You're going to have to forgive me.
I usually avoid a lot of inside the real estate industry talk. This blog is meant to be educational to people interested in buying or selling homes or even just owning them. It's not focused on talking to the real estate industry.
Today is different.
NAR (National Association of REALTORS) has decided to raise it's dues in order to spend more money on its lobbying efforts.
Every citizen ought to be upset about this and the underlying causes.
As a member I am outraged and frustrated.
I completely understand why they've decided to do this. The Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court last year means there is now a no-holds-barred arms race in terms of political contributions. (There ought to be a sign outside the Capitol reading "For Sale Here: Legislators") NAR is concerned that banks, long wanting to get into the real estate business themselves (and not just as owners of foreclosures) could use this opportunity to get laws changed in their favor. They're worried about possible assaults on the Mortgage Interest Deduction and with what will take the place of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Their solution is to have a pile of money with which to influence the outcomes.
I believe that the influence of money is destroying our democracy. Giving to the PAC (Political Action Committee) that REALTOR associations use to influence politics has always been voluntary and I have always declined, believing that it would be hypocritical to decry the influence of PAC money but become part of the problem when it seemed in my best interest.
Now it seems that my only options are likely to be let NAR use my money for purposes that I am ethically opposed to, or leave the National Association of REALTORs. The way the system works, that would make it much harder for me to work as a real estate broker.
This decision is not yet final and I'd urge anyone in the industry to plan on attending the NAR mid-year meeting in DC to protest this decision. The meeting on this is May 11th at 3:30.
For those of you not a part of the industry, I'd urge you to get involved in working to limit the influence of $$$s in politics. (Changing the Supreme Court make up would be a good start!)
I'm curious to know, if you're a real estate agent or broker what do you think? If you're a member of the public, are you concerned about the influence of money in politics?