Section 8 Housing (10)

1 Name: Anonymous Speaker : 2011-02-17 11:17 ID:3Ak7ZvfJ

In the United States we have something called “Section 8” which is a housing subsidy. The way this works is that if you’re sufficiently poor, the government will make up part of your rent. Say an apartment costs $1000/mo and you claim to be only to afford $700, the government will kick in $300. I live in a particularly high rent area and the subsidy brutalizes the market. Why would landlords bother getting what they can from people when they know they can get that plus a government check? In the end, the subsidy ruins everything. If you want to rent, you’ll either overpay or end up on the subsidy yourself. If you want to buy, prices are inflated due to the potential rental income on any property which is always improved by the subsidy. The people that this program benefits most are not the poor, but rich people that own apartment buildings (by the way, state housing is almost nonexistent here and usually no safer than Mogadishu when available).

Surely now is the time to end this nonsense. Our government has better things to spend its money on (education and roads... in Iraq). Let the landlords try to get what they were asking before and chances are they’ll fail. It may precipitate its own crisis with a crash of the rental market, but if it turns out that was propped up with bad government policy, wasn’t it bound to crash eventually anyway?

2 Name: Anonymous Speaker : 2011-03-23 04:06 ID:fcA6EsJZ

What a thought provoking post, OP! For instance, my first thought was "this person has no idea what they are talking about." You see, we really don't have section 8 housing anymore. The Department of Housing and Urban Development now favors a Housing Voucher program. Their website does an excellent job of explaining how the program works. For instance, folks who receive housing vouchers have to pay 30% of their income towards rent and utilities. If that amount were $700, why, then their family income would disqualify them from receiving any vouchers!

Consider the following information, OP: around %15 of American households are below the poverty line; somewhere around %2 of American households receive vouchers. Tack onto that the concept of rent showing inelasticity in regards to supply and demand while it generally follows property value and inflation. Put all of this together and you'll find that housing vouchers add less than $dick to your taxes and rental rate.

Now, let me end with an anecdote, OP. I live in a 1200 sq foot apartment with fancy fixtures and vaulted ceilings. This costs about $1200 per month, an amount affordable to any voucher recipient with more than one non-spousal dependent. Why doesn't anyone there receive vouchers? Because folks living below the poverty line can't afford to put up 3months of wages for the security deposit.

3 Name: Anonymous Speaker : 2011-03-23 07:32 ID:3Ak7ZvfJ

OK, since that didn't work...

What I wanted to weasel this into was the idea that we should be building state housing projects rather than handing money to slumlords. Isn't that money better spent?

(By the way, how can Fox News make empty arguments that people actually believe? Study as I may, I still can't quite grasp the magic. Maybe I need to make my arguments to dumber people or maybe I need a chalkboard and an air of authority)

4 Name: Anonymous Speaker : 2011-03-29 06:00 ID:3q84QCw2

Alright, OP, I'll bite.

I acknowledge than an undetermined percentage of Housing Voucher funds go to slumlords. However, the Housing Voucher program provides a means for impoverished families to move out of the hood.

Besides, we've tried large scale government housing before. They're typically referred to as "the projects" and aren't really considered any safer than "the slums" proper.

5 Name: Anonymous Speaker : 2011-03-30 07:07 ID:3Ak7ZvfJ

OK, so what is it about America that screws up a good idea? A lot of other countries have state housing and it's not the scariest place in town (never is it the nicest). I think we have this inability to take things as far as they need to go in order to work. Rather than build sufficient state housing for all that might want (or even need) it, we build only enough for the poorest of the poor and then warehouse them there. As usual we can't risk socialism taking root and take every step to ensure its failure.

Basically my argument is that if there were enough state-owned units on the market, the working class would fill them out and dilute the destitute that are normally the only takers. That's likely wishful thinking. I also prefer the government making an investment in itself rather than just handing out checks to rich people that own apartment buildings. Why rent when you have all the resources to own? Also wishful thinking.

I don't know. Maybe the solution is more in capitalism and we should stress ownership. The only way to really get the housing that people can reasonably afford onto the market is to restructure taxes to make income properties unappealing. I'm all for this too.

Anyway, any other ideas?

6 Name: Anonymous Speaker : 2011-04-06 13:10 ID:MXxq1Nlh

>OK, so what is it about America that screws up a good idea?

That's a valid question. Without any particular research or reason, I would imagine it has a lot to do with politics (is it a great society program or an entitlement program?) Besides, who has better access to politicians of any stripe? Would it be bankers and landlords or the poor?

The problem isn't with the housing voucher program, or even with section 8, but rather it seems like the poor are invariably victims of systemic flaws in American style capitalism. For instance, how do you define what is "working class"? Not even thirty years ago, the working class consisted of unskilled laborers in manufacturing. Mills, mines, factories. America's largest private sector employer was General Motors, a job that paid enough to support owning: a nice suburban home, a late model vehicle, a modest boat, a cottage in the country, and a family vacation at least once a year. Now, America's largest employer is WalMart, where hourly employees can't dream to afford any one of those things.

So, even if we radically restructured our political system so that the rich didn't have an enormous ability to buy influence, and got past our silly idea that private industry is necessarily more efficient than public endeavors (newsflash: it's not) and managed to build a flood of state housing, it'd be one state of poverty rounding the ranks of the destitute. Neither of those classes shows much hope in the arena of social mobility.

This may well lower rent rates across the board. I still don't feel it's really an acceptable solution. I guess that's why I still support the voucher program as an alternative to other tenable solutions. Recipients have the ability to follow jobs or transfer to other areas.

For what it's worth, housing vouchers can be applied to mortgages. But even with stellar credit and a qualified cosigner, the banks demand at least a sizable down payment. We're talking several months worth of wages. We've tried giving away mortgages to people without the capital to make a down payment. The banks collected several years of payments, foreclosed on the opportunity, and resold the property back to the public.

That brings me to a fairly interesting tangent that I'd like to digress on. Home ownership is not the status quo in a lot of European countries. The US is markedly different in that the idea of buying a home is seen as a universal cultural value. Some time after the big stock market crash of 2008, a group called RSA Animate posted a Youtube video of a Marxist economics professor lecturing called "Crises of Capitalism". One of the claims that he makes is this notion of home ownership dates only back to the 1930s. He goes on to claim that the idea was propagated because "debt incumbent home owners don't go on strike".

This isn't to say that the European way is better or that ownership shouldn't be a vaunted ideal. Rather, it's meant to contrast the differences in the American norms versus that of other developed countries. I'd be interested to see if their public housing institutions are more equitable than ours, and corresponding data on their rent rates.

I'm all for restructuring taxes on landlords, too. But capitalism is shitty in that the merchant usually shifts taxes onto consumers. Ergo, if you increase taxes on leased property, the vendor will gradually incorporate the costs of taxes into their assessment of the property value. Of course, there is a threshold, but it encourages landlords to maximize their returns.

You might not be off, though, because rental rates couldn't increase beyond a certain threshold. You'd have to establish the tax rate beyond where it harms the consumer and all the way to the point that it benefits the public. That might not decrease rent, but it ought to increase living standards.

7 Name: Anonymous Speaker : 2011-04-06 13:10 ID:MXxq1Nlh

The only real solution I can see is finding a way to drive wage inflation faster than price elasticity. Government programs like the WPA, rural electrification, and building freeways paid well, and forced the private sector to adjust their wages to compete. The New Deal introduced all kinds of social welfare programs like poverty relief and THE MINIMUM FUCKING WAGE. Unions also had a huge impact on wages and living conditions for workers across the board, even those in non-union shops. Think overtime laws and forty hour weeks.

A real minimum wage increase would really be the first solution I would present, because it is the most rapidly dispensed form of compensation. Several years ago we saw an increase in minimum wage from 5.25 an hour to 7.15 or some such. Organized labor did a bang up job lobbying for that one. But it's not enough. The British non-profit newspaper "The Guardian" had an article explaining that if minimum wage had increased at the same rate as business profits, it would be more than $15 an hour. That essentially doubles the wages of workers across the board, and it even means better wages for skilled workers and middle management.

This probably exposes American capitalism's greatest defect: regulatory constructs must constantly be erected to buttress the inequalities it gravitates towards. Honestly, that's why I started so hostile with >>2. The Internet is crawling with RON PAUL libertarians and mises styled anarcho-capitalists who want everyone to believe that if we leave the capitalist class to their own devices, it will benefit everyone including them. When I saw you suggesting that we essentially terminate a necessary public welfare program, I assumed the worst and responded as such. Sorry about that.

8 Name: Anonymous Speaker : 2011-04-15 11:10 ID:3Ak7ZvfJ

Hmm... the main thing of interest I saw here was mention of the voucher program offering mobility. I'm not sure that's 100% true. Granted of course state housing might tie them down even more. What I'm trying to say is that the ideal of home ownership works in much the same way. People can't just up and move to follow work because they often have so much invested in their home. They're willing to take lower wages if it means not abandoning their investment and eventually end up in far worse shape than they would have if they could just leave at will (oh yeah, and why do businesses seem to uproot and relocate like clockwork? Or is that just a west coast thing?)

Anyway, even those on vouchers are not necessarily willing to up and leave the place they've always known even if all industry disappears (as it has pretty much everywhere; how many states hope, pray, and bribe substantially for Kia factories these days?). Add to that the cost of moving and the general glut of labor on the market and we're all stuck where we are.

Again, I have plenty of crazy ideas that probably have me on watch lists, but whatever. Maybe seize foreclosed properties to pay for TARP and sell them at substantially reduced rates to people of low income (rather than to rich people with the cash on hand who will rent them out for substantial profit; oh and then sell them to poor schmucks again in the next boom cycle right before the inevitable bust). If working people can live rent-free (in a reasonable amount of time, not 30+ years) they'll spend more in the local economy, care more about their neighborhoods, and generally improve the world. That's redistrubition of wealth though and everyone is opposed to it, espeically the dirt-poor.

Whatever. This country makes no sense. We're sticking with our economic model despite the obvious problems. We're going to sink like the Soviet Union which stuck to its economic model despite the obvious problems. Like the Soviet model, ours is turning into a religion (and Ron Paul is their messiah; sad). That's a little beyond the scope of this issue, though...

9 Post deleted.

10 Name: Anonymous Speaker : 2011-09-07 12:46 ID:OD8xY5gv
A Australian were warned by bus. Because, he was talking on the mobile phone. And he violated the person.

This is FORIGNER of Japan.

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