American Elephants


The Federal Government Has 160 Programs to Deal With Housing. by The Elephant's Child

Many people are puzzled by conservative protests about Big Government. And when Republicans start listing departments they’d like to dispose of, are somewhat horrified.  High on the list is usually the Department of Education and the Department of Energy. But it is farther down in the weeds where the problems become obvious.

We have One Hundred and Sixty federal programs that deal with housing.

In a recent report from the General Accountability Office, they noted that “fiscal realities raise questions about the efficiency of multiple housing programs and activities across federal agencies with similar goals, products, and sometimes parallel delivery systems.”

Senator Jim DeMint’s (R-SC) senior communications advisor and speechwriter, Amanda Carpenter, was a columnist for the Washington Times, wrote a post on the senator’s page concerning how many programs deal with housing.

HUD runs the majority of the programs, 91. The United States Department of Agriculture, which also administers farming aid and the nation’s food stamp program, offers 18 different types of housing assistance as well.  The Internal Revenue Service has 14 programs, The Department of Treasury offers 8 programs; the Department of Veterans Affairs 7; the Department of Labor; Federal Home Loan Banks 3.

The rest are run through a number of organizations: Interior, Federal Reserve, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac; Ginnie Mae; Farmer Mac; the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and more.

The complete list is found in the Table of Contents page: scroll down.

This is just a hint of the growth to be found in the executive sector of the government. There are an obscene number of job-training programs, many if not most duplicative.  Wikipedia has a list of the major departments and the year they were established, including the annual (2009) outlay of funds and numbers of employees. ObamaCare added, I believe, 159 new agencies, and those will probably spawn more. You will notice that some Departments have changed their name, swallowed up others, recast, but none, none — ever go away.

And this is only the smallest glimpse of the problem. Each of these Departments has many agencies, offices, or administrations. Some are not listed, like the EPA which is an independent agency that apparently answers to no one. The EPA is my number one candidate for extinction. It has done little that is useful, and enormous amounts of damage, and should be abolished. I don’t think that Congress has the fortitude to eliminate it.


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