Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Under the Radar, HUD Moves to Privatize All of America’s Public Housing

Author George Lakoff (Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate) unearths some troubling new legislation coming out of Housing and Urban Development. If PETRA passes, says Lakoff, it would be a big victory for onservatives and a huge blow to progressive values of fairness and good government. Taxpayers will be on the hook, tenants’ rights will be trampled, and private companies make out like bandits.

From BuzzFlash:

The Obama Administration’s move to the right is about to give conservatives a victory they could not have anticipated, even under Bush. HUD, under Obama, submitted legislation called PETRA to Congress that would result in the privatization of all public housing in America.

The new owners would charge ten percent above market rates to impoverished tenants, money that would be mostly paid by the US government (you and me, the taxpayers). To maintain the property, the new owners would take out a mortgage for building repair and maintenance (like a home equity loan), with no cap on interest rates.

With rents set above market rates, the mortgage risk would be attractive to banks. Either they make a huge profit on the mortgages paid for by the government. Or if the government lowers what it will pay for rents, the property goes into foreclosure. The banks get it and can sell it off to developers.

Sooner or later, the housing budget will be cut back and such foreclosures will happen. The structure of the proposal and the realities of Washington make it a virtual certainty.

The banks and developers make a fortune, with the taxpayers paying for it. The public loses its public housing property. The impoverished tenants lose their apartments, or have their rents go way up if they are forced into the private market. Homelessness increases. Government gets smaller. The banks and developers win. It is a Bank Bonanza! The poor and the public lose.

And a precedent is set. The government can privatize any public property: Schools, libraries, national parks, federal buildings — just as has begun to happen in California, where the right-wing governor has started to auction off state property and has even suggested selling off the Supreme Court building.

The rich will get richer, the poor and public get poorer. And the very idea of the public good withers.

This is central to the conservative dream, in which there is no public good — only private goods. And it is a nightmare for democracy.

To read the rest of the article and find out what you can do to help, visit BuzzFlash.

 
Related Articles:


BORN ON THIRD BASE author, Chuck Collins, to be interviewed by Bernie Sanders

On Tuesday, October 3rd at 11:30 a.m. EST, check out Facebook.com/SenatorSanders for a special Facebook Live event with Senator Bernie Sanders and Chuck Collins, Institute for Policy Studies, author of Born on Third Base, co-editor of Inequality.org. In case you miss the live broadcast, you can watch the replay on the Facebook event page. In […] Read More

Q&A with Kate Raworth about her radical new book, DOUGHNUT ECONOMICS

Q: First things first: Why did you want to write this book? A: I studied economics at university 25 years ago because I wanted to make a difference in the world and believed that economics – the mother tongue of public policy – would best equip me to do that. Instead, its theories left me […] Read More

Revisiting Naomi Wolf’s Call to Patriots–10 Years Later

Reading Naomi Wolf’s book The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot today is an eerie experience. Written in 2007, it detailed the ways in which the Bush administration was beginning to chip away at the freedoms of American citizens. It outlined the ten steps dictators or would-be dictators take when their […] Read More

Yes, America We Can Make It … Really

Uncertainty got you down? The political world may seem like it’s crumbling around us, but this we know: We can make it, America. Literally, we can make things. Houses. Gardens. Food. Below we’ve selected some of our classic how-to and DIY books (and some new favorites) to help you sustain your self, family, and community. […] Read More

Chelsea Green on Instagram: Our Most Popular Photos of 2016

What a year for Chelsea Green on Instagram! We began the year with 500 followers and are now fast approaching 4,000 photo-loving brewers, gardeners, cheesemakers, permaculturists, foodies, seed-savers, homesteaders, foragers, and more. Our most popular posts of 2016 say a lot about what makes you happy: mushrooms, innovative garden designs and techniques, tiny cabins, and […] Read More
+1
Tweet
Share
Share
Pin