FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Frowning Face of Compassionate Conservatism

by CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI

Compassionate conservatism has many faces and most of them have frowns. They frown at everything from the environment to the poor.

During the 2000 campaign Mr. Bush proclaimed the environment one of his very best friends. He promised to fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the main federal land-acquisition program, to the statutory maximum of $900 million a year. Once elected Mr. Bush had lots of other things on what passes for his mind, and instead of asking for $900 million a year he asked for only $300 million leaving him $3.3 billion short of his promised goal.

As a candidate Mr. Bush promised that within five years he would eliminate the $5 billion maintenance backlog that confronted the Park Service. Today the cost of deferred maintenance is estimated to be between $4.1 billion and $6.8 billion. That leaves Mr. Bush with only slightly more of a backlog or slightly less of a backlog than when he took office. That is not to suggest that Mr. Bush has ignored the National Park Service. Instead of eliminating the backlog he has asked the National Park Service to create an inventory of the condition of roads, buildings etc. in the system. Once that inventory has been completed it will be possible for everyone to see what state his broken promises have left us in.

During each of the last three years Mr. Bush has said he wants to end the programs that provide health insurance coverage for people who cannot afford such insurance. In 2004 Tommy Thompson, secretary of health and human services announced that the department was awarding $11.7 million in grants to help 30 states set up programs to provide coverage to those people. If Mr. Bush is reelected, he’ll have a chance to eliminate the program in future years. That’s not the only program he may be able to eliminate.

In a May 19 memorandum pertaining to planning for the future, the White House Office of Management and Budget told departments FY 2006 budget proposals should use administration formulae that will result in significant cut backs on many domestic programs. Those cutbacks will permit increased spending for defense and homeland security. The Washington Post suggests that the Department of Education will have to reduce its budget by $1.5 billion to accommodate the new formula. Veterans’ programs will be cut by $900 million.

The budget for fiscal year 2005 reduces federal spending on low income housing assistance by $1.66 billion and cuts back the number of families entitled to that assistance by 250,000. Under an agreement reach in 1998, 75% of housing vouchers were to go to families with incomes less than 30% of the area median income. Under the new program individuals with up to 80% of the median income would be eligible to participate. Families with higher incomes need lower subsidies and thus the program will serve more people. On the other hand, it will reduce the number of truly poor families that will receive the subsidies. HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson does not think affordable housing is a big problem.

In a speech at the National Press Club lunch on June 17, Mr. Jackson said that in the United States “Rental housing is affordable and plentiful.” In making that statement he’d not read the State of the Nation’s Housing report issued one week earlier by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. It found that nearly one-third of all households spend 30% or more of their incomes on housing and 13% spend 50% or more. Almost two million households live in units described as severely inadequate. HUD”s own Worst Case Housing Needs says 5.07 million families have worst case housing needs meaning they are very low income, face severe cost or quality problems in their homes and don’t receive housing assistance. It says that “worsening shortages of housing affordable and available to extremely-low-income renters. . . . show the underlying gap between demand and supply continues.”

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, on a national basis, only 43 rental housing units are affordable and available for every 100 extremely low income families who need them. Even if those statistics had been seen by Mr. Jackson, they’d not have troubled him. As he explained in his first appearance before the House Financial Services Committee as Secretary: “being poor is a state of mind.” That said, it’s really hard to get terribly upset about the fact that those with a bad state of mind don’t have nice places to live. They don’t need new housing-they need attitude adjustments. Thanks to the Bush administration, that’s all they’re likely to get.

Brauchli56@post. Harvard.edu.

 

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
David Yearsley
Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Present Catastrophe
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail