Last year Ben Carson — the failed presidential candidate who is now Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development — said in a radio interview that poverty is “a state of mind” and that anyone with the right attitude can find ways to make money.
Now, the retired neurosurgeon is putting his philosophy to work by demanding nearly five million low-income Americans living in subsidized federal housing pay more of their rent and go to work or face losing their homes at a time rental housing is more expensive and more difficult to find than it has been in years.
Responding to President Trump’s call to all federal departments to encourage “work and self-sufficiency” by those who get federal assistance, Secretary Carson’s prescription for the poor would at least triple the cost of rent for many low-income residents of subsidized housing.
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These are some of the poorest families in America. They can't afford a 200% rent hike. This will only lead to more homeless families, more hungry kids, and more desperation. https://t.co/HHbWZWDJq5
— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) April 25, 2018
According to The Washington Post:
“Tenants generally pay 30 percent of their adjusted income toward rent or a public housing agency minimum rent — which is capped at $50 a month for the poorest families. The administration’s proposal sets the family monthly rent contribution at 35 percent of gross income, or 35 percent of their earnings working 15 hours a week at the federal minimum wage. Under the proposal, the cap for the poorest families would rise to about $150 a month — three times higher than the current minimum. About 712,000 households would see their rents rise to the new monthly minimum of $150, HUD officials said.”
Carson also wants to eliminate deductions used to determine a person’s rent eligibility for medical and childcare costs.
Carson’s plan would exempt the most elderly and handicapped renters, but understandably brought an angry reaction from advocates for the poor.
“When we are in the middle of a housing crisis that’s having the most negative impact on the lowest income people, we shouldn’t even be considering proposals to increase their rent burdens,” Diane Yentel, President of the National Low Income Housing Coalition told The Washington Post.
Today, Carson laid out his plan which requires passage of federal legislation before the House Financial Services subcommittee before a hearing on rent restructuring.
HUD Sec. Ben Carson's proposal to raise rent & require those who live in subsidized housing to work is heartless — & based on the false assumption that low-income people don't work. It's the latest barrier to people getting help they need to make ends meet https://t.co/ivgByZxpxn
— Southern Poverty Law Center (@splcenter) April 25, 2018
As you might expect, Carson uses the usual double-talk to promote his and Trump’s plan to cut assistance to the poor while painting it as a favor to get them to step up and aspire to a better life.
“Today,” Carson wrote in a statement, “we begin a necessary conversation about how we can provide meaningful, dignified assistance to those we serve without hurting them at the same time.”
Translated, that means he will hurt them first by raising their rent and making it harder to hold on to their apartments unless they work.
What is really happening is that Trump’s war on the poor is escalating now that he has given trillions of dollars away to the rich in his tax “reform” and Carson is fully on board this Titanic of government ideas with no regard for how many lives it will disrupt or hurt.
So Ben Carson, who bought a dining set for 30 grand with taxpayer money, wants to raise the rent for low-income Americans in federally subsidized housing. This administration has moved beyond satire and is officially sadtire.
— OhNoSheTwitnt (@OhNoSheTwitnt) April 25, 2018
With Republicans in control of both houses of Congress, for now, this terrible, cruel, unfair proposed legislation has a good chance of passage and will be gleefully signed by Trump when he isn’t busy traveling to his golf resort or one of his many homes at the expense of the federal government.
However, that kind of subsidy is just fine with Trump and Carson. To them, it is only when poor people are being helped that the federal purse must be tightly shut.
Once again the only answer is for Democrats, progressives, and Americans who believe everyone deserves a safety net get out and vote in the primaries in November and beyond for candidates who will renounce the Trump-Carson doctrine of cruelty to those who are not already rich.