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

February 20, 2017
Bruce E. Levine
Humiliation Porn: Trump’s Gift to His Faithful…and Now the Blowback
Melvin Goodman
“Wag the Dog,” Revisited
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima: a Lurking Global Catastrophe?
David Smith-Ferri
Resistance and Resolve in Russia: Memorial HRC
Kenneth Surin
Global India?
Norman Pollack
Fascistization Crashing Down: Driving the Cleaver into Social Welfare
Patrick Cockburn
Trump v. the Media: a Fight to the Death
Susan Babbitt
Shooting Arrows at Heaven: Why is There Debate About Battle Imagery in Health?
Matt Peppe
New York Times Openly Promotes Formal Apartheid Regime By Israel
David Swanson
Understanding Robert E. Lee Supporters
Michael Brenner
The Narcissism of Donald Trump
Martin Billheimer
Capital of Pain
Thomas Knapp
Florida’s Shenanigans Make a Great Case for (Re-)Separation of Ballot and State
Jordan Flaherty
Best Films of 2016: Black Excellence Versus White Mediocrity
Weekend Edition
February 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
David Price
Rogue Elephant Rising: The CIA as Kingslayer
Matthew Stevenson
Is Trump the Worst President Ever?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Flynn?
John Wight
Brexit and Trump: Why Right is Not the New Left
Diana Johnstone
France: Another Ghastly Presidential Election Campaign; the Deep State Rises to the Surface
Neve Gordon
Trump’s One-State Option
Roger Harris
Emperor Trump Has No Clothes: Time to Organize!
Joan Roelofs
What Else is Wrong with Globalization
Andrew Levine
Why Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban?
Mike Whitney
Blood in the Water: the Trump Revolution Ends in a Whimper
Vijay Prashad
Trump, Turmoil and Resistance
Ron Jacobs
U.S. Imperial War Personified
David Swanson
Can the Climate Survive Adherence to War and Partisanship?
Andre Vltchek
Governor of Jakarta: Get Re-elected or Die!
Norman Pollack
Self-Devouring Reaction: Governmental Impasse
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Destruction of Mosul
Steve Horn
What Do a Louisiana Pipeline Explosion and Dakota Access Pipeline Have in Common? Phillips 66
Brian Saady
Why Corporations are Too Big to Jail in the Drug War
Graham Peebles
Ethiopia: Peaceful Protest to Armed Uprising
Luke Meyer
The Case of Tony: Inside a Lifer Hearing
Binoy Kampmark
Adolf, The Donald and History
Robert Koehler
The Great American Awakening
Murray Dobbin
Canadians at Odds With Their Government on Israel
Fariborz Saremi
A Whole New World?
Joyce Nelson
Japan’s Abe, Trump & Illegal Leaks
Christopher Brauchli
Trump 1, Tillerson 0
Yves Engler
Is This Hate Speech?
Dan Bacher
Trump Administration Exempts Three CA Oil Fields From Water Protection Rule at Jerry Brown’s Request
Richard Klin
Solid Gold
Melissa Garriga
Anti-Abortion and Anti-Fascist Movements: More in Common Than Meets the Eye
Thomas Knapp
The Absurd Consequences of a “Right to Privacy”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail