At the time I wrote yesterday's post, I had not noticed that the New York Times' lead editorial of the day was about the exact same subject, Mayor de Blasio's plan for dealing with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). The Times' title, "To Save New York's Public Housing," really tells you all you need to know. As usual their way of looking at the world is just completely opposite to mine.
In essence, the Times' take is that "saving" NYCHA is a sacred duty and that de Blasio is bravely undertaking this heroic task.
Of all the monumental tasks that Mr. de Blasio has set for his administration, none may be more important than saving the New York City Housing Authority.
Needless to say, they completely steer clear of adding up the costs. They never ask whether this could possibly make any sense compared to other things that could be done for the money, including ways of providing the same amount of housing for a fraction the cost. And, God forbid, they certainly do not remotely consider ways of actually removing the beleaguered residents from the lifetime poverty trap in which NYCHA imprisons them. Oh, and somehow they seem to have completely missed the fact that the big dollars of de Blasio's "rescue" plan consist of transferring large amount of costs off NYCHA's books and hiding them elsewhere in New York City's accounts.
Then I came to this one line that I thought I could agree with:
Its apartments are high-rise, brick-and-mortar insults to the very idea of a city committed to equality and dignity for the working class and poor.
Yes! thought I. But then I realized that they meant by that the exact opposite of what I thought they meant. I at first thought they meant that it's an insult to the idea of a city committed to equality and dignity for the working class and poor to imprison them in grim and hideous poverty traps where the only way they can collect on their supposed "good fortune" of a highly illiquid lifetime gift of deeply subsidized housing is to remain poor, show minimal measurable income, and live off government handouts. But the next lines show that the Times has something very different in mind:
But only when tenants begin to see significant repairs made, with visible improvements in their living spaces and surroundings, and tangibly more competent and responsive management, will it be possible to say the mayor’s ambitious plan is on the right track.
So the Times thinks that if only the City taxpayers spend a few more billions on "significant repairs" and "visible improvements in their living spaces and surroundings" then NYCHA will no longer be an "insult" to "equality and dignity for the working class and poor."
Well, New York Times, I've got news for you. After those next few billions of taxpayer cash go down the rat hole of NYCHA, these will still be the same grim and hideous buildings. And even if the roof no longer leaks, the residents will still be in the same insulting and demeaning position of having to live the life provided to them by their overlords and masters with no ability to improve themselves unless they walk away from their multi-million dollar unsalable in-kind "gift". They won't have any more ability to move to a different apartment that better suits their needs, because they only won this one place in the lottery. They won't be able to sell it, rent it, borrow against it, or monetize any part of it to improve their lives. The fundamental "insult" to the "equality and dignity of the working class and poor" is not a leaky roof or a broken window. It's being trapped by handouts into a life of dependency on the government.