WASHINGTON – (RealEstateRama) — Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) delivered the following opening statement at today’s hearing with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson:
Today we welcome the 17th Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Ben Carson for his first appearance before our committee.
In at least one respect, he may be among the most qualified individual to ever serve as HUD secretary. Why? Secretary Carson was raised by a single mother who had a third grade education. He grew up in poor communities in Detroit and Boston; lived in multifamily housing with boarded up windows and doors, surrounded by sirens, gangs and murders. Not only does he understand poverty personally and viscerally, he understands what it takes to escape it. He is passionate about helping others escape. He also understands that HUD’s approach to eliminating poverty and urban decay too often fails and fortunately he is committed to changing it.
When it was created 52 years ago, HUD was intended to be the main weapon in the war on poverty. Now 52 years later and $1.6 trillion later, the poverty rate remains basically unchanged.
Sadly – despite all this spending – HUD has failed to live up to the noble aspirations behind its birth.
I don’t want to diminish the valuable work HUD does. It is an invaluable part of the nation’s social safety net – especially tenant-based Section 8 housing for the elderly and disabled.
But I remind all that for the able bodied there is no better affordable housing program than a growing economy that creates better jobs, bigger paychecks and brighter tomorrows.
After suffering from eight years of bad public policy leading to a sluggish economy barely growing at half of the historic norm, working Americans deserve better.
They deserve fundamental tax reform as proposed by the President and Republicans – a fairer, flatter, simpler, more competitive tax system.
There hasn’t been any significant tax reform in a century that hasn’t grown the economy and grown tax revenues. In the first five years after the Kennedy tax relief plan was passed, the economy grew by 48 percent and federal revenues increased by 66 percent. This growth erased a $5.9 billion deficit and turned it into a $3.2 billion surplus. When Congress enacted the Reagan tax relief package, the economy grew by 42 percent over the next five years and federal revenues surged by 28 percent. Even going back to the Coolidge era, a series of tax relief measures passed during that administration resulted in annual average economic growth of 4.7 percent.
We’ve seen it time and time again. When we remove the burdens of excessive taxation and allow the American people to keep more of what they earn, we unleash their potential to create prosperity and opportunity for everyone. That’s not economic theory; it’s economic history. And it is the very embodiment of affordable housing.
I also wonder how can one be for affordable housing yet oppose allowing working Americans to keep more of their paychecks. That’s exactly what the Republican tax reform framework does – allows working Americans to keep more of their paychecks.
So I look forward to hearing more of the Secretary’s new vision for HUD and the programs that he and his team are beginning to reform.