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At HUD, Political Loyalty, Not Experience, is What Matters

HUD Secretary Ben Carson greets disaster workers. HUD photo.

When a neurosurgeon turned politician with no housing experience is running a federal agency, why would you be surprised when the people hired for top positions there, and then quickly given pay raises, have no housing experience either, just loyalty to President Trump to bolster their resumes?

According to this Washington Post article, that's exactly what's happening at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), led by Ben Carson, an early Republican presidential candidate and renowned neurosurgeon.

"The raises, documented in a Washington Post analysis of HUD political hires, resulted in annual salaries between $98,000 and $155,000 for the five appointees, all of whom had worked on Donald Trump’s or Ben Carson’s presidential campaigns," the Post reported. "Three of them did not list bachelor’s degrees on their résumés."

"The political hires were among at least 24 people without evident housing policy experience who were appointed to the best-paying political positions at HUD, an agency charged with serving the poorest Americans," reported The Post. "They account for a third of the 70 HUD appointees at the upper ranks of the federal government, with salaries above $94,000, according to the Post review of agency records."

Does this surprise you? Does it tick you off?

Is it right that the agency charged with serving low income Americans in need of housing assistance is being led by people without a shred of knowledge about housing policy? Except maybe how to use Zillow, who's slogan is "Find Your Way Home?

How is that any different from Dr. Carson handing the scalpel an old college chum, a marketing major, in the operating suite and saying "Go for it. Cut into the patient's brain"?

OK, so maybe that's an exaggeration. Maybe helping people in need obtain adequate housing doesn't equal brain surgery, but I certainly wouldn't hire a writer who didn't know how to write, and I would hope my plumber wouldn't hire somebody who didn't know how to plumb.

Every time a see a story about this type of thing in the Trump administration -- and it is common -- I'm reminded of his promise to "drain the swamp."

Seems to me he's done just the opposite. He's filled the Washington swamp with a bunch of cronies. Is that what his supporters really expected?

Speeding Relief Aid to Puerto Rico

Meanwhile, HUD just announced -- on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018 -- a new agreement to send money to Puerto Rico to help it recover from last year's Hurricane Maria.

Here's what the announcement says, in part:

"U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson and Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo Rosselló today announced the formal execution of a $1.5 billion grant agreement to help citizens in Puerto Rico to recover from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The signing of this grant agreement now paves the way to speed recovery dollars needed to restore damaged and destroyed homes, businesses and infrastructure.Puerto Rico's long-term recovery is supported through HUD's Community Development Block Grant—Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program, which requires grantees to develop thoughtful recovery plans informed by local residents."

"Today, HUD and Puerto Rico are moving forward to speed recovery on the island," said Secretary Carson. "Now that we have a framework in place, implementing Puerto Rico's disaster recovery program can move full steam ahead."

"Speed recovery dollars?" A year later?

Guess it took so long for them to do this because of the many unqualified people running HUD -- including Carson.

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