Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, On Wednesday, April 25 was offering up what may be one of the first Administration responses to the President’s earlier proclamation on “welfare reform.” Carson’s initiative would raise subsidies to 35 percent of income from the current 30 percent. He also is seeking to get rid of deductions for important items such as deductions for health care and child care subsidies when renters calculate their income. In comments published in the Washington Post, the former surgeon said that, “Every year, it takes more money, millions of dollars more, to serve the same number of households. It is clear from a budget perspective and a human point of view that the current system is unsustainable.”

An analysis of home prices released in 2017 by the Standard & Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20 Home Index, showed a 5.9 percent increase from March to March 2016-17, the most since 2014. The report indicated that housing prices are more than double the pace of average hourly earnings. Many recent economic reports indicate that new housing is not keeping pace with demand putting upward pressure on home sale prices and rents.

Carson, in arguing for elimination of certain basic needs deductions argued that, “because they [certain families] know how to work the system.”

The President’s E.O., Reducing Poverty in America by Promoting Opportunity and Economic Mobility, orders various federal Departments (Treasury, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education) to double-down and toughen work requirements. The President’s directive include: 1) a review of all regulations and guidance to make sure they are consistent with the principles outlined in his order; 2) a review of any public assistance programs that do not require work for benefits or services, and 3) a review of public assistance programs that do require work and determine whether the enforcement is consistent with the executive order.

The HUD proposal would require congressional action according to Secretary Carson. The Administration both through waivers and proposed legislation is seeking tougher work requirements for people whose health care is covered by Medicaid and is supportive of Congressional Republicans efforts to increase current SNAP [food stamp} restrictions and work requirements.