Nancy Cooper, the District Inspector General for Audits (ie. the person responsible for making sure that taxpayer dollars go where they are supposed to go) recently issued a report regarding property owned by the Department of Housing And Urban Development. The following excerpt crystallizes her findings (emphasis added):
"HUD did not effectively prevent the costly and unwarranted demolition of HUD-owned properties by the City of Chicago. the City of Chicago had demolished THOUSANDS of HUD's single family properties within the past ten years. HUD HAS NOT TRACKED THE NUMBER AND IDENTITY OF THESE PROPERTIES. As a result, THE STOCK OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN CHICAGO HAS BEEN SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED. Further, the FHA mortgage insurance fund suffered significant losses. We estimate losses on a sample of 30 HUD-owned properties demolished by the City and sold as vacant lots between June 1998 and February 2000 between 6,223 and 9,142. HUD will continue to lose an estimated 3,017 and ,493,507 per year if it does not stop the City from demolishing HUD-owned properties."
"We also found that the City improperly used ,920 of Community Development Block Grant Funds in 1998 and 1999 to DEMOLISH 15 HUD-owned properties."
In a nutshell, HUD purchased a bunch of, for want of a better word, "slums", to use as low income housing. HUD then did what so many absentee landlords do -- forgot about them. The slums deteriorated to the point that the City demolished them. HUD was so unconcerned about the slums it was running, it didn't even KNOW that its buildings were being demolished.
Sadly, this is only the latest in a long string of debacles for Andrew Cuomo's HUD. While on the one hand, Cuomo has been utterly vengeful in his prosecution of companies which allegedly violated fair housing provisions, his own agency has been an everlasting boondoggle.
Case in point, a 1998 IG report found that HUD's operation was so disorganized that it could not even provide Congress with mandatory annual reports of its operations. See Audit Report 98-SF-174-0002.
Another example In 1993, HUD fined a number of homeowners 0,000 each because they dared to protest the placement of drug rehab home in their neighborhood. Judge Marilyn Patel, USDJ, in dismissing the fines, noted "the very act of informing plaintiff's that they were under investigation and potentially subject to fines up to 0,000 is sufficient to substantiate their claim that their First Amendment rights were chilled."
This story illustrates a "Bigger Point" I want to make, however.
Its a three part-er. Ready? Here it goes:
1. All Government action is based on one thing, COERCION, ie. FORCE OR THE THREAT OF FORCE.
To illustrate: People don't obey laws just because its "the right thing to do." People don't pay taxes just because they think its right. They do it because if they don't they will be subject to government coercion -- force or threatened force. This comes in the form of either fines, seizure of assets or prison.
(Sure, SOME people obey SOME laws because they are the right thing to do. Like most of don't kill each other for that reason. BUT, when you look at the TONS of new laws being enacted every day in this country, governing everything from the size of the type on a contract to the number of "Going out of business" sales a company can have, you realize that laws, as they exist today, are not grounded in moral absolutes. Eg. Did you know that when you have a scale, a razor bag and plastic baggies in one place, together, you can go to jail for possession of drug paraphenalia? Its true!)
Government is UNIQUE among all institutions in this regard. No corporation can use force. No corporation can bust your door down, seize your property and haul your butt to jail!
Government is the SINGLE BIGGEST THREAT TO OUR WELL BEING! Not Exxon. Not Citibank. Not even Microsoft.
Hey, did you know that the Government is the BIGGEST POLLUTER IN THE UNITED STATES!!! Check out the Boston Globe's November 1999 series! Every time the Shuttle takes off, it creates more green-house gases than all the cars in New York in a year.
Hey, did you hear about the guy held in prison in Florida for 3.5 years, WITH NO CHARGES BEING BROUGHT AGAINST HIM, EVER!! Check out the September 24, 2000 issue of Time. The Government cited "SECRET EVIDENCE" which it could not disclose for "National Security Reasons." Stalin, anyone?
Am I making my point? Say it with me: "Government Can Do Nothing Without Coercion".
So don't buy this "Government is benevolent, Government protects us from greedy corporate types."
The people who say that are usually POLITICIANS. And they are saying it to justify their exercise of power. (See point 3).
Government is not kindly and paternalistic. It is force. In the 20th century, over 100 million people were killed by their own governments. Hell, the US government wiped out almost the entire Native American Indian race!
More government programs = more force being used against more citizens.
2. Government Creates Nothing.
It takes it from me (by coercion), and gives it to you. (Or vice versa.) But I MADE THE MONEY. Not the Government. It did nothing to create the wealth, its just a PARASITE.
3. POLITICIANS AND GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS ARE UNTRUSTWORTHY.
Not original, but true. As you read the paper from now on, look for examples of Congressman taking bribes. Cops fabricating evidence and abusing suspects. Presidents lying about their sex lives/drug use/draft status. You won't be reading long before you find one, or two, or three examples. Try it -- its fun!
Now, if you've accepted these three things . . .
What do you do? You have an untrustworthy parasitic class of people who create nothing, live off the labors of others and HAVE UNLIMITED ABILITY TO USE FORCE TO ACCOMPLISH THEIR GOALS.
Here is what you do: You adopt a political philosophy as follows:
"Government powers must be limited. That government is best which governs the least. Individual rights must protected at all costs. We must vote for elected officials who believe in limited government. We must reject claims of politicians that government programs can solve our problems."
Now, guess what that makes you? That's right.
Ugh. Yuck. Yeesh. I'm gonna take a shower.
No, really, its okay. Trust me on this -- you'll live.