Thursday, December 9, 2010

Peon on a Rant II

Alas the ruling class cannot limit their behavioral experiments on the rest of us to enticing us to line up at the Halls of Commerce three days before Black Friday for a chance to rampage through the stores seeking one or another "doorbuster." They now want to perform experiments on the most precarious among us who seek assistance to stave off eviction. The focus of this "study" is to determine whether or not the recipients of aid from a housing program would be more or less likely to end up homeless if denied the aid. So petitioners are chosen by lot to be denied aid and given a list of other resources where they might receive assistance.

What's interesting is that the whole idea is silly. Whether or not they receive aid at one point has no impact on any future crisis they might face. People who are precarious with respect to housing (and that's a fair percentage of the population) are precarious all the time. If they receive aid this month or this year, ending that aid just restores them to the previous precarious position. If they stave off eviction this time, the next financial crisis--an unexpected bill of, say, $25--leaves them just as precarious the next time. It doesn't solve the fundamental problem, which is that some 30% of the US population shouldn't be in the private housing market at all. And sending the near-destitute who are facing eviction off for job counseling doesn't solve the immediate problem, and won't solve their longer-term problems until they've completed the course work for a Master's.

A couple of commenters noted that it stank of Tuskeegee, and others suggested that we should divide rich taxpayers into two groups, one of which kept its Bush tax cut and the other not, to see which group created more jobs.

HUD is advocating these kinds of studies. And I voted for this?

No comments: