Sparta Report

Poverty is also a state of mind

Dr. Ben Carson created a kerfuffle with our friends in the left by saying recently that “Poverty, to a large extent, is also a state of mind.” He then went on to say “You take someone who has the right mindset, you take everything from them and put them on the street and I guarantee you in a little while, they’ll be right back up there.” Well, that seems reasonable and obvious. “And you take somebody with the wrong mindset, and give them everything in the world — they’ll work their way back down to the bottom.”

And, predictably, the left responded by blaring headlines that announced that Ben Carson says that POVERTY IS A STATE OF MIND. Gawd! What is wrong with these people?

All of this, of course, is wrapped up in money. The Obama budget for the “here’s some free money — now vote for Hillary” 2017 budget is $46.8 billion in gross discretionary funding. The Trump budget for FY2018 is $40.68 billion in gross discretionary funding for the Department.

I think it’s awesome. For the first time I can remember, an agency is actually eliminating failed and ineffective programs while committing itself to being more efficient by putting its money where its (very cavernous) mouth is!

The Administration is seeking the elimination of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, devolving the activities the block grant program supports to the State and local level.  Since 1980, and most recently in 2013, HUD studies found that CDBG is increasingly not well targeted to the poorest communities and has not demonstrated a measurable impact on communities. Similarly, the Budget proposes the elimination of HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, HOME Investment Partnerships Program, and the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP), because State and local governments are better-positioned to serve their communities’ needs.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requests $1,324 million for Salaries and Expenses (S&E) accounts in fiscal year 2018 (excluding S&E for GNMA and OIG), which reflects a decrease of $33.7 million and a reduction of 204.3 Full Time Equivalents (FTE) from the fiscal year 2017 Annualized Continuing Resolution (CR) levels.

We can (and no doubt will) argue over the extent of the cuts, but an attitude of:

  1. Returning to core missions of the federal government and HUD in particular
  2. Challenging HUD to do more with less
  3. Eliminating what is wasteful

is long, long, long overdue.

As Dr. Carson said:

Our duty in government and in HUD is to provide the avenues, the mechanisms, to allow anyone who can get out to get out, and I think that’s going to be most people.

It’s not to give them free money!

And now we get to watch “Republicans” (and I say that very loosely at this point) try to convince us all that HUD really needs to spend more of our money. We already know what the Democrats will do so need to need to even state the obvious.

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