Ben Carson is proving to not only be unqualified as the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, but also inhumane. The New York Daily News reported last week, “Carson is set to propose rent increases on Wednesday for low-income households and require those receiving federal housing subsidies to work. … The move needs congressional approval. The rent overhaul could affect 4.5 million families who rely on federal housing assistance.”
Now, some of the details have been revealed and it’s worse than we thought.
- The bill is called “The Making Affordable Housing Work Act,” which is a complete lie. The so-called reform package would require households that receive federal housing assistance to pay 35 percent of their gross income in rent, which is an increase from 30 percent.
- The bill would allow public housing authorities to force work requirements, which is backed by President Trump, who signed an executive order requiring agencies to evaluate “employment rules” for most public welfare programs. This is particularly scary because if there are little-to-no jobs in your area that aren’t paying a starvation wage, you may not meet their “requirements.” Allegedly, the requirement will be a 32-hour a week job, but what if you can only find a 20-hour a week job? Are you out on the street?
- The plan would also triple the minimum monthly rent for the poorest public housing residents from $50 to $150. The logic behind this? Carson believes higher rents will encourage tenants to make more money.
- An estimated 1.7 million people would be affected, 1 million of whom are children.
- The only good thing is the proposed changes would only affect “able-bodied,” working age HUD renters, Carson claimed. The disabled or elderly would not be impacted, but we are sure that could change any moment considering the threat to social security.
Remember, Carson once said people are “too comfortable” in poverty. Therefore, this is his way of making people as uncomfortable as possible. He told conservative outlet Townhall, “Instead of [public housing] being a stepladder it’s become a mode of life and, in many cases, for generation after generation of individuals and I don’t think it’s their fault. I think it’s the fault of the system that has basically sapped the incentive for people to work.” Yep, he thinks poor people are sitting back living the glamours life in public housing. In reality, Carson has blocked any real ways to get out of poverty, like the Obama-era Small Area Fair Market Rent rule, which would give people in low-income communities better access to jobs and schools. Carson and Trump have been blocking this since January.
What is most disturbing is that the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, when it should be $15 per hour. Maybe if Trump raised the minimum wage, people would have a better chance to get out of poverty — but 45 believes wages are too high. Moreover, wages are not matching the country’s rising housing costs.
This is the dream for Republicans — to completely dismantle social safety nets for the people most in need. It will only increase poverty.
The bill needs congressional approval so let’s hope Congress has more soul than Ben Carson.