate at GMU, she has already written numerous academic articles and policy papers. Some of her writing has appeared in USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, Economic Affairs, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. She contributes to the blog Market Urbanism. I spoke to her earlier this week to ask about her views on how zoning and land use regulations impede the growth of housing stock and make it harder for people to find an affordable home, whether it’s an apartment or a single-family house with a yard.

Among Hamilton’s recent articles is “Why Land Use Regulations Matter,” published on the Mercatus Center’s outreach vehicle, The Bridge (whose name may be a subtle reminder of the passage from GMU’s Founders Hall in Arlington through the parking garage to the building where Mercatus is headquartered).

Kevin Erdmann housing bubbleWhile I was in Arlington, I had a chance to talk about housing economics with financial analyst Kevin Erdmann, who usually is based in Phoenix but this past week was visiting Virginia to do research on a topic that fascinates him: The so-called housing bubble that shook America when it burst about ten years ago. What he thinks is quite different than what you’ve probably heard from other analysts.

Since 2013, Erdmann has written about finance topics at idiosyncraticwhisk.blogspot.com. He has also written a policy brief for the Mercatus Center called “Housing Was Undersupplied during the Great Housing Bubble.”

Supreme Court and Gay Marriage
Walter Olson Cato Institute gay marriage SCOTUSLast week on The Score, we heard from both Barbara Perry of the Miller Center for Public Affairs and from Walter Olson of the Cato Institute about the changes coming to the U.S. Supreme Court with the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy and the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to succeed him.

Time limits forced us to cut short my interview with Walter Olson, so here he is back again, to talk about an article he wrote for the Wall Street Journal about the fears gay and lesbian Americans have about their rights in a post-Kennedy era. I apologize for the diminished audio quality of this recorded telephone conversation.

Back to Helsinki
Todd Sechser UVA Helsinki summitAs promised for our podcast listeners, we have the rest of The Score’s interview with Dr. Todd Sechser about the Trump-Putin summit meeting in Helsinki, Finland, earlier this week. Dr. Sechser has been our guest twice before, talking about the Iran nuclear deal and the Singapore summit between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Sechser (photo, right) is also a senior fellow at the Miller Center of Public Affairs and coauthor (with Matthew Fuhrmann) of the 2017 book, Nuclear Weapons and Coercive Diplomacy.

Look out for The Score next week, when we will have a report — delayed by a week — from The Homestead in Bath County, Virginia, where the Virginia Bar Association is hosting a debate between two of the three candidates for the U.S. Senate from Virginia, incumbent Senator Tim Kaine (D) and challenger Corey Stewart (R), moderated by Judy Woodruff of PBS. The VBA chose to exclude Libertarian Party nominee Matt Waters but we may get a reaction from him about the debate, as well.