Wednesday, January 9, 2013

More Subsidies from the Fiscal Cliff

After all the ballyhoo about that horrible fiscal cliff and the need to raise taxes to sustain existing levels of spending, can you believe this administration wants to hand out more subsidies?

Many years ago my late mentor George Peters wanted to toss around the topic of why subsidized housing, like the accessible retirement project where he was living, couldn't have garden space. At the time I wasn't aware that separating poor people from garden space had actually been part of an "Agenda," although it has; what I knew was that when I talked to people in Washington and its suburbs, lots of people wanted to weigh in on what was wrong with accessible retirement projects, all right, but theirs all sounded so much worse than his that Mr. Peters gave up on doing anything with this topic. (We got a couple of responses from the Bladensburg Towers project, which had garden space, but most of the retirees weren't doing much with their garden space because they were being terrorized by the granny bashers. This made Mr. Peters and his neighbors feel wealth-guilt.)

Anyway, I can tell you firsthand that John Stossel's right: Very few people who get into subsidized housing, unless it's by semi-illegally subleasing a furnished room in someone else's flat, ever get back on their financial feet. Partly that's because a lot of them are retired and/or disabled; their life goal is just to stay out of a hospital or nursing home as long as possible. But it's also because welfare in any form is a psychological addiction. If you're getting "need-based" benefits, and anything you do to reduce your neediness merely cuts your benefits, there is a real temptation to hunker down and watch your life go down the drain as it seems that the best thing you can do for anyone you care about is just to become needier and needier.

I live in a part of the country that has long been known, with some justification, as a place where people get sucked into welfare addiction. Become takers, not makers, for life. And if I could do one more good thing in my lifetime, it would be to help a few other people out of the downward spiral of welfare-cheating.

Dittos, John Stossel. Megadittos. Although I've found plenty of "yes-buts" in your book, I highly recommend this Town Hall spite of the annoying pop-ups that infest