My own (thankfully relatively brief) descent into poverty — when “between jobs” — validates these studies: the extraordinary stress and worry of trying to meet one’s obligations “cause people to think less clearly, to sleep less well, to contend with distraction and to internalize shame. But it’s the experience of deprivation that leads to the mind-set, researchers say. It’s not the mind-set that leads people into poverty, or that explains why many never escape it.”
In other words, Dr. Ben Carson has got it backwards.
Does ‘Wrong Mindset’ Cause Poverty or Vice Versa?
(Hat tip, Maura Casey)
Renters endure a severe housing affordability crisis that will only get worse through 2027, a Harvard study has concluded. “There are simply not enough quality, affordable rental units to house the millions of households paying over half their income in rental costs,” the researchers observed. In 2017, about 11 million people are”severely rent burdened,” according to the government: they pay more than half their income in rent.
Production of affordable housing units has been in decline since 2007. Industry representatives attribute this decline to “rising construction costs, decreasing federal dollars that funded other housing subsidy programs, and stricter state requirements to build homes for the lowest-income households.”
But an investigation by National Public Radio and PBS Frontline has found that there is “little public accounting” for how billions of tax dollars are spent on low-income housing. Some investors have made obscene profits from taxpayers in building housing for the poor. NPR:
The federal government used to build its own public housing, which still houses more than 2 million people today. The model was simple: The government built the apartment and became the landlord.
Some of the big, concrete high-rises became infamous for high rates of crime and their concentration of poverty. The government banned public housing construction in 1968 and began demolishing many of the buildings in the 1990s. But while direct federal construction went away, the need for new buildings did not.
So, in 1986, Congress developed a strategy to entice private businesses to build better affordable housing. That incentive came in the form of a tax credit. Since then, an $8 billion industry has evolved to help the government house the poor.ous
NYT: “How Homeownership Became the Engine of American Inequality: An enormous entitlement in the tax code props up home prices — and overwhelmingly benefits the wealthy and the upper middle class.”
Chris Ladd, former GOP Precinct Committeeman, author of The Politics of Crazy and creator of PoliticalOrphans, offers this insightful column in Forbes:
“Why are economically struggling blue collar voters rejecting a party that offers to expand public safety net programs? The reality is that the bulk of needy white voters are not interested in the public safety net. They want to restore their access to an older safety net, one much more generous, dignified, and stable than the public system – the one most well-employed voters still enjoy…
“Americans with good jobs live in a socialist welfare state more generous, cushioned and expensive to the public than any in Europe. Like a European system, we pool our resources to share the burden of catastrophic expenses, but unlike European models, our approach doesn’t cover everyone…
“Taxpayers fund our retirement saving, health insurance, primary, secondary, and advanced education, daycare, commuter costs, and even our mortgages at a staggering public cost. Socialism for white people is all-enveloping, benevolent, invisible, and insulated by the nasty, deceptive notion that we have earned our benefits by our own hand.”
Andrew Sullivan: “In America, as Charles Murray has shown in his extraordinary book, Coming Apart, the young and the smart and the talented — the people who would once have formed the core of these small towns — have long since fled to distant colleges and cities. They don’t come back. They would once have been the police chief or the town librarian or the school principal. They once helped make the town a well-run place with a clear identity, where the same families and networks lived together, died together, belonged together. These connections have attenuated … as economics supplants culture, as efficiency erases the individuality of inefficient places, as Amazon rips the heart out of shopping districts, as the smartphone removes us from physical space, and as many more immigrants and their culture alter the feel of a place in ways that disorient those with memories and loyalties.
“I don’t think we can understand the politics of this moment — Brexit, Trump, Le Pen — without noticing this abiding sense of loss. The middling city and small town are going the way of the middle class. Patterns of farming in rural America are being devastated…
“Jobs are vital not simply because of money — but because they give lives meaning, a meaning that now seems so remote people medicate themselves with opiates. People are grieving for a lost way of life. This is not racist or retrograde or even backward. It is, rather, deeply human….”
“…What we’re seeing right now, across the developed world, is a bid to retain the meaning of a culture and a way of life in the headwinds of faceless, placeless economics.”
Sullivan writes that the reaction to this economic dislocation: nationalism; saying no to globalism; a patriotism that does not scapegoat minorities or require loathing for other places, can be good. And Democrats need to harness it and lose their obsessions with gender, race and sex discrimination.