New Orleans Almost everyone else in America knows that we have a national affordable housing crisis. Maybe someone in Washington could take a minute out of their day pop by or send an email to Dr. Ben Carson, the head of Trump’s Housing and Urban Development (HUD) operation responsible for housing and give him a clue about the housing dilemma facing lower income families that is his responsibility by law.
Not having a clue, Carson is now proposing to take several draconian steps to punish the poor in public housing. On one hand he is trying to time-limit public housing so that it is a temporary benefit rather than long term based on income. This proposal affects millions of low income families. Work requirements would be part of the package. On the other hand, Carson wants to triple the rents of the poorest of the families in public housing or benefiting from section 8 housing support vouchers in private housing by raising the minimum rent from $50 to $150 over a period of time. This proposal over time would hurt 750,000 people according to HUD.
I have to wonder where Carson and HUD, along with their governmental pushers and enablers, think that people will go if they are priced or timed out of public housing? Perhaps the streets? No, that wouldn’t work. The rich and politicians don’t like vast and increasing numbers of homeless on the streets. The only thing certain is that they will hope and pray that the poor are invisible to them, which seems the only policy that has their full commitment. But, wait, I must be pretending that they care about the consequences of these policies rather than allowing them to be purely vindictive. My bad!
The puppet master for this proposal now being mouthed by Carson seems to be budget director Mick Mulvaney. Yes, Mick Mulvaney, the same public servant who is doing double duty trying to destroy the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. He rivals President Trump these days in dominating the news cycle. Today he was not only trying to destroy public housing supports, but he was also trying to block public access to the CFPB’s popular database of complaints from consumers. Even better he was revealing his “pay to play” policy while he was a congressman by meeting with lobbyists first and foremost if they had donated to his campaign. He offered this obvious insight to a group of bankers about why they needed to put more dollars into buying other congressmen if they wanted to gut the CFPB and Dodd-Frank.
There’s a lesson here of course. After decades of dismantling public housing, millions stuck on waiting lists around the country for section 8 vouchers which are not an entitlement, the crash of the real estate construction market after the housing speculation bubble burst, the creation of the credit desert and slowdown of construction financing for affordable housing, rising rents and record eviction rates, the problem turns out to be that these damn poor people didn’t pool enough money and food stamps together to pay lobbyists and bribe politicians like Mulvaney with campaign contributions.
Darned, why didn’t we think of that!