Mitt Romney hasn’t offered much in the way of policy details while campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination. But at a private fundraiser in Florida on Sunday, Romney was more than willing to dish details with the wealthy bankrolling his campaign.
Among the initiatives we could expect from a President Romney: elimination of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
HUD may be an easy political target because to a low-information voter it sounds like another vast and unresponsive government bureaucracy. But the reality is HUD promotes fair housing practices, it enforces anti-discrimination laws and it makes safe and affordable mortgages available to large swatches of the middle class.
Without HUD consumers would be left at even greater risk of the kind of predatory lending practices that made Romney’s backers rich and the rest of the country saddled in debt. Without HUD landlords could freely discriminate in the rental of properties since the principal enforcement mechanism of fair housing laws would be gone. Shelter would be left entirely to the private market.
There’s a pattern emerging and it is one that should come as no surprise given Romney’s record in the private equity sector. And it’s worth unpacking the ideology driving a statement like this because they reveal a lot about the direction the right wants to take this country.
Romney’s attacks on the poor, and in particular on poor women, show there’s more than one way to impose a religious mandate on the country. The social services Romney wants to eliminate (public health care via providers like Planned Parenthood and how housing assistance through HUD) are critical components of a social safety net that was created to make sure women and children do not end up on the streets simply because they do not have a wealthy husband to take care of them. It’s a world view Romney opposes and for him and his backers, it’s a world view free from consequence.
Photo from InfoMofo via flickr.