Monday, I used my new-to-me car Sputnik to drive to East Oakland and pick up a woman named Joyce from her housing project. We then went to the Oakland Housing Authority’s headquarters downtown for a press conference before the meeting of OHA’s Board of Commissioners wherein they would be discussing their disposition plan–a plan to dispose of 1,615 public housing units in the city, half of all such units.
The plan involves turning over each of the crumbling properties to an as-yet unnamed “affiliate” for one shiny dollar.
Because the OHA, like housing authorities all over the country, doesn’t have enough money to keep the properties open and maintained.
Because HUD (the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development) doesn’t have enough money to distribute to them.
Because three-plus decades of the neoliberalist push for privatization of every federal program under the sun, including all the safety nets F.D.R. put in place while trying to save the country’s citizens from the economic free-fall of the 1930s, has defunded public housing to the point where cities have no choice anymore.
So, when I’m told that we don’t have money for public housing, for federal welfare programs, for universal healthcare, for Head Start programs, for increased financial aid for secondary education, for aid to those homeowners and tenants caught up in the foreclosure crisis, I would sincerely like to know WHY THE FUCK $700,000,000,000–$2,500 of my money, and yours–is being demanded to help out Wall Street.
And so would Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio:
Marcy Kaptur bailout speech
Jay Smooth on Economics and Annoying Smart Guys, Or “How America Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Nerds”: