A common rationale for federal policies to expand homeownership is the desire to reduce observed racial differences in homeownership. Receiving the most attention has been the gap in homeownership rates between white households and African-American. The current homeownership rate for whites is 76.5 percent (2007), while that for African-Americans is 54 percent, leaving a gap of 22.5 percent.
In a recent post on earmarks and federal grants, I cited the crazy example of HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program funding facade renovations for a wine bar in Connecticut. Now a Michigan newspaper reports that Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo is looking for $220,000 in CDBG money to expand its facilities.
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) has introduced the Cut Unsustainable and Top-heavy Spending Act, which would cut spending by $44 billion annually. Brady’s effort moves in the right direction but it is a very modest fiscal reform effort.
The Washington Times says that the upcoming farm bill re-write could “sow division in the GOP.” While House Republican leaders John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Kevin McCarthy voted against the 2008 farm bill, the new chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), is a dedicated supporter of farm subsidies.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is poised to axe or significantly restructure a number of high-profile weapons platforms, and otherwise rein in the Pentagon’s budget. The reports present these initiatives as intended to preempt greater scrutiny of the military’s budget by Congress.
The origins of the federal government’s statutory debt limit can be traced back to 1917. Congress has voted to increase the limit numerous times over the decades, including 10 times since 2001.
A top agenda item for the incoming House Republicans is to immediately start cutting spending. The GOP promised to reduce “nondefense” (or alternatively “nonsecurity”) spending for 2011 to the 2008 level, representing a $100 billion cut. GOP leaders are now being accused of backsliding on that promise, so let’s take a look at the numbers.
Federal taxpayers helping foot the tab for renovations to a local wine bar? It sounds crazy, but that’s par for the course with HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program.
In 2006, Chris Edwards discussed FEMA’s “deep-seated and long-standing” record of wasteful spending on Bill O’Reilly’s radio show. At the time, a government auditor’s report found that at least $1 billion out of $6 billion in one FEMA aid program for Hurricane Katrina was paid out fraudulently, including money spent on a Girls Gone Wild video.