Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gee Officer Kurpke, Krup You

Urban renewal was one of the pinnacle dreams of the Progressive/Social Gospel/New Deal streams of American economics and politics. Government "experts" decided which neighborhoods were "blighted", used the police power of government in the guise of eminent domain to take the property from it's rightful owners, and replaced the existing "slums" with (typically butt-ugly) housing "projects" that were often either government operated or handed out by government to political cronies. (In some cases the land was turned over to private corporate development).

We find ourselves in a position today of trying to figure out how to "fix" unsustainable programs of government provision of health care (Medicare and Medicaid). Other Americans receive government provided food (at school) , and we were in the 1950s well on our way to having government being a dominant direct provider of housing. (Instead, we had two government created frankenfirms, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, subsidizing home mortgages through smoke and mirrors).

This Reason TV program highlights the damage to the lives of the poor through one government directed "urban renewal program." I know I sound like a broken record, but no oppression of the poor is more condemned in the Bible than oppression of the poor that operates out of the domination of the government by the rich and powerful. Indeed, if you want to see what replaced the living spaces of the West 99th Street families, read the full story of what is now called "Olmstead House on Central Park West." Maybe for New York City a one bedroom apartment for $3,300 per month is a steal.

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