The Weekly Fix: Putting a Roof Over Politicians’ Heads?

The fix is in. State and local government officials are benefiting from the dysfunction of low-income housing development projects, while taxpayers are left paying the tab.

Congress spends billions of dollars each year on low-income housing nationwide. While federal legislators sign the check, state and local politicians are responsible for putting that money to use.

It turns out, when you give billions of dollars to elected officials and don’t monitor how they spend it, things go awry. Shocking, right? Reason magazine highlighted a few of the most egregious examples of low-income housing waste, fraud, and abuse nationwide:

1. California

State Treasurer John Chiang works to appropriate $94.9 million in federal tax credits to California’s low-income housing developers each year. Chiang uses this opportunity to kick millions of dollars toward his own campaign donors.

2. Georgia

The Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA) gave $114 million in federally funded loans to a development company that never paid it back and owes $29 million in interest. It gets better: the AHA promised to sell the same company $137 million of land for only $20 million, but claims to have no memory of this agreement and now wants out. Good luck with that.

3. Michigan

The state was given $761 million to protect families from losing their homes during the financial crisis. The money was never spent and was later used to knock down the abandoned homes.

4. Navajo Housing Authority

The Navajo Housing Authority (NHA) received $803 million in federal funding, yet only completed building around 1,000 homes.

Federally-funded, low-income housing programs are a case study in the failure of central planning. Representatives neglect to make sure tax dollars are allocated appropriately at the local level because most of the time, the recipients aren’t even in their home districts.

If the federal government continues to “solve” low-income housing issues by mindlessly writing checks and never following up, we can only expect this cycle of corruption to continue.

It’s time to take a stand. The American people aren’t being heard by their representatives because the game is rigged. Government isn’t broken. It’s “fixed.”