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Housing Vouchers: Equal Opportunity Crime-Sharing

Written by Gary North on August 23, 2013

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has adopted housing vouchers as a way to finance families’ escape from the inner city. The program is described here. It is part of a much larger program. HUD has launched a comprehensive program to move inner-city residents into the suburbs. HUD will do this at taxpayers’ expense. The story is here.

The city of Memphis adopted this strategy in the mid-1990s. The statistical results began to be evident in 2005, the year I moved from Arkansas to just south of Memphis on the Mississippi side of the city line. Guess what happened to the crime rate in suburban Memphis — neighborhoods often occupied by middle-class blacks. You don’t need to guess. You know. The story is here.


A voucher is a government subsidy to people who are economic failures. This is the bottom line, but with no sugar coating. The voucher system is another welfare state program. It takes money from successful people, turns it over to unsuccessful people, thereby allowing unsuccessful people to buy into a little of the lifestyle of successful people, but without becoming middle class.

A voucher is a government subsidy of a specific kind. It is a partial subsidy. In the language of economic theory, it is a subsidy at the margin. It allows a few people living on the bad side of town to rent or buy on the better side of town. I use the word “town” as a substitute for “lifestyle.” The bigger the federal program, the more people there are who can buy into the preferred lifestyle.

The recipients of vouchers need not change internally to be eligible. In fact, they are subsidized not to change internally. If they go out and get jobs, they will lose their vouchers. So, they sit tight, culturally speaking. Their attitudes do not change. Their view of economic cause and effect does not change. Only their income changes . . . at the margin. They do not become middle class. They merely buy some of the visible trinkets of the middle class. To put it insensitively — the way I love to put things — they buy middle-class bling. This annoys a lot of members of the middle class, because they worked hard for their bling.

The person who receives a voucher from the government turns the voucher over to someone who makes money by selling goods or services. The seller does not care how the buyer got his money, as long as it was legal. Money talks. Personal histories don’t. So, he sells the items, collects a voucher, and then turns the voucher over to the government. The government pays him money for the voucher.

It’s easy money for the buyer. It’s easy money for the seller. It’s easy money for the government agency administering the program. And, because hardly any voters follow the money for specific voucher programs, most voters don’t notice. The programs grow.

A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon it’s big money.


About 47 million people receive food stamps these days. The program has become so popular that the government decided to change the name of the program. The words “food stamps” are widely understood — accurately — as a government welfare program. There is therefore a stigma attached to people who receive food stamps. They are seen as failures. This is because they are failures. They cannot or will not compete.

Government intervention is a major cause of their failure. Either they are paid by the government not to compete, or else the government makes it illegal to hire them. Minimum wage laws are the main factor here.

People on welfare do not learn the basics of deferred gratification. Necessity does not become their personal mother of invention.

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

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10 thoughts on “Housing Vouchers: Equal Opportunity Crime-Sharing

  1. Imagine Travon Martin living in the inner city, and he decides he would love to move to the suburbs. He goes to the local HUD office and they decide to give him a grant to purchase the vacant house in your quiet neighborhood. What a wonderful way to help this poor unfortunate boy turn his life around. The HUD people congratulate each other on their wisdom.

    Then you see him sneaking around peoples' back yards at night and things start to disappear. He comes home late at night with a lot of Watermelon flavored Ice Tea, some Skittles and some cold medicine from the local 7-Eleven, purchased with the money he made from selling your TV. Then he settles down to make a narcotic from those ingredients, turns on some relaxing rap music (playing on your stereo which he got from your game room) and rattles the windows on all the houses in the neighborhood because he knows that "everybody likes rap". His 14 room mates agree.

    You go to a community meeting with all your neighbors and bring up the problems you have observed and are promptly shouted down as a racist by your liberal neighbor from down the street (He's still liberal because he hasn't been robbed yet or his daughter is "do-ing" Travon) and he thinks he can shame you.

    You go out to walk the dog the next night and Travon runs out from behind a tree, tackles you with his best MMA moves, bangs your head repeatedly on the sidewalk, and the last thing you think as you lose consciousness is, "I should have bought that gun I was thinking about".

    The liberal neighbors all come to your wake and they wonder what happened. "He got to be so mean and should have treated Travon better.", and they all nod their heads in agreement. As they leave the service, liberal neighbor Joe asks liberal neighbor Pete, "How's that new computer doing? shame how someone broke into your house and stole your old one. Maybe your daughter took it with her when she disappeared last week."

  2. 1baronrichsnot1 says:

    Wonder whos' idea this was, sounds like a harvard or yale man, you know the kind of deep thinkers in gov't today! The ones who believe a lot of planning, and taking and giving, is all it takes to make people happy.. sounds like reparations to me!

  3. I live in a nice little town in an older apt. building. I’ve noticed over 4 yrs several renters who are between 20-55 who are always home – always. Or, they’re walking up the sidewalk carrying a few 12 packs or walking back from the convenience store with ‘smokes.’ They like to drink, alot. Short of them all being independantly wealthy, I take it my tax dollars from my two jobs is paying for their rotten unemployed boyfriends to get drunk and punch holes into front doors and set off fireworks from the fire escape, paying for their bottomless cans of beer, paying for their ‘smokes,’ their SNAP, housing allowance?, community college classes (which they blow off) for free job training, for their cell phones, for their cars and gas….boy, can they all drink! Yet, they can’t get a job?

  4. Job? Work? Why would someone living the "high life" as a gov't dependent ever want to work for a living? You kidding' me? The Federal gov't is no longer the replacement father — it has become the permissive mother. "Depend on me and I'll take care of every little thing." Work, indeed! You must be some throw-back conservative. "Why I'd hafta get a job paying $50,000 to equal what the gov't pays me for nothin' — and there's no $50,000 job that I'm qualified to hold!"
    I lost my mind there for a moment. Just wanted to ride the vibe for a minute. From rent-control apartments west of here to rental house north of here, our quiet neighborhood has become Black youth central — and given the dead Australian college student and dead 88-yr-old WW2 veteran, both killed by bored Black teens — I'm feelin' a bit surrounded.

  5. Truer words are seldom written.

  6. Part I … (Note: Caps are the only way to emphasize in these blogs and it would be nice to be able to use some here without being banned!) I resent the general "attitude" this article implies! I'm a "senior" trying to exist on a permanent disability income – I owe no one because I completed a four year Consumer Credit Counseling program in 1998 which taught me "how to" live within my monetary means. Fortunately, I own my 13 year old vehicle! Due to my being "responsible" and choosing to pay my creditors through this program (being that it was a long time without an income before BWC was awarded), to date, no bank will issue/approve even a minimal credit card to/for me. One bank informed me that due to my "choice" with CCC, I am a "credit risk"! What??!!! I have tried to live (unsuccessfully) within the rental system of "tax credit properties" for lower incomes, but even they outsource my disability income; I simply, cannot keep up with the increases in rent! I can not work even a part-time job (which would have to be at my pace due to my disability) to subsidize my very fixed (according to the poverty guidelines) "low" income, and to do that, would terminate my permanent disability benefits! I would never be able to exist on a part-time income and what employer would "understand" I must work at a physical pace? I get no housing assistance and have been denied any food assistance based on the "fact" one must create medical debt in order to be eligible! It took me years to pay off my medical debt, yet now, I must create more in order to be qualified for food assistance! In all, I recently was forced out of my "tax credit property" apartment for the "lower income", because the management decided to remove cabinetry in my "standard" apartment making it "handicap assessable" for future residents, yet I do not need the inconvenience of fewer cabinets (am sure the wheelchair confined need their cabinets as well) not to mention the continual rent increases. (Corporation uses no criteria for someone on a fixed disability income and considers me as all employable residents whose requirements to live there are a percentage of the median income for the county!)

    So … I want to purchase something my income will afford as a "fixed" monthly mortgage, but I can not do this either, as you-know-who sitting in The White House, closed the doors for "housing vouchers" that would have allowed me to buy a home of my own! I am a 70 year young "white" (very sad this fact must be mentioned) responsible single Lady, Grandmother to 10, and doing the very best I can on my fixed income of $1600 per month for which I feel very Blessed to have! However, I am now residing with my sister and her husband until which time – should that ever become available! – I can buy a home of my own. I am definitely "eligible" for (what used to be known as Section 8 assistance), but have been informed by the Housing Authority for my area, that it is not available to me.

    Count your Blessings, Gary North … and anyone so Blessed as to be able to be employed or who have employment! I am not a lazy dead-beat nor am I or was I ever an "economic failure"!!! I paid my taxes, too, as long as I was able – I get nothing for "free"! Medicare is taken from my Social Security benefits every month! "Why" do you or anyone want to lump us in with "dead-beats who stay-at-home mooching off the government" because we happen to live with circumstances beyond our control??? You owe me and others like myself a huge apology! Instead of picking the "low-ly income" apart, why don't you better utilize your energies into addressing the corrupt congress who continue to allow the ineligible, lying fraud to reside in our White House while he destroys our Nation???

  7. The title for this new Federal program – Exporting Crime to Peaceful Neighborhoods.

  8. You have this right people always assume HUD etc is always giving to those that don't work because they don't want to and Seniors and disabled are lumped into these assumptions by those who stated above with the very first comment. Not everyone entitled to these vouchers based on income are as the first state many have worked a lifetime and due to fixed incomes and higher costs can not make it otherwise and many still have to do anything possible to earn a little on top of that to make it still. One day all will be there and see the truth!

  9. exghetto nurse says:

    The fed's cannot afford what they already mismanage. Local authorities can also plead poverty, zoning difficulties and delay until…next year, next election, next (diminishing) tax receipt period, next rezoning…. And where would the available property be found? Owners could jack up prices as to be unaffordable to the near bankrupt authorities. OR, a proposal to use as yet undisbursed civil service pensions to fund these plans. Even the lefties and democrats among them would scream and have activist lawyers in court next day. Local elected officials could also hold meetings to give their electorate the 'news', and listen to the hailstorm of criticism, including decisions for next election.
    I've personal experience with section 8 landlords, 4 of those 5 persons of color. All unanimously regret the venal, ungrateful parasites and the property damage (and devaluation) so typical of their 'culture'. Count that 5 less section 8 properties available.

  10. Don't worry about prices being to high for the government to buy. The government will just "condemn" the property, and then pay the owner whatever it feels like. Hospitals and doctors already have to cover the government "discount" on medicaid and medicare. The cure for lack of interest in participation is mandated participation.

    Our government has become a multi-headed version of Nero Caesar.