I want to respond broadly to some of the advocates who still seem to be missing the concept of Proximate Cause. We can substitute all sorts of things in the general statement “The housing boom and bust was caused by ____” — but only if you don’t care about things like proximity or statistical validity.
Indeed, if I were to ignore the hard data and focus on the squishy narrative, I end up with tracing the blame to one simple source: MTV Cribs.
The series showcased the huge, luxurious homes of the rich and famous in music, film, and sports. It was watched by young, easily influenced kids who would soon be out on their own, buying Cribs that they themselves could not afford.
Even worse, MTV Cribs was imitated by lots of other property porn shows on HGTV (Designed to Sell, House Hunters, Dream House, Extreme Homes) or TLC (Trading Spaces), or the Discovery channel.
But it all traces back to Cribs . . .
<Sarcasm Mode Off>