Friday, March 4, 2011

What's surplus? What's overlap?

Kind of nice to see that the White House and Congressional Republicans are agreeing to move seriously on disposing of surplus federal property. Of course all kinds of things may go wrong: The dubious blessing of free buildings with expensive problems like toxics; eviction of squatters, activist (like this) or otherwise; even decisions to call a thing "surplus" to get it into powerful private hands, like calling a neighborhood "blighted". Still, maybe better than letting properties sit empty in total inertia. And maybe this effort will get some more people indoors.

More worrying: GovExec says that's only the start of the Republicans' response to the GAO program-duplication report (on which prior items here and here.) So, yes, our comparatively fiddly and weensy federal homelessness programs do overlap, but they also house thousands of people. How will the likes of Darrell Issa and Tom Coburn try to merge them? The sensible answer is to give enough money to the old big blanket programs like Section 8 that can provide housing on a national scale. That, or, radical thought, just give money to people below a certain income and cut out the administrators. Unlikely we'll be seeing either of these approaches. Instead, presumably, fewer programs with less money and more self-righteous restrictions. Several steps back toward the workhouse. Eeesh.

Anyway, here's the link to the documents page for the House Oversight & Govt Reform committee hearing that GovExec is talking about. They used another silly foregone-conclusion title, this time with the words "refuse" (as in garbage) and "failed." In time maybe they'll understand how expressions of contempt reveal a speaker's inner voice. By then we can hope they won't have turned the whole "nonsecurity" government into garbage by labeling it as such.

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