‘So Goes Housing, So Goes the Economy,’ Rep. Ralph Norman Says

For many Americans, buying a home is one of their greatest financial goals. And the health of the economy is tied directly to our ability to purchase real estate, says Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C.

“So goes housing, so goes the economy,” Norman says. “The reason that is, you have over 130 trades [involved], from the architect that draws the plans … to the Sheetrock hanger, to the plumber, to the electrician, and the list goes on and on.” 

When the real estate market begins to stabilize, the economy will improve over all, he says.

“We know the path that we’re on is not sustainable,” the South Carolina Republican says, adding that it will “take all hands on deck to turn it around.” 

Norman joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to discuss the future of the real estate market and the larger economy. He also explains a strategy for America to end its dependence on China. 

Also on today’s show, we cover these stories:

  • The consumer price index has risen 8.5% since last July.
  • Former President Donald Trump invokes his Fifth Amendment rights during a deposition scheduled by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
  • The Justice Department charges an Iranian operative with plotting to assassinate former national security adviser John Bolton.

Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript.

Virginia Allen: It is my pleasure today to be joined by Congressman Ralph Norman of South Carolina. Congressman, welcome back to “The Daily Signal Podcast.”

Rep. Ralph Norman: Virginia, I’m so happy to be back. Thank you for all that you’re doing for the country. And it’s a pleasure.

Allen: Well, thank you, sir. Let’s talk a little bit first about the economy. Our inflation rate is at 9.1%. We have seen the greatest inflation increase this year since 1981. The Biden administration says we’re not in a recession. How would you describe America’s current economic landscape?

Norman: Well, first of all, for him to say that we’re not in a recession is completely off base. It’s like defying gravity. You may not believe in gravity, but it believes in you.

And the fact that Americans now are being priced out of not just homes, but everything. I mean, it’s a matter of an economy that was doing so well 19 months ago. Lowest unemployment, highest home ownership, particularly among minorities, and gas prices half what they are. I mean, the list goes on and on.

No, we’re definitely in a recession and it’s self-induced by this administration. It’s intentional. There is no way you can make this many mistakes in such a short period of time. And I think that’s what has so many Americans … frightened.

They’re trying to put food on the table and when you don’t have baby formula, as an example, when you don’t have fertilizer—I talked to a farmer who was absolutely beside himself, this was three months ago, when he couldn’t get fertilizer to put his crops in the ground.

Now, what the left doesn’t understand because they’ve never been in the real world, you can’t plant crops in December. You’ve got a growing season starting at March and it’s going to take a long time to get over this. But the hope is that in November we’ll have people who run for office who will make changes and not just words, we can’t have milquetoast candidates now.

Allen: I think when we think about the current economic landscape, for so many Americans, one of their big financial dreams is to one day be able to buy a home. And that’s really challenging right now. We’ve seen that real estate markets are up across the country. And even as they’re beginning to cool, we have interest rates, of course, that are going up, and there’s sort of a tug and a pull there.

Business Insider, they recently wrote in an article about America’s housing market that one thing is certain, it’s a market the likes of which we haven’t seen before. So would you just describe what we’re seeing right now in our real estate in America?

Norman: One, so goes housing, so goes the economy. The reason that is, you have over 130 trades, from the architect that draws the plans, to the footings, to the Sheetrock hanger, to the plumber, to the electrician, and the list goes on and on. And so that’s why it affects the whole—if housing isn’t doing well, then the whole country suffers. That’s what we’re seeing the beginnings of now.

I’m from South Carolina, we’re a state that is gaining in population. Those that are moving from California, New York, Los Angeles, all over are coming to the south because of our low taxes and competitive environment.

But we’re seeing now real estate agents that used to sell three to six a day, they’re lucky to get three a month. Now, the culprit of that is, look at what interest rates are doing. Back during the previous administration, 2.5%, we’re now well over 5% for a 30-year mortgage.

Qualifying for a loan when they’re spending so much of their disposable income on putting food on the table, that means they can’t pay a house mortgage. For young people like you, I really feel sorry for them because it’s so avoidable, but it’s just not happening.

And so you’re going to see a stagnation in housing. You will see issues on commercial real estate. I can’t get product now. When we go to put a water heater in our hotel, you can’t find water heaters.

And what the left doesn’t understand either, time is money. If I build a project and it sits for six months because you can’t get certain components, I’m paying interest on a loan. It’s a cascading effect and we’re in for a long haul, I’ll be honest with you.

Allen: So looking forward next year, what do you think we’re going to see? We’re hearing a lot of competing opinions about whether things are going to continue to go downhill with the housing market or with interest rates climbing, maybe they’ll level out. What are your thoughts? What are we going to see by this time next year regarding the real estate market?

Norman: You know, you can’t turn the economy around on a dime. It’s taken 19 months to do this kind of damage. I look for a deep recession. I think things are going to completely stop.

I mean, look at our food shortage. Wheat now is not being grown. Look what’s happening in the Netherlands and with the Chinese buying up a lot of property and taking it out of the production market. Something nefarious is going on in America to affect our food supply, … with this administration affecting the economy. It’s going to be a deep recession.

Now, the hope is that we can elect people with spines who can say, “Enough is enough,” and we’ll start rolling back some of these executive orders, which is going to be hard to do, but the longest stairway has got the first step. So we take the first step. We know the path that we’re on is not sustainable. So it’s going to take all hands on deck to turn it around.

Allen: You bring up China. And of course, our relationship with China does play a large role in America’s economy. Right now, we’ve been hearing that America has been selling oil to China. What’s going on there?

Norman: The strategic oil supplies are being raided through this administration to China and other countries that don’t like us. Now, that reserve is for emergencies for America. It’s not for countries that are communist countries that their people suffer. We don’t have sweat shops like they do over there.

Why this administration is not getting, one, energy-independent—we’ve got enough oil for 100 years in gas. Why we’re not bringing manufacturing back here—the highest tax rates are happening right now under this administration.

Now, I don’t think you attract corporations by taxing them more. I think that’s kind of a misguided notion, but that’s why China is feeling embolden now. They supply so many of our natural resources to us to make our products, as example, the batteries, what good is it to have electric cars if you can’t get batteries? Because they come from China.

He is, through regulations, killing industries that provide natural resources, nickel, copper. So China knows this administration is weak.

When in the history have they criticized or said they’re going to shoot planes down of elected officials because they’re visiting a country? I’ve never seen that. That’s how emboldened they feel.

That’s why we’ve got to have a strong response. That’s why we’ve got to have the strongest military known to man instead of the wokeness and the weakness that this administration is stripping our military of.

Allen: You mentioned and refer to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, lots of controversy over that trip, lots of threats now from China saying they’re going to end discussions with America on a host of issues. How concerned should Americans be right now about China?

Norman: Should be very concerned. As an example, buying up land in this country to the amount that they are, I’m doing a study now that we’re getting out to all of our constituents showing where they bought up. And the issue is they’re buying next to our military installations. That’s the concern. And this administration is completely letting them run rampant over us now.

And again, the question I get all over my district: “Why?” My only answer is they sold out. Hunter Biden, [President] Joe Biden, the family is compromised, and you can’t walk that back.

Allen: You actually recently wrote a letter to President Biden at the end of July regarding the sale of U.S. oil reserves to a Chinese state-owned company called Unipec. And there are concerns that the president’s son Hunter Biden benefited from the sale because he has business connections to Unipec. Could you just unpack this a little bit for us? What exactly is going on here? How is Hunter Biden involved?

Norman: The companies that purchased the oil, it’s been alleged and I think we haven’t gotten a response, but he had a 20% interest in a lot of different subsidiaries that were the recipient of the oil reserves, which they’re selling.

Hunter Biden had 105 SARs reports, suspicious activity reports, by the banks. I’ve been on the bank board. They don’t just issue those willy-nilly. It’s serious. We can’t get a response from them—105. If you have one, you investigate it. They stonewall it. And so, what have they got to hide? The list goes on and on with Hunter Biden.

The big guy evidently got paid off. It’s all about money. And I think their abuse of power, they’ve weaponized the judicial system to anybody that questions. And not just this sale of oil, but the fact that we’re doing so many other things that are beholden to China that we shouldn’t be. There is no excuse for what’s going on.

Allen: Is Hunter Biden going to be held accountable?

Norman: What we’ll do when we take the House back is bring him up, we’ll subpoena him, bring him up. If he wants to perjure himself, do it. We’re going to follow through on that, as well as a lot of others.

Look at [Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro] Mayorkas, DHS is a shamble. For him to say the border’s secure, I ask him point blank, “If our border’s secure, explain to me what unsecured is.” He didn’t say anything. So yes, he will and a host of others.

Allen: Regarding America’s relationship with China, what are the infrastructure, what are the things that America needs to be getting in place now so that we’re no longer dependent on China for anything?

Norman: Well, first of all, the manufacturing, we need to use our natural resources. Anything from China that we’re getting, we need to refocus on other countries if we can’t do it in here. And the issue is it takes time.

If you’re dependent on, like, as I mentioned, the sales for the batteries, you just can’t turn the switch on and produce them here in America. The nickel, the copper. The ones that he is decommissioning and taking out of service, it’s going to take a while to put those back into service, but it can be done. But get totally independent from China.

It is so discouraging to see the athletic teams, the basketball teams that are going over there all for the money. I mean, that’s what it’s about. It’s biblically true, sex, power, and money is what has gotten countries to decompose. And they’re taking us over without firing the first shot.

The drugs, the fentanyl that’s coming over—and the fentanyl’s coming from China through Mexico and through Canada. That’s where the supply line is, but it’s through China.

Every speech I give, I tell young people, “You may think you’re smoking a marijuana joint, it’s laced with fentanyl and you don’t know.” So if you want to take that risk, there are not too many rehabilitation programs that are effective in the morgues.

And so you’re killing right now 300 a day of young people and across the campuses, it’s a new day for young people. If you want to take that chance, then the casket is waiting, and China will gladly put you in one.

Allen: Congressman, my takeaway from everything that you’ve said is we have work to do, we have a lot of work to do in our country. But sir, thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate you being here.

Norman: Thank you, Virginia. I appreciate what you’re doing.

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