Letter to Ben Carson: Remake HUD
Mark Lamster writes a letter illustrating the litany of issues Ben Carson confronts as HUD Secretary.
“It is not for lack of spending. Americans devote a lot of money to subsidize housing, but the money doesn’t go where you might think it goes — to the people who need it most. If you have a home worth more than $250,000, you receive a bigger subsidy, through the mortgage interest deduction on your federal income tax, than anyone living in low-income subsidized housing.
We spend $120 billion annually on tax subsidies for homeowners. You will notice that your entire budget at HUD is somewhere around $45 billion. Our priorities are, shall we say, misaligned.
That imbalance means that your budget isn’t large enough to adequately cover your expenses. For instance, your current backlog for capital improvements in 1.1 million public housing apartments is about $30 billion. Your annual allocation for those improvements is, roughly, $3 billion. If you think, fine, in 10 years we’ll be caught up, think again, because deterioration, as any homeowner can tell you, is an ongoing, never-ending process. Every year, another $3 billion (more, actually) is added to your total. So at best, the system is treading water. But that’s not really a good analogy, because you can’t tread water if your head is submerged so deeply you can’t even see the surface.”
Read more: An Open Letter to Ben Carson: It’s Time to Remake HUD, Dallas News