How To Save The Housing Market: Destroy Houses

That and three other radical ideas that could jump-start the economy

Photograph by Brian Ulrich for TIME

A home being destroyed in the Lee-Miles area of Cleveland

If you close your eyes and try to imagine Middle America, you might picture Lakewood, Ohio, a working-class suburb of Cleveland whose orderly residential streets, tidy houses with postage-stamp lawns and median household income of $44,000 are the very foundation of the American Century. With good public schools, an economically diverse population, multiple parks and 33 churches, it's been home to generations of families in the Cleveland area. "It's got it all," says Jacob Stoll, 35, who grew up on the Lake Erie shoreline and runs the family insurance business on Lakewood Avenue.

Now cut to a 30-ton yellow excavator tearing...

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