Sorry, Guys, But Mortgage Subsidies Aren't the Answer in Southern Dallas

SHZ_GetOffMyLawn_TitleImageV2.jpg
Interesting blow-black -- so muted you might call it whisper-back -- to recent stories and an op-ed piece in The Dallas Morning News extolling so-called economic progress in Southern Dallas.

One instance is on the paper's op-ed page today, a column from respected Southern Dallas blogger-journalist Shawn Williams, who echoes Dallas South News's Michael Hubbard's complaint about people who get excited about "an excess of low-income housing and a couple of fast-food restaurants" in his part of town.

"Citizens are no longer in the mood to give extra credit for window dressing," Williams writes.

I'm getting similar sentiments from callers, some of them from inside City Hall. They point to recent News essays by editorial writer Tod Robberson and minister-activist Gerald Britt, both all ga-ga about recent development projects in Southern Dallas that amount to more public housing and subsidized low-income housing.

Shawn-Williams-Headshot.jpg
Shawn Williams, president and editor of Dallas South News
In his op-ed on July 8, Robberson cited new public housing projects in the long-beleaguered Frazier and Dolphin neighborhoods as evidence of a renaissance. He also seemed to assign some of the credit for this incredible rebirth to The News editorial page's "Bridging the Gap" series, which called for tidier house-keeping in the city's southern black and Hispanic hemisphere.

"Some truly astonishing changes are happening," he wrote, "and they deserve attention even while our project continues to confront big problems plaguing the southern half of Dallas."

The same day, Britt took the whip to the city manager's staff for trying to convert a re-development project on Bexar Street from traditional private home ownership to a lease-purchase deal, which Britt sneeringly called "rental."

"We met with city staff," he wrote, "and demanded that they uphold the original agreement -- $425,000 for mortgage subsidies to 'seed' home ownership in the neighborhood."

They got it. Straight out of the general fund. Your taxes are going straight into a mortgage-subsidy program targeted at one program. Did you know that?

Shawn Williams is very careful in saying what I think he's trying to say about all this. Some of my callers are more blunt, mainly because they know I won't name them. The point is that neither Robberson nor Britt gets it: Public housing is not change. It's more of the same sad story.

Mortgage subsidies have a terrible track record of producing not home ownership but default, defeat and despair. If you want to do some eye-opening reading on the subject -- very tough sledding for old hippie liberals like me -- look at Gretchen Morgenson's new book, Reckless Endangerment. Morgenseon, a New York Times business reporter, and her co-author, housing finance expert Joshua Rosner, mercilessly skin and dissect a long, slimy history of scummy bastards in Washington and on Wall Street who have used minority home-ownership initiatives to line their own pockets and toss minority families onto the ash-heap of financial ruin.

In his own essay today, Williams makes what I assume is a very delicate and veiled reference to the current FBI corruption probe of Southern Dallas leaders, our second in recent years, and to the ongoing effort by older black leaders to stir up some kind of back-to-the-Civil Rights-Movement support for the embattled leaders in the churches.

"Protest and prayer vigils," he writes, "must be balanced with tough love and honest assessments."

Yeah. The purpose of the Civil Rights Movement, as I recall, was to produce equality of opportunity, not hand-outs and dependency.

Williams makes a point I have made here several times -- that the region's minority community is replete with very successful and self-reliant young families. They did it on their own, don't need hand-outs, don't want hand-outs and don't want their kids around people who want hand-outs.

That's why so many of them are in the 'burbs. Southern Dallas, meanwhile, is still stuck with a lot of leadership that can't get out of the '60s and can't tell a hand-out from a job.

Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, principle target of the ongoing federal probe, has said on multiple occasions that black people associate physical labor with slavery and find it demeaning.

That's bullshit. He finds it demeaning. People who have found success don't. People who find success, black or otherwise, do it the old-fashioned way. They work for it. How do we know that? Because there is no another way. (Again, take a look at the Morgenson-Rosner book.)

I don't want to fault private philanthropists like Walt Humann, who has done yeoman work in the Jubilee neighborhood in old South Dallas, mainly because I have known Humann for years and trust his impulses and integrity. But government-backed mortgage subsidies in this country have been financial landmines to people who have been their targets.

I assume the city wanted to do the Bexar project as lease-purchase to make sure the recipients could keep up a monthly mortgage payment. Britt's idea seems to be that merely putting up new buildings is the way to improve the economic lot of people in a terribly distressed community.

But buildings aren't crap. They're empty shells. They prove nothing. The test on Bexar Street comes over the next five years, as we see how those mortgages perform. Every family that fails on a mortgage is a tragedy, and the tragedy belongs not just to the failed family, but also to the people who put them in a position to fail.

What's the best way for a bad neighborhood to improve? It's for the people who live in it to get ownership of their own bad houses and fix them up gradually and modestly over the years. At the end of that exhausting process, people know how to own a house. It's not something people are born knowing.

Shawn Williams gets it. He cites freshly minted African-American state Rep. Eric Johnson as another who gets it. They're out there. The problem is, most of them are way out there -- spread around from DeSoto to Frisco, as far away as they can get from Southern Dallas and its culture of dependency.

This FBI investigation is the second debilitating chapter in Southern Dallas in three years. When history repeats itself this fast, somebody should be able to read the lesson.


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
104 comments
GAA
GAA

Handouts are an enabler. 

The Derelict
The Derelict

blacks and their programs, yada yada yada.  it's real simple - save money to  put 20% down, show 2 years of w2 or qualified bank statements, your last 3-4 pay stubs, decent credit at minimum (620 and up) and you don't need a fuckin' 'program'. and that includes you dear reverend.   

Judd D. Bradbury
Judd D. Bradbury

You are a great writer and a fair man Jim. Work is the great equalizer.

Church Lady
Church Lady

Reverend Gerald BrittMr. Jim SchutzeMr. Shawn Williams

Much respect for your integrity and your commitment to righteousness for allthe citizens of Dallas.

J. Erik Jonsson
J. Erik Jonsson

JS, good article, and Shawn Williams might be the most thoughtful observer of South Dallas.  Hell of a nice guy, too.

I would suggest to you, while you're rightfully picking on mortgage subsidies, that there's really no federal housing program that has a good track record.  Section 8 might be the best of the bunch.  But, of course, if we got rid of federal housing programs, hundreds of public corruption prosecutors might be put out of a job.

Brian
Brian

I'm not up to date on this particular issue of mortgage assistance, but there is something in the tone of this article that doesn't sound right to me. 

"that the region's minority community is replete with very successful and self-reliant young families. They did it on their own, don't need hand-outs, don't want hand-outs and don't want their kids around people who want hand-outs."

I've just finished reading Mr. Schultze's book "The Accommodation" and I have to say, one would be hard pressed to find a better expose on racial exploitation and exclusion in urban politics, housing, education. When sir, did you drink the cool-aid of "individual responsibility" verses governmental "handouts?" His tone seems to imply that groups heavily disadvantaged by political, economic forces that have shaped the very opportunity for advancement, forces outlined brilliantly in his book, need only go out, work, and make their way just like everyone else. 

In a discussion on home ownership and south Dallas, why are you not bringing up practices of red-lining, or other aspects of governmental and business exclusion/exploitation of this part of the city? If you don't believe in supporting home ownership for the poor, how about at least fair lending to those who might qualify? Home ownership has played a large role in the white middle-class wealth in Dallas, how about outlining how the black community has largely been excluded from this process? Did you find after years of calling for collective organization to fight systemic, racist policy, that your message was falling on deaf ears? This article wreaks of libertarian undertones. 

For one of the only sane voices of social justice in the city, I'm disappointed to see this change in tone...trading social conflict for individual responsibility allows you to take a more positive tone, and is much less a drag, but it is highly misleading and I would argue counter-productive for examining the racial conflict still at play in the city and nation as a whole. 

cp
cp

Shawn is so right and one of the cornerstones of my city council campaign was that we should do more for South Dallas (district 7) than tout housing projects. We needs jobs out here, and we need retail, but the retail won't come until people have good jobs near their homes, and the retailers can put together a working proforma. Otherwise nothing changes. Housing does NOT = economic development!

richard schumacher
richard schumacher

The lesson here is that government should not subsidize or underwrite home ownership for anyone, by any means. No mortgage guarantees, no interest deductions, no capital gains exemptions, nada.  It's all social engineering.

Obamatx2008
Obamatx2008

Who has spoken to those who have purchased those homes????? Anyone care to speak with them? How many of them have been foreclosed on? How many actually got mortgage assistance? Did anyone do their homework and talk to the people they speak of????

Honeybee
Honeybee

I don't understand the need for subsidies.If you have the down payment, a job to make the monthly payments, and a decent credit history, you get the mortgage.

If you lack any of those legs on the stool, the stool will tip over, so you don't get the mortgage.

If the down payment is the problem, won't a less expensive house require a less expensive down payment?

I must be missing something here bc it seems very common-sense to me:  lease to own is an incredible opportunity for people who struggle with the ability to save up a down payment.  Right?

Spotting people who can't even scrape together the down payment seems like an unwise idea bc then aren't they just glorified renters--except now their credit can get permanently ruined?

Like I said, what am I not understanding about the process?

Rev. Gerald Britt
Rev. Gerald Britt

I love it when Jim takes me on. First of all, thanks for reading the column! I always consider it an honor to know you're following me in some way...seriously. 

Secondly, you miss a point in the article. The subsidies of which I spoke were provided nearly 15 years ago (actually awarded by the council in 1997). Actually, the homeowners who purchased the homes had two subsidies: $12,000 (of the $425,000) and another $7,000 in AHP funds from the banks which provided the mortgages. So most of them have a subsidy of $19,000. The subsidies are forgiven after 15 years. They were not the same subsidies as Section 8. They were provided as a 'soft-second' mortgage to 'buy down' the price of the home as an incentive to attract home buyers. Each of the homeowners have a conventional mortgage (no sub-prime mortgage). Each one went through credit worthiness and credit repair courses to prepare them for home ownership. They received a mortgage only AFTER the bank deemed them credit worthy. 

If you drive through the neighborhood and look at the oldest of those homes you will see something that you will be hard pressed to see in a number of neighborhoods throughout Dallas (affluent or otherwise) NO FOR SALE SIGNS! Almost all the families who bought those homes, mostly around 1998-2000, are still in their homes. In my talks with the bank that financed the loans there have been almost no defaults. Personally, I remember only one and that was near the church I pastored in the area and it was quickly sold again. 

We considered the subsidy no different than what the city does to incentivize businesses in coming to Dallas with tax abatements that are deemed valuable (but which most businesses say play no role in their decision to move into the city). At the time, there was no vacant lot in the area with a taxable value of more than $3900. The homes built on those lots cost anywhere from $70-$90,000. Again, each homeowner is a tax payer. They pay the same tax based on the value of their home the way the rest of us do. Before the homes were built, a number of those lots were doing nothing but accumulating liens. 

Our preferred model was that of the Nehemiah Homes in Brooklyn, New York in which the subsidies were provided by a foundation and the city sold the land to a non-profit for $1. We couldn't get that deal in Dallas because Dallas can't/won't forgive back taxes. Subsidies were the only way we could figure out to make the homes attractive and affordable. 

Further, subsidies are not foreign to Dallas. The city already provides mortgage subsidies for first time homeowners through its Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP). Again, what you miss Jim, is that we identified the general revenue money from a line item in the city budget for demolition AFTER the city had declared a moratorium on demolition. It amounted to $425,000 of a $3 million line item that had not been reallocated. We wanted the additional money because we wanted a longer period for the subsidy to become forgivable (15 years vs. 12 years with MAP money) and because we didn't want people to say that we took MAP money from the rest of the city to focus it in low income area. The MAP money is also providing subsidies for the townhomes currently built on Bexar Street. Town homes, by the way, which are not 'public housing' but actual town homes purchased by a regular mortgage. 

You also fail to mention again Jim, that the demand that we made for the subsidy was a demand for a program to provide home ownership vs. rental. There are plenty of rent houses in South Dallas and, again, they were part of the problem. We needed to stabilize the neighborhood through homeownership which would make the case that people could and would move into the neighborhood and invest themselves in the area as neighbors and leaders. At least on Bexar Street, I think that case was made. 

It is, indeed a different case in the Frazier area, but you would have to have seen the area to know and appreciate what a difference that development is. It is indeed a mixture of public housing and Habitat Homes (there are Habitat homes in the Ideal Neighborhood as well). But it is preferable by far than the public housing that was there before. My aunt lived there when I was a boy and I remember rats in that development almost as large as cats! It didn't get much better as time went on. 

Its easy to point out that residents should improve their own properties 'over time'. But many don't own their properties. Many are seniors who can't afford or qualify for a loan to fix up their homes. Many are abandoned properties owned by absentee landlords. There are actually a number of proven strategies that must be employed to turn neighborhoods around. Some of them do involve public investment. But all of which must result in an infusion of 'new blood' if you will, to revitalize the area. It has to be deliberate and strategic to avoid gentrification. That is extremely hard work. I can criticize the city on a number of levels. But this is one case in which they may be getting it right. I happen to believe that they are. 

Again, Jim, I appreciate your work. But I think you are being a little convenient in how you're relating the emphasis and conflating what Tod, Shawn and I have written...

Shawn P Williams
Shawn P Williams

Thanks Jim for the discussion you have started here.  You are spot on in your assessment of how I crafted the column.  And my main hope was that it would spark more conversation on tactics (like the mortgage/subsidy discussion here) vs. individuals. 

You have heard the same thing that I have heard.  The sentiment is out there and I think people just don't know what to do and most don't feel like they can go on record as saying anything.  They don't know how to make a fundamental change in the structure of Dallas leadership.  The structure of Dallas politics....that's an entirely different story that I'm not ready or probably qualified to tell.  But you hear it too. What makes it harder is that someone like Commissioner Price didn't come out of "The Accommodation" mode of leadership from the previous generation (as told to me and is written).  That is very appealing.  I would rather have Price's leadership style than accommodation any day.  Now it seems like there's accommodation and there's what we have today.  There has to be a different model.  Though I don't know what that model is, I am glad that people are telling you and me that there has to be another way.

Student
Student

Several years ago anyone who could make a mark on a piece of paper qualified to buy a house with 110% financing. No money out of pocket. In every neighborhood. At every price point. Sure there may have been some small amount of screening. Some slight correlation between income and home value. But even that was changed when older models became inconvenient. Ratios were relaxed. Anyone who wanted to buy a house could and did. With predictable results. I was telling people as far back as 2000 that too many people were being sold homes. Folks who weren’t really qualified as borrowers. Folks who would default on their loans. Walk away from their obligations because they were never really home owners. Not really. I wondered then what the fallout would be. Now we all know. The US government created a deeply flawed policy directive years ago thinking that everyone wants to own a home. Many do. Most actually. Historically about two-thirds of the people want to be home-owners. Then the government distorted the marketplace with all the gimmicks we all have heard about since 2007 when the bubble burst. They succeeded in signing up more folks as home-owners, but they failed to create real “equity”. Meaning that while these folks ostensibly owned a house, they did not take real ownership of what they’d essentially been given.  At any price point. There are poor folks who are perfectly qualified to own their home. And they do. There are rich folks who are not qualified to own a home, and they don’t. And vice-versa.  When you distort a marketplace, watch out when the rubber band breaks and snaps back. If the rubber band is big enough it can cause real and lasting damage. Like this one did. A half a million dollars in down payment assistance or any other mortgage subsidy really isn’t very much money. Look at it as an opportunity to measure in a microcosm what the effect is over time. Track the recipients of these subsidies. What is the default rate over time? What are the commonalities both for those who succeed and those who default? There are grad students aplenty who could get their degrees with a study like this. Use this as an opportunity to figure out what works, understand why some things don’t, and make real and lasting policy changes that help real people where they live.  Dallas pisses away more than a half a million in far worse ways. Use it right and this actually might wind up helping. Maybe in the future you only get the assistance if you take continuing education classes in how to do things like live within a budget. Could be some parenting classes might be of benefit. Claw back clauses – live there for at least five years or you pay the money, plus interest, back. This is taxpayer money – it isn’t free. It is appropriate to put strings on it in order to make sure the taxpayer gets the most benefit from spending it. If a mortgage assistance program can bring up a neighborhood then we all are better off, we all benefit.

Knowing Dallas though, they'll spend the money, folks will succeed or fail as they will, but no real learning will happen. Pity.

JimS
JimS

Trash, here's the test: the idea that government can turn poor people into homeowners has had a many iterations over the years, going back to the HUD home loan guarantees that financed white flight under NIxon in the '70s, when Mitt Romney's dad, George was head of HUD. The HUD guarantees in the '70s, which put welfare mothers in 75-year-old houses with rotting infrastructure, all defaulted. 100 percent. Those defaults devastated northern cities. DEVASTATED them -- far worse damage than anything done by the riots. So here is my question, trash. Tell me about the major successes we have seen with programs designed to turn poor people into homeowners. Don't tell me about G.I.s after WWII. That was a returning working and middle class. I want you to tell me about turning poor people into mortgage-holders. Tell me your success story.   

Ben
Ben

It would help if the city stuck to their guns and finished the work they started. The Summer Breeze Apartments on Hatcher are a prime example of blight caused by the city. You cannot go take a peek at the Bexar project without seeing the quad-plex looking military barracks apartment buildings on Hatcher. They were half burned out, condemned, have code violation placards stapled to the structures. City never finished bulldozing the property, which was owned by a now bankrupt Summer Breeze LP. They have been abandoned so long that "people" have moved back in. Even hooked up some utilities, judging from the water that has been flowing out of one building since the 4th of July. Prostitutes are thick as flies in and out of those buildings too.

Those are some Honey Badger tough people.

trashtalk
trashtalk

They are subsidized because most people write off the interest and taxes for a good 15 years unless the owners paid cash.

The government subsidizes home ownership for the middle class and wealthy.

trashtalk
trashtalk

And how many versions of bullshit are you selling today?

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

South Dallas needs jobs, decent jobs with benefits, jobs that are housed in South Dallas.  Then the people of South Dallas wouldn't need the "miracle" of new subsidized housing projects.  Because new new housing project is, at bottom, the same as the old housing project, the same poverty and despair is just hiding behind a newer door.  The people of South Dallas needed/need the Inland Port as badly as we need rain right now.  Imagine what  economic engine that 60,000 people with a steady paycheck in their pockets could have been.

Shawn P Williams
Shawn P Williams

Thanks for your words.  I'm gonna have to forward this one to the Mrs.  I'm really getting my thoughts around this mortgage discussion.  I think there are broader themes to be drawn from this portion of the discussion

Whodunnit
Whodunnit

In retrospect, the loss of the 60,0000 jobs at the Inland Port, because of the greed of just a few, is now weighing very heavily.

StudentOfHistory
StudentOfHistory

To an extent retail follows rooftops...if the folks under the rooftops have disposable income.

Rev. Gerald Britt
Rev. Gerald Britt

Obamatx2008,

This is one of the owners of the town homes not the single family homes we worked to get built in the '90's. My contacts at the city have told me this is being addressed. I think it's also important to note that even since this channel 8 broadcast nearly all of the town homes have been purchased, have contracts pending or have been completed and are now listed. It's not stopping anyone from moving in...

Rev. Gerald Britt
Rev. Gerald Britt

Honeybee, 

I think its important to emphasize again, that this was nearly 15 years ago. The purpose of the subsidy was for it to serve as in incentive. Neighborhoods are generally not stabilized through lease purchase housing - especially when there is already disproportionate rental housing in low income areas. That certainly was the case in the late '90's. The families who purchased the homes are, again, people who have been paying mortgages. They had to live in the home for at least 15 years. If they sold the house before them, the city got that money back. Only first time home owners received the subsidy - much like the first time home buyer subsidy already available through the city of Dallas currently (and which has been available for years). The subsidy simply makes the home more affordable. 

ML Hoffman
ML Hoffman

I didn't see any mention of the fact by Mr Schutze or anyone else that the cohesive South Dallas was decimated by those in power running highways right through the area. That was earlier history but it had permanent effects. So did segregation in housing, schools, etc.

A soft second mortgage does not make a house public housing. The new owners did nto fail. Another factor for the Ideal Neighborhood was the nieghborhood cleanup, city code enforcement & improved police presence the city supplied before the hous e building was arranged. And the neighbors started to clean up their properties when the new houses went in. Dallas Area Interfaith & Rev. Britt hoped more neighborhoods such as Oak Cliff would be upgraded in the same way, rather than by gentrification.                                                                                         Someone said the GI BIll was used only by working class (as if poor people don't work) & middle class people. Plenty of people on the GI Bill were the first in their families to go to college. They were from poor families. That's when America's middle class grew and became a force in the country.

Phelps
Phelps

The idea that the choices are accommodation or a corrupt strongman is a false dilemma.

JimS
JimS

Price was brave and brilliant as a young man. He doesn't have context. He doesn't know that there is a world beyond Dallas, and so he thinks all his choices are within Dallas. I have a lot of limitations, too, as you see here. Some of the problems created my Price's and my age group will be solved only by a whole hell of a lot of funerals. I just hope nobody tries to hurry it up.

cp
cp

Such a very very good point!

JimS
JimS

The lease-purchase idea proposed by the city but derided by Britt as insulting might have accomplished some of the laudable goals you offer.

pak152
pak152

" I want you to tell me about turning poor people into mortgage-holders. Tell me your success story."

he won't as it is easier to sit back and poke a stick at you and everyone else. he doesn't want a discussion. he has his set of "facts" and he's going to stand by them no matter how much objective verifiable information is presented to him. It is much like trying to have a discussion with one of the AGW true believers or the anti-drilling crowd.

trashtalk
trashtalk

Rather than quoting from a book, why don't you interview the good Reverend and ask him why he saw this opportunity as a different iteration from those you cite? He is known to research programs before jumping on board.

Rather than using the Belo approach to journalism and reading a book or an article and then just rehashing it as a blog, go ASK the folks what they were thinking and what the results have been at this point. Britt isn't stupid, and he's remarkably insightful and honest.

If it was a bonehead move, he'll probably admit it.

Move back to your investigative roots and go see, then tell. Don't pull the Belo sit on your ass all day and issue random thoughts without moving off your duff style of well, whatever it is. Go see.

Guest
Guest

I don't know, according to the median income statistics and whatnot, I'd say that I'm middle class, and I didn't take the mortgage interest deduction this past year because it wasn't worth enough to make it worth more than the standard deduction (and I had a good bit of other potential deductions, too).

It's only when you make more than $75,000 per year (and only 20% of all tax filers make at least that much) that you're more likely to take the deduction than not (about 57% of those who earn between $75K and $100K took the deduction. The rate rose higher as income rose with nearly 80% of filers earning more than $200K taking the deduction).

If you, like me, make less than $75K per year, you're more likely than not to not take the deduction.

Phelps
Phelps

I love how not getting taxed QUITE as far out the ass is a "subsidy". Like all of your money belongs to the government, and you get to spend whatever DC decides to let you keep.

J. Erik Jonsson
J. Erik Jonsson

I know that housing has been a main issue for South Dallas for at least 50 years, and since I've never lived there or needed housing assitance, I don't want to be too strident about this, but is there any demonstrable benefit to the federal government's provision of housing?  I mean the actual subsidies, tax credits, grants, and federally owned developments meant to put people in stable, affordable housing (as opposed to fair housing regs that seem, to me anyway, to have been successful).  Have any of those worked?  And if not, why do they remain such a sacred cow not only in Dallas, but in lots of urban areas?

cp
cp

Yes and that is a BIG if.... I think the unemployment rate in parts of current council districts 4, 6, 7 and 8 that make up South and Southeast Dallas are well north of 65%. And yet some of our leaders brazenly tout certain housing projects and ice cream parlors ("We don't want Chili's! We want what we want!") as economic successes and for some reason voters swallow that up. That's not a sign of economic success when people don't have jobs, nor access to jobs, and I mean good jobs, not working at an ice cream parlor!

Obamatx2008
Obamatx2008

Rev. Britt, I don't think he wishes ill against the community. To me, he seems to be working just as hard as others to build it into a better place. I've met him a couple of time and thought he was a little bit arrogant, but found he looks way past the end of a street. For him the everything is possible when you open your mind and never take no for an answer. Most days he is outside in his yard talking to people as they past by. I know when I first talked to him I thought he was abrupt. He had many ideas and didn't care about playing politics. He ddidn't believe in waiting for someone else to do the community's job. I hope you are able to work with him and help him push for a better community.

Honeybee
Honeybee

If a subsidy works as you explain, where it's down-road-money and not enabling-money, I trust you that it is a good thing.

On the other hand, I personally think poor but responsible families would be better off if we subsidized home purchase for them in the suburbs where the schools are better (which impacts re-sale) and peer standards are much higher.

Why would anyone invest in the poor part of Dallas where the schools are especially bad and where crime is rampant?  Not good for them, not good for their kids.

Guest
Guest

You're looking for insult where none is intended.  "Working class" is the term of art for the poor, usually used by progressives to avoid exactly the insult you are imputing.  Some people like to assume that people who make good money don't work for it.  Truth be known, there are poor and rich that don't work (obviously for different reasons).  The only class that universally works for all their money is the middle class.   

Shawn P Williams
Shawn P Williams

 There are a lot of false dilemma's out there that hold people hostage Phelps.  It's a real dilemma until someone presents, rather provides an alternative.

Phelps
Phelps

BTW, the good Reverend did clarify why he saw this as an opportunity, and it supported Jim's assertion that throwing money at poor people doesn't turn them into mortgage-holders.  

Short answer -- they didn't do that.

cp
cp

Yes, Britt is very smart and I can't imagine him getting behing something dumb and senseless. He is one of the most caring people I have ever met. Still, there needs to be jobs, jobs and jobs in South Dallas. And I mean decent, good wage jobs, not a handful of opportunities to work at a local ice cream parlor or barbershop (Bexar Street)... 

Phelps
Phelps

Translation: there are no such programs.

JimS
JimS

Damn books.

Anonymous
Anonymous

It doesn't belong to the government, but in our country, we have decided that you pay federal taxes on your income. For some reason, we've decided certain spending decisions are "good" and we let you use them to deduct how much of your income goes to the government. Every deduction they give you is just a way of subsidizing one specific type of consumption. They let you write off real estate taxes, they let you write off mortgage interest, they let you contribute tax free to a 401K, they let your employer pay for your health insurance with no taxes, etc. Don't be fooled into thinking these deductions are put in place to help Joe Taxpayer. They are lobbied for, and fiercely, by the industries that benefit most. The realtors, mortgage bankers, and builders lobby for the mortgage deduction because it facilitates home purchases. The money managers (Fidelity, etc) lobby for the 401K rule. Employers and the health insurance lobby for the medical exemption because it tethers employees to a certain employer and helps them control a significant portion of earnings that would otherwise just go directly to employees. Local and state governments love the tax writeoff because it helps them keep their taxes higher than they otherwise would be. Seriously, New Jersey, California, New York residents would be screwed between their high income taxes AND high property taxes if the federal government didn't help defray those costs through the tax deduction.I'm all for lowering taxes overall, I just think we need to stop letting the government choose which types of consumption will be tax advantaged relative to others.

Shawn P Williams
Shawn P Williams

Many of the issues we face in Southern Dallas are issues throughout the country which is why it puzzles me why we act like these are localized issues.  Sure localized solutions are going to be the quickest fix, but there are systemic problems at work that cause the disparities that we see in African American communities nationwide.  It will take a dual approach to battle the mess caused by individuals and systems to fix it.  Usually we tackle both. I mean who wants to hear that slavery and Jim Crowisim is still part of the problem?  I know....no one.  But let's talk about how we still benefit from the wisdom of the founding fathers  or the greatest generation.  Anyway....what was I saying? 

Whodunnit
Whodunnit

Anyone want to wager on how long it will take the City to "address" these issues? This is the same group that has been misguidedly working on the Trinity River project since 1998, with very little to show for it. I wouldn't hold my breath.

Rev. Gerald Britt
Rev. Gerald Britt

Obamatx2008,

If you're talking about the gentleman in the clip, I never thought of his complaint any other way than as you describe it. In fact he is doing what I would hope all new residents in the area would do: continue to demand that issues within the purvue of the city, etc., be addressed in an effort to protect their investment. I haven't met the young man but I was told about him and, like I said, was told the issue is being addressed. I really would like to meet him. He sounds like a pretty solid guy...

Honeybee
Honeybee

I should have used the term "working class" instead of "poor". I applaud your efforts, by the way, to both help people and the city.Thanks for taking the time to address my questions.

Rev. Gerald Britt
Rev. Gerald Britt

When we began the program we were quite clear with people who applied for the homes - 1) this was not for everyone. The home buyers who moved in were not 'poor' by definition. They were 'working class' people who could afford a home in that price range and were not afraid to move into the area. 2) this was NOT a 'poor peoples' program. You revitalize low income areas by transforming them into mixed income areas. This takes more time & space to explain than I have here. But what happens when you do that is exactly what is happening on Bexar Street - new residents demand better city services, attract economic development because they have higher incomes and gradually drive out the criminal element. It doesn't happen overnight, but the ROI does indeed happen. How far does it go, it actually depends, but I was there as a pastor for more than two decades and I see it now. It is changing. And there are more opportunities. It will take time, community leadership and eventually private investment...

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...