Ilhan Omar: Back To The Sixties

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Back in the sixties, when “affordable housing” – i.e. having places more or less fit for human habitation to put the poor in – became a thing, America (like the UK) went on a binge of building it. It was awful – Soviet-style high-rises, or endless blocks of cheap townhouses and low-rise buildings, with brutalist architecture and inhuman landscapes…

…and that was when they were brand new.

Which wasn’t for long.

The results are a roll call of failure: Cabrini Green; Marcy Homes; Riverside Plaza; “Council Flats”. Places where generations of inmates, bereft of any free-market desire to improve things, didn’t; buildings that fell apart around their inmates, because they were “affordable” housing in markets that were growing more expensive by the year; places that became synonymous with crime, addiction, mental illness, bottomless despair.

Ilhan Omar wants to bring all of that back:

The “Homes for All Act” will invest $800 billion over 10 years and invest an additional $200 billion in a Housing Trust Fund, according to a release from the congresswoman.

In all, the bill aims to create 8.5 million new units of public housing with the $800 billion and 3.5 million private, permanent affordable housing projects for low-income families with the trust fund money.

The act repeals the Faircloth Amendment, which will allow the federal government to invest in new public housing for the first time since the 1990s.

Omar’s office noted the bill will make public housing expenses mandatory in order to “prevent future investment bias.”

“Making this spending mandatory ensures that the funding needs of all current and future public housing are fully met and cannot be cut in the event of a budget crisis or a change in Administration,” reads the release. Omar compared the mandatory spending to that of Social Security and Medicare.

On the one hand, what was that definition of “insanity” again?

On the other hand? The Twin Cities media won’t cover this, either.