Jail – the Liberal Paradise?

My friend Nola “Fanny” Guay is ticked off this morning. Someone sent her this poster by email:

Jail - The Liberal Paradise

“I hate it when people send stuff like this around that just isn’t true,” she said.

Me, too.

Especially when the truth is worse.

No liberal really wants to put the rest of us in jail. Not really. Not even the farthest green protester whose mantra is that the Earth would be sooooo much better without humans.

The poster should read,

Projects — The Liberal Paradise.
A little history of public housing in the United States: The first “model tenements” begin to appear in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn in the 1870s. Alfred Tredway White, a great believer in progressive reform efforts, built a series of buildings for the people known in the nineteenth century as the “deserving poor.”

The working poor, those hardworking people who couldn’t make enough to live in the nineteenth century were called the deserving poor.

Those first public housing residents were carefully screened. Only employed families with two parents were allowed. Alcoholics and those with social problems were banned.

There were other similar efforts but Franklin Delano Roosevelt introduced the first permanent, federally funded housing in the United States. His 1933 New Deal program, the National Industrial Recovery Act, directed the Public Works Administration to undertake the “construction, reconstruction, alteration, or repair under public regulation or control of low-cost housing and slum-clearance projects…” Liberal program.

Harry Truman’s Fair Deal dramatically expanded the role of the federal government in public and private housing with the Housing Act of 1949. Liberal program.

All the discontent with “Urban Renewal” led to Lyndon Johnson’s Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965. Liberal program.

Over those years the rules morphed from allowing only employed families and banning addicts to, in many cases, banning employed families and recruiting addicts. Poor, but maybe not so deserving. Still, the ways of keeping the poor, poor, do match the liberal mantra:

  • Each resident is exactly the same as everyone else.
  • Meals are provided free, along with exercise equipment, library services, television, and more.
  • Free healthcare is to be available on site.
  • Weapons are forbidden even for self-defense.

Now that I’ve done my Liberal pounding for the day, it is worth noting that the Conservative Banker approach to public housing is simpler: “indenture ’em with a mortgage.”

Join us next week when we wonder why under Obamacare (“Free healthcare is to be available to everyone”), a Key West family with insurance received two denial letters this past week for their 2-year old son’s Lymphoma treatment.


7 thoughts on “Jail – the Liberal Paradise?

  1. Only moderates and Occupy Wall Street protestors would consider the repayment of a contractual debt to be indentured servitude.

    –James Poleczech

  2. Indenture them with a mortgage?

    Doesn’t even take that. I figure I am renting my house from the county, given that (deed notwithstanding) they will throw me out on my butt if I don’t pay them MANY thousands of dollars a year for the privilege of keeping this house that I thought I owned free and clear with no mortgage anymore.

    I am indentured to the county.

  3. Tax payer = indentured? I would argue property tax to be rather less odious than income tax.

    I never heard of a Project with free food or healthcare or exercise equipment or library services. But when folks are not acculturated to the value of education and a work ethic, charity easily becomes necessity. How you prevent / correct that cycle without spending a shitload of money, I dunno, but it rarely looks like a good investment, and so people are left to wallow. I’m not complaining, that’s the human condition, historically. All we’ve done is shown it can’t really be fixed.

    • Don: “Tax payer = indentured? I would argue property tax to be rather less odious than income tax.”

      I wasn’t clear enough. Bankers want to indenture every possible citizen with a mortgage. Bankers don’t care about property taxes.

      FWIW, the property tax is far more regressive than the income tax, particularly on seniors who see their property taxes rise disproportionately to their income.

      Every child who qualifies for the projects gets free lunch and usually free breakfast at school. Most residents get free food stamps. Bookmobiles came around when it was still safe. I do agree the gyms are probably missing and a weedy macadam lot with a bent, netless hoop is a poor substitute.

  4. Ah, ok. The issue of property taxes outstripping fixed incomes is why we have Prop 13, but some folks, youngsters and outsiders typically, seem to think a fixed taxable value is wrong. They are of course mistaken.

    • I’m not sure property taxes are explicitly a liberal paradise other than as part of their love for taxation in general.

      200 and more years ago, property was the only means for generating income that could be nailed down, so a tax on property was a pretty reliable way for a government to collect revenue. It was also pretty progressive, since only wealthy landowners had it.

      The story has changed although the collection hasn’t. Now very few hold income-producing real property so taxes on it are actually additional taxes charged on income generated elsewhere.

      Property taxes are a truly bad idea.

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