A Healthy Economy Needs Willing Participants

Basically, every macroeconomic debate these days boils down to: “Is this time different?  Is this change structural (here to stay) or cyclical (will revert)?”  For example, here is the chief economist of Trulia arguing that “homeownership among young adults is both on the rise and not too far off from where demographics say it should be.”  Basically, by manipulating how we calculate the homeownership rate, either including or excluding young households who rent, we get a slightly different picture of young homeownership rates.  And, so this argument goes, the number of young rental households has gone up thanks to long-term demographic trends (fewer young people getting married, having children etc.) that are here to stay.  Therefore, by stripping the homeownership rate of this long-term downward trend, we get a much more normal view of homeownership.  This is more or less the same stats magic people use when debating unemployment and the participation rate.  So again, the question really is, is the drop in the participation rate of homeowners and laborers here to stay or just a temporary phenomenon?