Last October in Charlotte, Donald Trump detailed his vision for bringing “urban renewal” to America’s “inner cities.”
“The conditions in our inner cities today are unacceptable,” Trump said, before lamenting that the United States had “wasted $6 trillion on wars in the Middle East that have produced only more terrorism, more death, and more suffering — imagine if that money had been spent at home.”
Five months later, the Trump administration is considering cutting $6 billion from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to help fund a $54 billion increase in America’s defense budget, according to documents obtained by the Washington Post.
The U.S. already spends more more on its military than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, France, India, and Germany — combined.
Apparently, when Trump said that the conditions in our inner cities were “unacceptable,” he meant that our public housing is too well-maintained, urban communities are too well-developed, and the rent (for low-income people) is too damn low.
The president’s budget proposal would slash $1.3 billion from the public-housing capital budget, and $600 million from its operating fund. Funding for capital repairs in public housing is already so insufficient, tens of billions of dollars in backlogged repairs plague the nation’s facilities, according to a 2010 HUD report.
The Community Development Block Grant Program has traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support and currently receives $3 billion a year. The program brings bike trails, affordable housing projects, gyms, recreation centers, and other development projects to urban communities.
The Trump budget would eliminate the program entirely.
The Post offers this rundown of the cuts to rental assistance:
Under the proposal, direct rental assistance payments — including Section 8 Housing and housing vouchers for homeless veterans — would be cut by at least $300 million, to $19.3 billion. Additionally, housing for the elderly — known as the Section 202 program — would be cut by $42 million, nearly 10 percent. Section 811 housing for people with disabilities would be cut by $29 million, nearly 20 percent. Money available for Native American housing block grants would fall by $150 million, more than 20 percent.
The budget document is just a draft, and is likely to go through revisions before the administration unveils its budget proposal next week.
But even if the White House maintained all rental subsidies at their current levels, inflation alone would reduce the number of low-income families with access to affordable housing. The administration’s current HUD budget is, in essence, a plan to increase homelessness.
“You can’t overload the human brain. If you learned one new fact every second it would take more than 3 million years to challenge the capacity of your brain,” HUD secretary Ben Carson said during his first speech to the department, ostensibly describing his philosophy on housing policy. “So we need to focus a little less on what we can’t do and a little more on what we can do. After all, this is America, the ‘can-do society’ — not the, ‘what can you do for me’ society.”
Apparently, what our society “can do” is throw more of its poorest children onto the street for the sake of financing new weapons systems — and then tweet its shocked revulsion at the “carnage” in Chicago.