What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

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What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby Braininvat on August 22nd, 2017, 7:10 pm 

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/08/ben-carson-hud-secretary.html

Is Anybody Home at HUD?


Looks at how the Grover Norquist philosophy of drastically shrinking federal government is playing out in one federal department. And the problems attendant on the appointment of unqualified persons to cabinet positions, in this case, Ben Carson to run HUD.

A useful reminder that the public does not benefit from being overly distracted by Trump antics and tempests, while those most in need are looking at severe curtailments of assistance. Also calls into question Trump's stated commitment to improving infrastructure in the U.S.
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby zetreque on August 22nd, 2017, 7:26 pm 

One of my aunts is retired and depends on HUD housing or she would be homeless. I don't know how it all works but I know it's an important topic for her.
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby Serpent on August 22nd, 2017, 9:09 pm 

Did you seriously place any credence in that jobs-and-infrastructure rhetoric?
All protections are off.
https://www.nrdc.org/trump-watch/trump-declares-open-season-alaskas-bear-cubs-and-wolf-pups
There are no scruples in this administration. Did you seriously expect otherwise?
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby wolfhnd on August 23rd, 2017, 2:24 am 

The apartment building next door to me had been a nice place to live for thirty years. Last year it went section 8 and before the year was out it was totally vacated because the tenants had destroyed it.

There are two sides to this story and only the empathetic one ever gets told my the media now that Trump is president.
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby zetreque on August 23rd, 2017, 2:35 am 

All I know is that without HUD, good people like my aunt would be an even greater (don't want to use the word) burden on family and society. She worked hard most of her life contributing to society but her retirement is still nothing. I'd rather not get into her personal story but greedy selfish people that buy into this pyramid capitalism scheme of everyone fend for themselves just can't comprehend the real world in all it's complexities called society and what gives them what they have. This government makes me so sick.
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby zetreque on August 23rd, 2017, 2:54 am 

I have also noticed the homeless population get much worse lately. The people who deserve donations and money aren't getting it and the ones getting the money are the beggars, lairs and cheats who don't deserve it. People have gotten so bold lately.... going door to door in private neighborhoods and getting in peoples faces at outdoor cafes begging that clearly aren't that deserving of the help and are just abusing the situation for the people who actually need help.
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby BadgerJelly on August 23rd, 2017, 3:05 am 

From link in the OP:

But HUD still serves a function that millions of low-income Americans depend on — it funds 3,300 public-housing authorities with 1.2 million units and also the Section 8 rental-voucher program, which serves more than 2 million families; it has subsidized tens of millions of mortgages via the Federal Housing Administration; and, through various block grants, it funds an array of community-uplift initiatives. It is the Ur–government agency, quietly seeking to address social problems in struggling areas that the private sector can’t or won’t solve, a mission that has become especially pressing amid a growing housing-affordability crisis in many major cities.


I think this explains something of the mentality behind the issue. If the "private sector" doesn't, or cannot, help then the situation is a very difficult one to deal with.

Given the extreme ends of politics being talked about today we may be seeing an effect of anti-socialism and anti-capitialism being taken to different extremes? It may just be that things have always been like this hard for me to know without doing some intensive research. Even then I'd probably be biased toward this or that perspective. Just found it an interesting thought.

If we view the situation like this then we can see the rational thought behind it. It is a very common thing voiced by many people and people differ dramatically in their feelings about "hand-outs"/"helping hands" given the problem at hand. We see the same issue with health care in the US too (I admit I am not from the US so my understanding of the whole culture is particularly myopic and viewed through my goggles of bias.)

Personal views aside here I am curious to hear what you think about the whole administration taking up the theme of "tough love"? Should we be putting onus more on the private sector to intervene or on public funding? Essentially I have tended to see a strong resistance to social policies being voiced from the US (again bias in mind here), and I am not saying socialism or capitalism is "bad", but I cannot help be drawn to many parallels of conflict involving this, and many other, binary led argumentation.

Is there an across the board reduction in funding of social funding? Is this necessarily a "bad" thing? There seems to be an obvious need in my heart for a very careful and considered balance. In altering the balance how willing is the government going to be in taking responsibility for the inevitable see-sawing effect directly during and after?

In the UK this kind of topic was brought up too, regarding the aging population. There is an economic problem that either needs to be ridden out by careful sacrifice, or by altering the system in some way.
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby BadgerJelly on August 23rd, 2017, 3:12 am 

zetreque » August 23rd, 2017, 2:54 pm wrote:I have also noticed the homeless population get much worse lately. The people who deserve donations and money aren't getting it and the ones getting the money are the beggars, lairs and cheats who don't deserve it. People have gotten so bold lately.... going door to door in private neighborhoods and getting in peoples faces at outdoor cafes begging that clearly aren't that deserving of the help and are just abusing the situation for the people who actually need help.


As I was typing you seem to have touched on what sticks out to me. We seem to be stuck between wanting to help and not wanting to help. Who "deserves" help?

Where I live a lot of people live on the streets, and I say to myself "I wish I could help." I could help, and I don't. What does this say about me? Is it easier to make excuses, is it really about being too much of a commitment? Or would some little kindness go a long way toward "helping" another even if the effect of such an act may very well amount to nothing?

These are hard questions we flinch away from. No one wants to look at the monster in the mirror, we just want to project the monster on others (sometimes deservingly and others time not. I very difficult problem.)
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby zetreque on August 23rd, 2017, 3:17 am 

The problem is one of hidden costs. When you look at the system we live in, we have a lot of hidden costs. It's those hard to deal with or invisible costs that ultimately get neglected and left to the government to figure out to keep the machine going.

I don't know if I should be attempting to figure out this system in such a small amount of time but thinking through it you have the private sector creating jobs right? Something allows the private sector to create jobs and it's usually exploiting natural resources. So the population moves in and grows. Then when something in the economy or the resource goes wrong people are then abandoned. I guess unions would be one attempt to prevent the exploitation of labor and retirement. So in all of this, hidden costs are ones of pollution and ones of neglected or abandoned people. Also within this system is often lack of support network to keep people physically and mentally healthy so they will often turn to drugs or crime. So then we lay blame on the people (often veterans) for being drug addicts, criminals, or lazy bums after the system used them and spit them out.
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby BadgerJelly on August 23rd, 2017, 3:26 am 

There is the case of the "intellectual" resources too. The whole economical structure, at least in western society, seems to be shifting toward a new kind of commodity, the commodity of "information" and "intellect" over physical labour.

Anyway, I'll let Biv return incase he wants to take this topic in another direction. I am just voicing part of a whole cluster of thoughts here regarding economic structures and ethics, whilst trying to determine the current shape of things before getting carried away with possible solutions to cherry-picked problems.
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby wolfhnd on August 23rd, 2017, 4:31 am 

The people in the apartment building I mentioned got up at 11 am and starting drinking and taking drugs. By 7 pm they had finished barbecuing and were starting to get belligerent. A fight broke out almost every night. By 3 am they went indoors apparently to repeat the pattern the next day. Welfare much like winning the lottery is an enabler of self destructive behavior.

Are there jobs for people addicted to the above lifestyle? Of course not. That doesn't mean there would be jobs for them if they they lived any other lifestyle. It also doesn't mean that they wouldn't have alcohol and drug abuse if they had jobs. The problem however is that there is no motivation to straighten out their lives that comes from having responsibilities.

The problem of underemployment is a coming crisis that is of sufficient urgency that placing blame is no longer practical. As it grows so to does the need for a responsible underclass. Equality will not cure this disease because it is in too late a stage. It is not something the government can address through welfare programs. The poverty is as much spiritual as it is physical and no amount of money will solve it.
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby Serpent on August 23rd, 2017, 8:21 am 

This issue seems to underline the failure of government in society - not just the current destructive administration, but a succession of previous administrations at all levels.
One reason I can see for that failure is the lack of a unifying vision or philosophy. It seems to me that the citizens are constantly, deliberately and very much to the detriment of their effectiveness as voters, misinformed of the activities of government and the true purpose of proposed legislation.
Another is the ubiquitous role of money in politics and jurisprudence; its importance almost to the exclusion of other considerations: the tool becomes the guiding principle. People are so accustomed to this, they discuss the cost of things with no quantitative or temporal or demographic application. They receive information with no fixed terms of reference or material foundation - just $ figures floating in air.
The third major cause is selective blindness in the whole culture. To physical, numerical facts in public discourse. To cause-and-effect chains in political debate. To the future beyond the next campaign in political agendas, or the next news cycle in attention to events. To the past and how situations arose. To the science of what's possible and probable. To the growing disparity in populations and how it widens the rifts. To injustices and cruelties. To anything inconvenient.

Everybody wants to point out a local pimple; nobody wants to diagnose a systemic infection.
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby zetreque on August 23rd, 2017, 11:36 am 

wolfhnd » Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:31 am wrote:Welfare much like winning the lottery is an enabler of self destructive behavior.


This is far too generalized of a statement and I'm not sure it's entirely correct. It's much more complicated than that.
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby zetreque on August 23rd, 2017, 11:39 am 

Serpent » Wed Aug 23, 2017 4:21 am wrote:Everybody wants to point out a local pimple; nobody wants to diagnose a systemic infection.


That's because if they looked at the systemic problems they would realize just how bad our system is and they can't profit as much off of changing it to something better. Also, it's hard to come up with a systemic solution that is understandable enough to convince people to change. It often goes above their heads and they will resist such a change to the system.
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby Braininvat on August 23rd, 2017, 11:59 am 

Just a minor correction, on the mythos of people getting public housing assistance:

Most have some employment, but simply cannot afford housing due to soaring rents. An anecdote about some people in a nearby Section 8 building is not too evidential or useful in understanding the big picture.

Funny how the people who are so rabid about not raising the minimum wage, are also lacking in concern for housing that is priced out of the reach of lower wage workers.

I can't help noticing that at least one reply came from someone who clearly did not read the article. When you read it, and address its actual points, then we'll chat. Until then, have a nice day.

Sure, let's just let a mother of two (if she's single, let's be super judgmental and tell her how naughty she is for not keeping a Dad around!) who is working at Walgreen's for $9/hour and taking all the overtime she can physically endure, become homeless due to high rents. She and the kids can live in a car! Self-reliance! Go fishing for dinner in the river! Wait, no worries, the private sector will swoop in like a team of superheroes and save her! Jimmy Carter has a Habitat home already built for her!
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby Braininvat on August 23rd, 2017, 12:07 pm 

Personal views aside here I am curious to hear what you think about the whole administration taking up the theme of "tough love"? Should we be putting onus more on the private sector to intervene or on public funding?
- Jelly

I think Z. and Serpent have addressed this, from different angles. It's pretty clear, from where I'm sitting here in the USA, that the private sector would not accept much "onus" in dealing with a housing crisis. Small, clean, affordable apartments are not where the "profit center" of most companies is found. Nor is helping the already homeless. The attitude of tough love, unfortunately, has been too strongly linked with a Darwinian approach to the poor. There's a reason that Pope Francis finds Trump pretty disappointing as POTUS.
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby zetreque on August 23rd, 2017, 12:15 pm 

A personal account is how bad housing keeps getting where I have grown up and live. It's never been as bad as it is now. Large corporations from the other side of the country are trying to develop the S**T out of this place and countless people keep attending the county meetings against it because of the many clueless flaws in their plan they do not address housing. They severely under build the affordable housing for their employee base. Making it even more difficult I live in a seasonal tourist town so they would have at least half their affordable housing units sitting empty for a portion of the year. Attending these meetings and seeing the clear ignorance and greed coming from the private sector destroying and over developing my home is sickening. They are destroying the very reason tourists come here in the first place.

I haven't even addressed the increasing wealth gap. There is no housing for the laborers that support the wealthy retreats. I can get a job so easy here it's ridiculous just because I live like one of the poorest people just so I can have a roof over my head. Easy to get a job here because no one in the labor force can afford to live or even commute here, but the pay is minuscule.

Even companies that try to be ethical and intelligent like Google just contribute to the problem by continually holding private retreats here and many of the overpaid google employees buy second third and forth homes here once they discover it.
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby Serpent on August 23rd, 2017, 1:07 pm 

zetreque » August 23rd, 2017, 10:39 am wrote:
Serpent » Wed Aug 23, 2017 4:21 am wrote:Everybody wants to point out a local pimple; nobody wants to diagnose a systemic infection.


That's because if they looked at the systemic problems they would realize just how bad our system is and they can't profit as much off of changing it to something better. Also, it's hard to come up with a systemic solution that is understandable enough to convince people to change. It often goes above their heads and they will resist such a change to the system.


In fact, a number of very smart and well-informed people have done a great deal of research and compiled huge amounts of factual, quantitative data on each of the major social problems of the US in the last 30 years. They and their successors would be more than happy to correlate and organize that information, and reconcile the several solutions offered by their authors. Too bad they were [phtui! pthui!] academics.

For example, I heard an interview the other day (heard from the next room; didn't see the man's name) with someone who explained the usually overlooked role of incarceration - which is far, far, disproportionately high in the US compared to other industrial nations. When you let them out of jail, which not only didn't solve their social unfitness but added new layers to it, they have a hard enough time getting a job anywhere, let alone if they're confined to the parole board for extended periods. So you have a growing population of chronically unemployed, demoralized, hopeless and substance-dependent men.
That's one factor that's been considered in a body of work regarding the demographics of social assistance.

There are serious works on the structure of cities, on the function of government agencies, on the justice system, education, agriculture --- it's all available.

Instead, last election, a people accustomed to obsolescence decided that their country is broken, so they'll just throw it away, rather than attempt to repair it. Too bad they'd maxed out their credit and can't buy a new one.
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby zetreque on August 23rd, 2017, 1:21 pm 

Serpent » Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:07 am wrote:Instead, last election, a people accustomed to obsolescence decided that their country is broken, so they'll just throw it away, rather than attempt to repair it. Too bad they'd maxed out their credit and can't buy a new one.


that's pretty much what I meant. It is there but it's too out of reach to make a critical momentum to change. In fact there have been some very smart people going back hundreds of years who already figured this out, but greed prevails.
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby wolfhnd on August 23rd, 2017, 2:57 pm 

Unless you have actually worked with these agencies I don't think you can appreciate how inept they are. That would be bad enough but many of the problems involved as I stated are as much spiritual as they are poverty related. The opiate crisis among low IQ whites is just one example. Marx isn't going to help you solve this problem.
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby Serpent on August 23rd, 2017, 3:01 pm 

Yea. If it didn't make me sound too pessimistic, I'd have
extinction means never having to fear the future
engraved on my coat of arms.

Really, though, we both know it's not all that complicated. Local community initiatives have solved a whole slew of local problems, without downloading a bunch of new ones on the system. And much of the system itself is still functioning in the face of overwhelming odds. Most of the people are still decent, if a bit disoriented. It could still, maybe, recover....
Meh - not my problem; I'm going extinct pretty soon.
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby zetreque on August 23rd, 2017, 7:52 pm 

Drug addiction was mentioned earlier in relation to housing and here is something I was listening to today on the radio.

One of the ways this theory was first established is through rat experiments — ones that were injected into the American psyche in the 1980s, in a famous advert by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. You may remember it. The experiment is simple. Put a rat in a cage, alone, with two water bottles. One is just water. The other is water laced with heroin or cocaine. Almost every time you run this experiment, the rat will become obsessed with the drugged water, and keep coming back for more and more, until it kills itself.

The advert explains: “Only one drug is so addictive, nine out of ten laboratory rats will use it. And use it. And use it. Until dead. It’s called cocaine. And it can do the same thing to you.”

But in the 1970s, a professor of Psychology in Vancouver called Bruce Alexander noticed something odd about this experiment. The rat is put in the cage all alone. It has nothing to do but take the drugs. What would happen, he wondered, if we tried this differently? So Professor Alexander built Rat Park. It is a lush cage where the rats would have colored balls and the best rat-food and tunnels to scamper down and plenty of friends: everything a rat about town could want. What, Alexander wanted to know, will happen then?

In Rat Park, all the rats obviously tried both water bottles, because they didn’t know what was in them. But what happened next was startling.

The rats with good lives didn’t like the drugged water. They mostly shunned it, consuming less than a quarter of the drugs the isolated rats used. None of them died. While all the rats who were alone and unhappy became heavy users, none of the rats who had a happy environment did.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-ha ... 06936.html
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby wolfhnd on August 23rd, 2017, 8:45 pm 

Well that is more or less the point I was trying to make about drug addiction in so far as it goes beyond a physical problem and has a "spiritual" component. Fixing the housing problem doesn't fix the isolation that comes from not being committed to the broader society. We can't bring Nietzsche's God back to life and social justice as currently conceived is no substitute.
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby Serpent on August 23rd, 2017, 9:59 pm 

wolfhnd » August 23rd, 2017, 7:45 pm wrote:Well that is more or less the point I was trying to make about drug addiction in so far as it goes beyond a physical problem and has a "spiritual" component. Fixing the housing problem doesn't fix the isolation that comes from not being committed to the broader society. We can't bring Nietzsche's God back to life and social justice as currently conceived is no substitute.

Fixing the housing problem in creative, intelligent ways will, in fact, change the whole texture of the lives in that housing. You don't need a very broad society to feel connected to your immediate community - you just need 1. a healthy environment 2. an opportunity to do useful work and earn status 3. an emotional support structure and 4. physical security. Well planned, well built housing can go a long way toward providing those things. Dumping random damaged people into a grey cement block won't.
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby BadgerJelly on August 24th, 2017, 1:07 pm 

Biv -

I think Z. and Serpent have addressed this, from different angles. It's pretty clear, from where I'm sitting here in the USA, that the private sector would not accept much "onus" in dealing with a housing crisis. Small, clean, affordable apartments are not where the "profit center" of most companies is found. Nor is helping the already homeless. The attitude of tough love, unfortunately, has been too strongly linked with a Darwinian approach to the poor. There's a reason that Pope Francis finds Trump pretty disappointing as POTUS.


If the state doesn't deal with and the public sector doesn't, then the problem is on the doorstep of communities. Someone, somehow seems to need to put more pressure on the private sector maybe? I image a large number of people stick to the idea of "I pay my taxes, I do my bit." If it isn't enough, it isn't enough.

Other options are too "cut your losses", build for the future, and stem the loss of blood as best you can. Sounds callous I know, and it is, but I think the "business mindset" (which appears to be the kind of mindset running the US) is exactly that which is driving the current decisions.
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby Serpent on August 24th, 2017, 3:13 pm 

It's not as if people have just been sitting on their duffs all this time. There are local community improvement initiatives all over the country. People do care. Even quite a lot of businesses care.

http://www.jllrealviews.com/trends/blight-city-highlight-urban-renewal-projects/
https://www.highgrove.net/blog/5-of-the-united-states-coolest-urban-renewal-projects
http://www.useful-community-development.org/community-development-ideas.html
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032114009149
http://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/attach/2016/01/ucs-fixing-food-report-jan-2016.pdf
http://www.mufg.jp/english/csr/csrreport/2014/pdffile/detail/65-68.pdf
http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2859&context=etd

and HUD has been a key player - when it was allowed to operate as intended.
https://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD
It may not be the perfect government agency, but it's an important one that cannot soon be replaced.
This Carson doesn't come across as a bad guy. Not from this address, anyway:
https://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/speeches_remarks_statements/2017/Remarks_071817

Lack of expertise and experience need not necessarily be insurmountable obstacles to effective leadership - if
1. he meant it
2. he kept the most competent department heads in place
3. he were strong enough to demand reasonable support and funding

- but that doesn't seem likely, does it? More probable that the boss, the wife and the cronies see his appointment as an invitation to the all-you-can-eat real estate buffet, in which case an awful lot of decent, low-income people are screwed --- iow bau
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Re: What is happening to federal agencies like HUD

Postby zetreque on August 24th, 2017, 10:41 pm 

One way the private sector is trying to contribute positively to this problem is B Corporations. aka Benefit Corporations.

https://www.bcorporation.net/
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