HUD doesn't care much about your tax dollars

Rick Moran
It's never a surprise when we discover that a federal agency wastes millions or even billions of dollars. With poor accountability and transparency, there is no incentive for bureaucrats to take care of the public purse. Unlike the private sector, there is little chance that a federal employee will be fired for incompetence or stupidity.

Like this example from HUD fleshed out by the Washington Post:

The federal government's largest housing construction program for the poor has squandered hundreds of millions of dollars on stalled or abandoned projects and routinely failed to crack down on derelict developers or the local housing agencies that funded them.Nationwide, nearly 700 projects awarded $400 million have been idling for years, a Washington Post investigation found. Some have languished for a decade or longer even as much of the country struggles with record-high foreclosures and a dramatic loss of affordable housing.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees the nation's housing fund, has largely looked the other way: It does not track the pace of construction and often fails to spot defunct deals, instead trusting local agencies to police projects.

The result is a trail of failed developments in every corner of the country. Fields where apartment complexes were promised are empty and neglected. Houses that were supposed to be renovated are boarded up and crumbling, eyesores in decaying neighborhoods.

There is no possible excuse for this malfeasance and neglect. Responsibility for this outrage starts at the top and goes all the way down the line, sparing no one. There are those who allowed this situation to fester. There are those who saw what was happening and refused to act. There are those whose responsibility it is to track these projects who have not performed their job. And there are those at the top who created a culture of neglect that allowed this to happen.

Multiply this waste by the number of agencies in the federal government and you begin to grasp the enormity of the problem. Billions of dollars gone up in a puff of smoke - disappeared down a rabbit hole. It is not hard to imagine how much better our fiscal situation would be if much of the waste could be eliminated.

But that would require a change in the culture of government bureaucracy - not likely as long as accountability, discipline, and transparency are lacking.
 



It's never a surprise when we discover that a federal agency wastes millions or even billions of dollars. With poor accountability and transparency, there is no incentive for bureaucrats to take care of the public purse. Unlike the private sector, there is little chance that a federal employee will be fired for incompetence or stupidity.

Like this example from HUD fleshed out by the Washington Post:

The federal government's largest housing construction program for the poor has squandered hundreds of millions of dollars on stalled or abandoned projects and routinely failed to crack down on derelict developers or the local housing agencies that funded them.

Nationwide, nearly 700 projects awarded $400 million have been idling for years, a Washington Post investigation found. Some have languished for a decade or longer even as much of the country struggles with record-high foreclosures and a dramatic loss of affordable housing.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees the nation's housing fund, has largely looked the other way: It does not track the pace of construction and often fails to spot defunct deals, instead trusting local agencies to police projects.

The result is a trail of failed developments in every corner of the country. Fields where apartment complexes were promised are empty and neglected. Houses that were supposed to be renovated are boarded up and crumbling, eyesores in decaying neighborhoods.

There is no possible excuse for this malfeasance and neglect. Responsibility for this outrage starts at the top and goes all the way down the line, sparing no one. There are those who allowed this situation to fester. There are those who saw what was happening and refused to act. There are those whose responsibility it is to track these projects who have not performed their job. And there are those at the top who created a culture of neglect that allowed this to happen.

Multiply this waste by the number of agencies in the federal government and you begin to grasp the enormity of the problem. Billions of dollars gone up in a puff of smoke - disappeared down a rabbit hole. It is not hard to imagine how much better our fiscal situation would be if much of the waste could be eliminated.

But that would require a change in the culture of government bureaucracy - not likely as long as accountability, discipline, and transparency are lacking.