Hooray! I mean you want good news here it is the full story appeared in today's Wall Street Journal (9/14/11 pg B1). Good to see we won one right? I mean I'm a New Yorker. Ok I don't technically live in New York City which encompasses the five boroughs but I live in Nassau and I mean that's close enough!
So let's look at this tremendous victory.
"A state judge ruled on Tuesday that Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration can terminate a rent-subsidy program for formerly homeless families and individuals, a move that could potentially send thousands of people flocking back into New York City's shelter system."
Good news right? I mean sure not if you're on of these formerly homeless families or individuals. Seth Diamond, the commissioner of the Department of Homeless Services, in March predicted the loss in state aid would cause a 51% increase in the number of families with children in the city's shelter system by June 2012.
Ok, well it sucks to be them but after all who cares right? I mean they're the undeserving poor who Right winger's so love to condemn. When Andrew Bretibart's trolls start trolling me as they do now and again they always very defiantly tell me that these indolent people(they are very clear that the only reason anyone could be poor or need any kind of government help is the terrible moral vice of sloth; and for some reason the Breitbart people always use the word indolent) don't have a right to any of their hard earned money.
So what if they have to live in homeless shelters? Maybe this will persuade them to finally get a job! Of course with the government handout of living in a homeless shelter they may still be disincentivized.
Let's face it they're the undeserving poor-is there any other kind? The important thing is that they can't get their hands on any more of our money. Besides think of all the savings to the city! That's the win that the Wall Street Journal headline announces. Impressive victory it is! But let's itemize just how impressive the savings are.
Let's start with what Judge Judith Gische wrote in her 21-page decision.
"The court holds that the Advantage program, no matter how laudable its program, no matter how laudable its goals, is nothing more than a social benefit program, which the city had the right to terminate, based upon the lack of funding available for its continuation."
There you go the city lacks the funding they gotta end the program, I mean no brainer! Hooray! Victory for New York. Whoever came up with this plan to end Advantage deserves a fat bonus and a raise-they probably have gotten just that.
Steve Banks, the attorney-in-chief of the Legal Aid Society who has represented homeless New Yorkers in litigation establishing the right to shelter since the early 1980s, said, "This seems like one of the cases where the city loses by winning since the cost of sheltering the thousands of families and individuals who can now lose their homes is more than the cost of continuing the rental assistance."
The loss in aid will force the city to build 70 new shelters in neighborhoods citywide. It costs $1,000 to subsidize their rent and $3,0-00 to hose a family in the shelter system.
But I should stop. Cause the more we talk about this the less I feel like running a victory lap. Darn there's always fine print. And the fine print is always bad news.
I can't help but think of the title Krugman gave to his book in 2001 about Bush's tax cuts: fuzzy math. I guess until you master the art of fuzzy math you miss the insight that the city can't afford the current program that costs $1,000 a head but can afford to build new shelters at $3,000 a head.