As Trump’s tax plan is now law, we expect to see less of everything we’ve been needing here in the Emerald City.
We’ve just seen in Seattle that if your shelter hasn’t got enough people into housing it won’t get the funding it used to get. The thinking behind that was if there isn’t housing for those people to go to now, there will be. Because, magic? No wait, we can have federal funds to create new housing! Yay! That was why everyone backed the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness, remember? If it succeeded there’d be federal funds to reward us.
All Homes is the Phoenix from the dead Phoenix of that dead Ten Year thing, but it’s still basically the same bird, eyeing to feed off federal funding. “Let’s all get people into housing, and the feds will fund more housing, so we can get people into housing.” It’s the thinking that keeps crackpots trying to invent perpetual motion machines and spawns pyramid schemes.
The funding, at the levels needed, can’t be there anymore, because Trump’s Tax Plan will ensure that those funds aren’t raised. The federal money either won’t be there to help create new housing, or if it is, it will be there only as funding is gutted for other crucial needs — a process we’ve just seen played out locally.
Not all funds for new housing have come from the feds. But the lost funding will be substantial. Washington state and Seattle, without income taxes of their own, can’t pick up that revenue except by raising taxes that shift the overall tax burden onto the poor. The result will be added rent increases, driving more people into homelessness than ever before, which in turn will deplete more revenue sources, and lead to catastrophic failure of all safety nets.
The picture I just described is depressing me. When I’m depressed I like to share. So I thought it would be fun, seeing as 2017 is wrapping up, to reflect upon what an awful year this has been.
January-March: Donald J. Trump became president at a gigantic, mostly imaginary inauguration. Immediately, more millions of women wear pink hats and march in streets than ever before in history. Kim Jong-un initiated the now familiar love-spat between himself and Trump by firing a ballistic missile over the Sea of Japan. Ben Carson was picked to run HUD, and Betsy DeVos as education secretary. There are famines and refugee crises.
April-June: The United States uses the biggest non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal for the first time ever. Take that, Kim Jong-un. We all started getting those pop-ups on our computers telling us we have to pay or our computers won’t be ours anymore, so we have to find our off-switches. The United States announces it will pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, making us look stupider to the world than we did before. There are famines and refugee crises.
July-September: An iceberg the size of Delaware broke off of Antarctica. That’s what they told us. I have been to Delaware but could only see a little bit here, a little bit there. I have no idea how big the whole thing is. It turns out one Delaware is not a unit of measurement in either the English or the metric systems. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria hit the east coast and the Caribbean. Famines, refugee crises, yadda, yadda.
October through today, when I am writing this: One man in Las Vegas succeeds in killing 58 people in roughly 10 minutes. Had he been armed with a knife, I bet he couldn’t have done that. The United States announces it will withdraw from unesco because unesco insulted Israel by acknowledging the Palestinian authorities as a source of information about culture. Subsequently, the United States lets it be known that Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel, leading to a 128-9 vote of condemnation in the U.N. General Assembly, even as Trump tells them all he’ll cut U.S. assistance to them (nearly the entire world), and renewed threats to stop U.S. funds to the U.N. Trump has the fine diplomatic skills of a wrecking ball. Famines, etc.
And just now, Trump’s Christmas present to himself and all the rest of the rich, most of which takes effect January 1, 2018.
Have a Happy New Year. Go ahead. Don’t mind me.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor and has experienced homelessness several times. He has been involved with Real Change since he supplied the art for the first cover in November of 1994. This is his weekly column Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd.
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