HUD Secretary Ben Carson is proposing rent increases for low-income Americans who receive federal housing subsidies, because they need to find some way to pay for the 1.5 trillion tax break for the rich.— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) April 25, 2018
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson proposed tripling the rent of low-income households, a move that will impact millions of Americans on governmental assistance.
The changes planned by Carson to federal housing subsidies will have huge impact on the poorest households and will make it easier for the government to impose stricter work requirements.
The effort to restrict government aid to only people who “qualify,” something that Trump administration and most Republicans have been touting for some time, is called Welfare Reform 2.0. The changes will affect housing, food stamps and Medicaid.
Carson’s proposal would raise the rent of subsidized housing tenants to 35 percent of gross income from the currently imposed 30 percent of adjusted income. According to the HUD officials, more than 4.7 million people will be affected by this change. It will also increase the rent of the poorest families from $50 to $150 a month.
“Changes that are made to the rental structure ultimately have to be approved by Congress,” the former neurosurgeon said. “These are the suggestions that we are making.”
“There is one inescapable imperative driving this reform effort,” Carson said, talking about the reason he proposed the changes. “The current system isn't working very well. Doing nothing is not an option.”
“Every year, it takes more money, millions of dollars more, to serve the same number of households,” Carson added. “It's clear from a budget perspective and a human point of view that the current system is unsustainable.”
Carson said some tenants have found loopholes into the system, so he wants to “level the playing field.”
“They know how to include certain deductions that other people may not be aware of,” he explained.
Meanwhile, housing advocates bashed Carson’s proposed changes as “cruel hypocrisy” after wealthy Americans and organizations recently received tax breaks.
“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,” said Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
However, the tax cuts for the wealthy is not the only hypocritical move at play. Carson recently landed himself in hot water after he reportedly spent $31,000 of taxpayers’ money on a dining set for his office. The federal budget for redecoration is $5,000.
He later claimed his wife bought the dining set and he could not be held answerable for “something he hadn’t done.”
Thumbnail/Banner: REUTERS / Chris Keane