Monday, May 11, 2009

Luxury Housing at Stone Manor (but Not for You)

Luxury Housing at Stone Manor is now available:
  • Basic Cable + High Speed Internet Included,
  • Beautiful View,
  • Door to Door Trash Removal,
  • Fireplace in Select Units,
  • French Doors Leading to Patio/Balcony,
  • Intrusion Alarm in Each Unit,
  • Sparkling Pool,
  • Washer/Dryer Connections
You can see Stone Manor here via Google Maps. Seems like a nice enough place. But not for you. You can't live there. I'm willing to bet that no one reading this blog is going to qualify to live at Stone Manor in Huntsville Alabama, because it is now public housing. So what is wrong with that? Plenty.

For starters, I object to our government subsidizing luxury for anyone. Is there someone that will take the opposite position on that one? Come on down.  

Some might argue the mortgage interest tax deduction subsidizes luxury.  The US has a long-standing value to encourage home ownership through the income tax deduction for your home mortgage. A generous, in fact a quite generous incentive that amounts to approximately $108B annually. Proponents of public housing argue that it is a regressive measure and so it is bad... However, I would argue that letting people keep some of their hard earned money (through home mortgage tax deduction as an incentive towards homeownership) is fundamentally different from giving tax dollars via housing subsidies to those that did not earn that money (and pay little or nothing into the social system).

Second, I understand the HUD goal and buzz phrase of the day are to 'de-centralize poverty' and this project is apparently aimed at 'eliminating poverty through subsidy.' Will it work? I doubt it, for if you pay people to be poor, you'll never run out of poor people. Similar programs aren't working either. Moreover, as Carl argues, "economic growth the most effective anti-poverty program." If we make the pie bigger it raises the standard of living for everyone.

But wait, let us get back to Stone Manor. When the government bought the place, it made existing tenants apply for public housing. Then they broke leases for those that don't qualify -- and they are throwing them out. One tenant was told if she didn't want to move, she could 'get pregnant' and keep her apartment. Widowed grandmothers are being displaced, lives are being uprooted. All in the name of 'social justice.'

And there is no accountability, either. The Huntsville Housing Authority is run by a board of five appointed by the mayor, but responsible to no one. There is no recourse, as the government can apparently just break the leases as it sees fit. The state legislature is now tripping over each other to pass a new law restricting this activity.

Point of Reference: the Huntsville Housing Authority (HHA) annual revenue is $16.2 million, of which only $1.2 million are rents received from tenants and $14.8 million in 'operating grants' i.e., tax dollars. Also note the HHA pays their staff more than $3.5 million. I'd like to dive into the rest of the budget there, but it just hurts my head something awful. Is there anyone that cares enough to figure out how much in administrative costs per housing unit we are paying?

The lack of government accountability goes all the way to the top of HUD where the big brass to be is under fire for gross fraud, waste and abuse.
President Obama's choice for the government's No. 2 housing job is embroiled in the largest fine in U.S. history for "blatant violations" of open records laws after the Washington State Supreme Court chastised his office for withholding documents detailing taxpayer costs for a new professional football stadium in Seattle. Washington's highest court ruled in January that the withheld documents would have allowed voters in a referendum to challenge "the veracity" of King County's request for $300 million in public bonds for the project. The justices found the actions of Mr. Sims' office to be so "egregious" that they scrapped a lower court's order of a $123,780 fine - the largest ever assessed in a public records case - and recommended that the penalty be increased to as much as $825,000.
So there you have it -- the nominee for one of the spots at HUD was involved with defrauding the public in order to sell public bonds for a project. HUD is now buying luxury housing and is neck deep in the false promise of paying people to be poor in the hopes they will stop. Finally HUD doesn't care how many people they have to evict or harm in their mission to spend my tax dollars.

There used to be shame in accepting public housing, you had to be truly destitute. Now there is no shame; there is luxury.


OBloodyHell said...

I flagged it as a scam. LOL.

OBloodyHell said...

> I doubt it, for if you pay people to be poor, you'll never run out of poor people.

I dunno, I suspect that if you also shoot poor people once they take the payment, I think the supply will dry up quite rapidly, one way or another...

Ya see, all it takes is to properly modify the program to make it in line with the natural order of things.



1 said...

Oh man OBH, hilarious!

"I dunno, I suspect that if you also shoot poor people once they take the payment, I think the supply will dry up quite rapidly, one way or another..."...:-)

Well that soon to be dump with the once sparkling pool has to be better than a trailer court, right?

OBloodyHell said...

Well, I think the real problem is that society has lost the distinction between being compassionate and being encouraging.

Being on the dole should always have a serious negative stigma attached for anyone who has even the vaguest ability to be and get off of it. And that's the difference between being compassionate -- providing for such anyway -- and being encouraging of it -- "Hey, there's nothing wrong with being a useless leech and sucking at the public tit!!"

The former is right and proper by Judeo-Xtian leanings. The latter is slow but steady societal suicide.

I wonder how many teachers these days teach the parable of The Ant and the Grasshopper in nursery school any more?

Bob in Los Angeles said...

1 -- Out in LA we call them 'trailer parks' and they are full of 'trailer trash' usually wearing a 'tramp stamp'.

OBH -- I didn't get the reference to 'scam' at first -- then I looked at the first link in the article. There is a 'scam' flag just like in Craigslist. LOL

Talking about negative stigma -- I remember when I was married my wife asked me about the school lunch program (look up the numbers on that sometime). She was very clear in that she thought it carried a great deal of stigma and should be avoided except as a last resort. Today, the social system goes to great lengths to avoid the stigma associated with accepting 'public assistance' even disdaining that term in favor of 'affordable' housing. Sheesh.