Dear PoP – DC Budget To Cut Social Services

“Dear PoP,

I work on local DC issues.  I wanted to send you a link to a site about the DC budget. In the absence of good local reporting, it’s got information for the public about the impact of Council’s proposals.  It also is trying to get residents to send a petition to DC Council over the cuts in social service programs and lack of revenue options (like rescinding the tax break given to the richest residents two years ago).  We’ve had over 1200 DC residents sign the petition in the last 24 hours, and I hope you’ll share this with your readers:

151 Comment

  • Tax the rich, tax the rich, tax the rich… it never is enough.

  • Increase property taxes and give renters a break.

  • Aside from eliminating all the wasteful spending, cut taxes for the first $100k of taxable incomes, creating incentives for young professionals to move in from the burbs, expanding the tax base while increasing consumption taxes.

    Mandarin – renters already get a break, they take no risk…

  • Fire all the cronies that have fake “jobs” created by city councilmembers

  • This person is only telling a tiny portion of the story.

  • How about actually collecting proper tax in the first place. Guess Gubmit would have to function then.

  • Expenditures in the past couple of years came from budgets boosted by the housing bubble. The gov’t can’t continue spending as if residents’ condos are still worth 400k and are still racking up 20% bonuses. It’s just not going to work that way, and increasing taxes on the top will just chase more across the line and will likely be disappointing in terms of revenue anyway. It feels good to stick the guy with a big house in Ward 3 with a bigger bill when you’re struggling, but you have to think about the real fiscal consequences here.

  • We seem stuck between a rock and a hard place. I don’t know what the solution is but maryland tried rasing taxes on millionaires and lost. Does anyone know how have other jurisdictions have fared?

    From the WSJ

    Maryland couldn’t balance its budget last year, so the state tried to close the shortfall by fleecing the wealthy. Politicians in Annapolis created a millionaire tax bracket, raising the top marginal income-tax rate to 6.25%. And because cities such as Baltimore and Bethesda also impose income taxes, the state-local tax rate can go as high as 9.45%. Governor Martin O’Malley, a dedicated class warrior, declared that these richest 0.3% of filers were “willing and able to pay their fair share.” The Baltimore Sun predicted the rich would “grin and bear it.”

    One year later, nobody’s grinning. One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed by the end of April. This year there were 2,000, which the state comptroller’s office concedes is a “substantial decline.” On those missing returns, the government collects 6.25% of nothing. Instead of the state coffers gaining the extra $106 million the politicians predicted, millionaires paid $100 million less in taxes than they did last year — even at higher rates.

  • Deport the yuppies who don’t give back to the community. Or tax the shit out of them. A-holes.

  • This video is also playing pretty fast and loose with numbers, using raw figures rather than percentage cuts. If you cut some huge current expenditure by 1%, it will sound like a huge cut.

  • DC has the highest taxes I’ve ever encounterred. I hear “Trim the Fat”, but at 10% sales tax DC already has ridiculous consumption taxes. Raise the property taxes? Doesn’t seem to me a good time to lessen the incentive to buy in this real estate market. I do like the incentives for young professionals to move into the city, and tax breaks are a good way to go at it. Also, why not put some public housing money into attracting them instead of repeatedly dedicating it to the continuation of the poverty cycle in DC?

    Let’s step back and think for a second. Socio-economically, who consumes the most government services? Someone on welfare with 6 kids living in public housing, or my wife and i who are gainfully employed with masters degrees (and the student loans to prove it) and own a condo that’s $50k under water right now? Then ask yourself who will be affected more by government spending cuts? Does that mean that everytime DC needs to make budget cuts the only answer is to raise taxes becuase those of us that pay significantly into the tax base don’t consume government services at the same level?

    I ask for very little from this damn city. Keep it clean, keep my property and person safe, and make it a place where people want to do business so I have cool places to eat and shop. They’re not exactly batting a thousand, and they will soon watch my contribution of roughly $30k a year to their tax kitty walk to another tax base….

  • People like DCRepublican are the problem. Wants all resources to go to the privileged, with no corresponding responsibility, and all resources taken away from those who need it most. Pure greed and selfishness.

  • Umm, unless DCRep is lying, his “corresponding responsibility” is $30k/year.

  • The perceived entitlement to life-long public assistance in this city is out of control. Can we cut another $28 million from “human support services” to save the economic development, public safety, and public schools budgets? You know, the budget items that have the potential to encourage investment and create jobs…

  • DC Repub – my fault, I meant increasing revenues from consumption taxes, not increasing consumption tax rates. Expanding the tax base will yield greater tax revenue in all forms, income, property, sales etc… Obviously, you already know this (based on your Name) but for our liberal comrades that never seem to grasp such simple concepts. We all know this game is all about the voting base… maintaining dependency is a voting annuity.

  • I’m disgusted by the responses on here, cutting $ from “human support services”? Basically you folks want people to go homeless and/or die to encourage rich people to move here and/or stay here?. Disgusting.

  • trim the fat, i may be liberal, but i could not and would not ever be your “comrade”, friend, associate, acquaintance or even want to be in the same room with your greedy, selfish rotten soul. The guilt by association may be enough to send me to hell. I’ll pass.

  • @Anon 11:00 – who would fare worse in your world – the people that pay nothing and get everything, or the people that pay everything and take nothing? The wealthy can survive w/o the gov’t dependents, the gov’t dependents cannot survive without the wealthy. Silly liberal…

  • There shouldn’t be any “wealthy” or “poor”. You can’t have poverty and inhuman conditions without the “wealthy” taking a shitload more than their fair share, as they do now here, and most places. The wealthy need to be rendered un-wealthy. If they don’t do it voluntarily, eventually they’ll be forced to. You can’t wall yourself off forever.

  • Our brave anonymous friend is just pushing buttons, y’all. That last post proved it.

  • Until the city secures an outside auditor to do a line by line, dollar by dollar, person by person audit of every single city agency all budgetary issues are corrupted and entirely inefficient, including any sort of social services. Throw more money into the hole if you like, but the most massive investment would come from realizing greater efficiency and cutting corruption.

  • Anon 11:07 – spoken like a true liberal, resorting to personal attacks because you can’t articulate counter arguments.
    Anon 11:09 – right, most of those wealthy people employ other people. Those other people are free to give it a try and build a business.

    Taking care of myself, so other taxpayers don’t have to i.e. being a productive member of society is not greedy. I am not greedy… I choose to donate to charity rather than the government.

  • @Mandarin: Raising property taxes wouldn’t give renters any breaks. Apt owners having to pay higher property taxes results in them passing the costs onto renters, because the increases is systemic. Also, raising the property taxes makes it harder for renters to become owners themselves, keeping them as renters and keeping the supply of rental tighter and rents higher. Raising property taxes may be a good thing for certain reasons, but easing the burden of renters is not one of them.

  • Ok, before this thread spins totally out of control, let’s remember that we need some things to stay in the budget (DDOT, WASA, the safety net, etc), some things could go, but either way we need people of means living here to contribute to the tax base. There’s no getting around that. Let’s not restart divestment narrative of the late 60s again here in 2009, everyone loses in that situation.

  • The Post had an article in Sunday’s paper about welfare recipients getting TANF for 10+ years. Cut them off the public dole. You don’t need 10 years to find a freaking job.

    from the article:
    The District has not sanctioned many recipients who fail to meet TANF’s requirement that they hold jobs or participate in job search programs. Policies vary among the states. Some, such as Virginia, impose sanctions immediately. Under federal law, at least 50 percent of the recipients must meet the work requirements, which vary depending on the age of children in the home.

    The District’s practice has limited its ability to use federal funds for TANF payments, and the city has elected to use local money to cover the remaining households.

    The rising TANF caseload and the increasing number of households that do not meet the work requirements have strained the city’s resources, City Administrator Neil O. Albert said recently in testimony before the council.

    Of the more than 8,000 TANF households subject to the work requirement, 500 to 600 are in full compliance, according to the memorandum prepared by Albert’s office. More than 6,000 that receive full benefits are not participating in the program’s job search process at all, according to the memorandum.

    The city appears to be particularly concerned about long-term TANF recipients. About 3,000 households in the District have been on TANF for more than five years, and about 600 of those have been receiving benefits for more than 10 years, according to the memorandum.

    Federal guidelines prohibit anyone from receiving TANF benefits for more than five years. The District is paying the full amount for anyone beyond that limit.

  • DC Republican, isn’t the DC sales tax 5.75% ?

  • No offense but I don’t come to PoP for partisan political discussions. Too often it devolves into crap. I am sure PoP just posted this so people can at least be aware of what service are going to suffer.

  • Wasn’t lowering the top tax rate wildly successful in enticing professionals into moving back into the city, and thus having an overall positive effect on tax revenue raised? In case you haven’t noticed, there are still a heck of a lot of vacant properties in DC that could potentially be filled with gainfully employed persons perhaps currently living in Maryland. Is there a petition out there for the exact opposite of this one?

  • DCRepublican and Thor from the CFO’s office

    5.75% – General rate for tangible personal property and selected services

    9% – Liquor sold for off-the-premises consumption

    10% – Restaurant meals, liquor for consumption on the premises, and rental vehicles

    12% – Parking motor vehicles in commercial lots

    14.5% – Hotels (transient accommodations)

  • Trim the Fat, your actions and attitudes lead directly to deaths and abject poverty. Your charitable donations notwithstanding.

  • RD – i’ll be your first signature!

  • How about cutting the DC gov. workforce? I bet if you fire 60-80% of those lazy @$$ “workers” the city will still function the same way it does now.

  • There is easily enough waste in the DC budget that can be cut to fill the gap. Let’s start with all council earmarks. Then we can move on to the “grants” that are handed to local groups for doing no work, the peaceaholics comes to mind. We can then move on to the employees at the DCRA that do little to nothing and decamp to MD every night. Point is, that before we start talking taxes lets take a strong look at waste in the system.

  • Can we check to ensure that vacant properties are being taxed at the vacant property tax rate? That would bring in a ton of money. For those people who refuse to pay, DC can take the houses and sell them to someone who will actually live in them which will bring in more revenue. I can point you to at least 3 or 4 houses on my block that are vacant. Is there a database I can check to see if they’re being taxed at the vacant rate? I think enforcing the vacant tax rate is a potential gold mine for the city.

  • check dc’s property assesement’s website. I think vacant buildings should be noted as vacant (you can look at the tax payment info). Also, if you know the place is vacant and it lists as receiving the homestead exemption thing, then dc govt. is being had.

  • There are more DC Government employees now than there were when DC’s population peaked at 800,000 residents in the 1950s. Why do you need MORE employees to govern FEWER people?

  • Monkey, probably because a greater percentage of the current residents receive services now, and because the government has more services available to offer.

    But I agree… DC employs too many people to accomplish what it does. If someone appointed me Empress…

  • According to Tommy Wells’s Twitter feed:

    All earmarks out.Most agencies cut by 12%

  • Can’t we just get all those “Tough” posers to go beat up the rich yuppie millionaire scum landlords and take their money?

  • 1)

    Good god. Where to even start? I guess with 90+ percent of recipients who can’t be bothered to even pretend to look for a job. Kiss your check goodbye…

    2) “Then we can move on to the “grants” that are handed to local groups for doing no work, the peaceaholics comes to mind.”


  • So apparently Petworth is full of Republicans?? Who would have guessed!

    I consider myself a libertarian who almost always votes Dem. I support these cuts, last time I checked DC tax rates were the highest in the nation. At some point you have to draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough and reign in spending.

    The question is, when is the FEDERAL government going to figure this out . . .

  • those stats about welfare recipients are pretty amazing – this

    Of the more than 8,000 TANF households subject to the work requirement, 500 to 600 are in full compliance, according to the memorandum prepared by Albert’s office. More than 6,000 that receive full benefits are not participating in the program’s job search process at all, according to the memorandum.

    crazy!! wtf?!

    remember what mayor barry said yesterday – it’s the job of politicians to try and take as much money as possible for their constituents.

  • If we really want to reduce poverty and create an incentive for people to be responsible, we should create an outside of marriage paternitiy tax. Fathers who impregnate women outside of wedlock pay $1000. If it happens again, they pay $2000. If it happens again, they pay $3000. And so on…

    Fewer kids out of wedlock = fewer kids on welfare, fewer criminals-in-training and lower crime, lower police costs.

  • it just might work – noble thought, but you assume these people have jobs with W-2’s and file income tax returns… often they do not.

    As for less welfare (gov’t), fewer jails, and fewer police, unfortunately that means fewer union jobs and fewer attorneys… do you know what groups bankrolled the candidate who won the election…

    The unfunded liabilities of GM and social security are no different than the underfunded union pensions in the public sector… It is a great ponzi scheme, requiring current contributions to fund current obligations. Fewer union employees creates difficulties in paying current underfunded pension obligations. The GM problem exists with every state and local government(not to mention Fed, but they can print money).

  • I spend 30 full days a year working solely to pay taxes to the District of Columbia. I budget, save, am middle class, and have enough to enjoy the occasional night out or new pair of jeans. I can’t afford a car, and the last vacation I took was to my parent’s house in North Carolina for two weeks in 2006. I work my ass off. 50-60 hours a week. Some saturdays. And the equivalent of an entire month of workdays goes straight to DC. Money which goes to people who have been on welfare – without looking for a job – for 10 years. Screw them.

    I want my tax dollars to go to more police and better schools. I want to be able to congratulate my police officer neighbor for getting a well deserved promotion and raise. I want to pay taxes that allow the city to create more tax breaks for young residents, for small businesses, for the elderly. Not to able bodied people who occupy street corners for years. Screw them.

    Before you go lambasting me as a horrible human being, don’t forget that you’ll be here too one day. You’ll be shocked at how much gets deducted from your pay check, then even more shocked to see a sparkling new playground in the projects being used exclusively by drug dealers. You can visualize it! my tax dollars paid for that set of monkey bars that guy is drinking a 40 under!

    Look, face it. you need the rich. they are the ones that keep you employed in your retail and restaurant jobs. they are the ones that need lawyers (who need paralegals) and real estate agents and construction guys. Don’t give them another reason to jump ship on this city.

  • Trim the Fat needs to move far away from DC, and the country if possible, if he and the rest who thought like him got the hell out, a LOT of problems would solve themselves.

  • Nobody needs the rich but the rich. They do keep people employed, worldwide at slave wages and conditions, they create poverty. Victoria is on to something, but it needs to be organized, not random style.

  • anonymous @ 115 and 117: spoken like true idiots. Where do you guys work (do you work?). Who’s cutting your paychecks? Are you self employed? Who are your customers?

    We’re not talking about hyper rich people here. We’re talking about people who are just barely making six figures after working for twenty years. I make about 150 a year and own a small house in Shaw. Am I rich? Am I running slave labor camps in Vietnam?

    When you respond, make sure you double check the tags on your clothes…are they made in some far off foreign land? then you are just as much a part of the problem as the so called ‘rich’ are.

  • how are things going down in venezuela i wonder? i mean, they decided they don’t need the rich.

  • Eric, actually, things are going quite well in Venezuela. Standard of living has increased across the board, most people are generally happy. Go visit if you don’t believe me.

  • I’m anonymous at 1:17. I work for a non-profit. I don’t believe in profit. And yes, if you make that much money and own a house, you are rich.

  • DC’s welfare system is a mess. A perfect example is my neighbor. He’s told everyone who will listen (quite garrulous when drunk) that after his girlfriend died, DC social services told him that if he’d move into the house with their kids (teens), they would continue to pay the rent and he’d get the kids’ SS checks to support them. He brags that he hasn’t worked since, and hasn’t looked for work (3 plus years). In the meantime, he just bought a new satellite dish and partied with some PPV wrestling last weekend. Really, shouldn’t a healthy middle aged adult with two teenagers have to work in order to receive assistance? And if he can afford satellite TV and PPV events, does he need social assistance???

  • anonymous at 1:28 pm, plenty of people, rich and poor, working and not working, public assistance and no assistance, don’t deserve what they have or get. You’re going to start basing social assistance on merit? Who decides the merit standards? Who enforces them? That’s a huge can of worms.

  • Glad to hear you don’t believe in profit. I don’t believe in paying taxes to help out people who have been on welfare for ten years. Doesn’t change the fact that it is a reality. Bend over, grab your ankles, and deal with it.

    So your non-profit magically just operates? Like, everything is somehow free? You don’t accept donations unless they are from other non-profits who didn’t need as much non-money as they thought they did? You don’t have a donate page on your website? I can’t go there and say to myself “I believe in helping out the environment, I believe I will take some of my excess cash (profit) and help these people out!”

    And if you think someone who takes home about 75 after taxes (and before property taxes) is rich, you have a lot of growing up to do.

  • Anon 1:28 – I’ll call you Antagonizer. You work or you volunteer for a non-profit? If you work, then you are paid, and you are profiting. How is your non-profit funded? Oh by business or the government, interesting government is funded by taxing the profit of business… Your non-profit can’t exist without for-profit enterprises… you are profiteering from other peoples profit. Disgusting!

  • Anon at 1:32, you’re damn skippy I think that only people who actually need social assistance should get it. And there had better be some standards, even if the current DC welfare system isn’t enforcing them.

  • “People like DCRepublican are the problem. Wants all resources to go to the privileged, with no corresponding responsibility”

    Not a Republican here, but it sounds like you may need to get out of NW occasionally. A quick drive up North Capitol Street exposes your argument as laughable. When you can point me to a comparable center of services exclusively for the poor either in MD or VA, we’ll talk. Per capita, DC is comparably a paradise for the poor. We fund programs to a much higher extent than the surrounding municipalities. That’s why homeless, the jobless, and the indigent move here.

    If DC were an island, or some other sort of self-contained system, I would say, Let’s try to eliminate poverty, etc, etc… But it’s not.

    By allowing TANF recipients to coast for 10+ years without looking for a job all you do is drive migration of the poor into the District. And the result of this out-of-balance concentration of poverty is dysfunction at almost every level (e.g. DCPS)

  • Every city should be a paradise for the poor. Every city should fund programs to a high extent. Every city should welcome and support the homeless and the jobless until those categories don’t exist anymore. I refuse to accept the premise that we have to let the rich stay disproportionately rich to keep society running smoothly. It’s a false choice.

  • Hello Annon 1.17 (is it so hard to make up a frigging name?) in my contribution to the social good, may I buy you a dictionary and encourage you to look up the word “irony.”

  • This thread is making a Republican out of me.

  • Sorry Victoria, I pegged you as one of the good ones, guess I was wrong.

  • The question is what is “disproportionately rich”? Anyone who isn’t on welfare is disproportionately rich? People need to work for a living. I’m sorry but we need to have a workforce program which anyone receiving any money from the government and can’t prove that they are medically unable to do so should be picking up litter from our streets and mowing untended lawns before they get their money. That will encourage people to get a job…

    Money always comes from somewhere and the truth is that the city is mismanaging the money they are currently distributing. This is not about some people are too rich and some people are too poor. It is about if you are capable of work and can contribute to the community then you should do it like everyone else. Permanent unemployment is not and should never be an option. Employment and working toward the greater good always creates a better sense of respect and cooperation within the community no matter what your level of income might be.

  • Lots of blaming the poor in here, blaming the victim.

  • very city should be a paradise for the poor. Every city should fund programs to a high extent. Every city should welcome and support the homeless and the jobless until those categories don’t exist anymore.

    Wrong. Every *municipality*–urban, suburban, and rural–should be pitching in to take care of our national problem of poverty and homelessness, and other social ills.

    What we’ve had for the last 50 years, if not the last century–is what *you* are calling for. Which is “every city to be a paradise for the poor”. And the logical result of that kind of thinking is that the urban environment has become a dysfunctional crap hole. Things are now changing for the better, but no, I’m not going to support a bottomless well of District money so that McClean can stay clean.

    “I refuse to accept the premise that we have to let the rich stay disproportionately rich to keep society running smoothly. It’s a false choice.”

    I refuse to accept your completely unexamined premise that the urban centers are the natural dumping grounds for regional dysfunction.

  • 10 years of receiving TANF when you’re able-bodied is absurd. No one should accept such behavior. The economy hasn’t been bad for that long, it’s still not impossible to find a job, low-paying or not.

  • A lot more homeless and jobless die in the streets in your imagined society than do in the one we’re living in. That I can promise you.

  • what ibc said +10.

  • Wow. This thread just keeps on giving. I used to get into these class arguments with my Marxist buddies back in college, but then they grew up and went to law school. Good times.

  • Anonymous (and I assume it’s the same person over and over) is equating “poor” with “victim”. What more do we need to hear?

    I’M the victim here. Me, and ShawRes, and most of our neighbors. We work hard so others don’t have to? We’re being taken advantage of.

  • Wow – So advocating violence and robbery makes a person “one of the good ones?”

    Anon (WTF) – “Sorry Victoria, I pegged you as one of the good ones, guess I was wrong.”

    This thread is clearly done.

  • robbery and violence is the status quo.

  • Let’s stick with what we know – More government employees and more taxes do not insure greater governmental efficiency or public accomodation. In fact, the argument can be made that governments, who have no competition, function more poorly as they grow in size. People have a right to question the wisdom of throwing more money away on unproductive governmental spending. Let’s see some improved efficiencies first.

  • Christina: I was about to say the same thing. I feel like I shoud hand in my Liberal membership card.

    DC shouldn’t be a paradise for the poor. You shouldn’t be able to live comfortably on welfare for years and years. You should be able to pay your rent, feed/clothe yourself and your family and scrape by while you find work. But you shouldn’t be able to afford Central AC, Dish Network and a fancy bike. Hell, I work and I can’t afford a fancy bike.

    I’m all for helping people get on their feet. I’m all for keeping families housed with assistance so they’re off the streets. But I’m not for having a system that’s essentially a welcome mat for those that take advantage of it.

  • i have to say… i’m pretty moderate politically… but i’m with Christina… it seems like the repubs are making more sense in this argument than the libs.

  • They could get rid of the welfare system completely for all I care.

    The underclass in DC has been given everything, and the problems still persist. I have little to no sympathy for most of them.

    I make under 40k a year yet I still owe DC taxes almost every year. In any other state, I’d get a refund. I’ll be moving to Virginia at the earlier possible opportunity.

  • “Basically you folks want people to go homeless and/or die to encourage rich people to move here and/or stay here?. Disgusting.”

    This is the most hilariously naive comment I’ve ever read on PoP, and that is saying a lot.

    Who do you think is paying for the entitlements that the underclass of DC enjoys so much? That’s right, the rich people that move here.

  • I’m in now way defending the program, but all this basin of welfare recipients is a little overboard. A quick search on the internet indicates the program costs DC taxpayers somewhere around $67M no small sum, but if they cut it in half as proposed we are looking at saving $33.5M a year, not nearly enough to pay for te $660M shortfall over the next two years. So don’t think that we are not going to have real cuts to city services that all tax paying citizens use.

    Also, there are many articles on the internet showing that DCs payout is much smaller than average (it was $565 for a family of 3 last year in MD, I couldn’t find 2009) and doesn’t come close to matching the federal poverty line.

    Again I’m not in anyway saying we shouldn’t cut the program, but don’t be mislead to believe DC is the only place that does this, or that we are in anyway giving away more money than our peers.

  • What all is that $67 million counting? There’s a lot of stuff the city does that isn’t direct “welfare” payouts but is quite similar in intent and nature (homeless shelters, youth summer jobs program). Not saying that’s right or wrong, just want the full picture painted.

  • Those of you who think you are liberals in this thread are far from it. Shitting on the underclass and turning a blind eye to the murder, slavery, torture, abuse and pain that goes into allowing you to have your lifestyle is far from liberal.

  • Yeah fair enough JustJ, but I would venture to guess that MD/VA probably have more than 8 percent compliance with their TANF guidelines.

    You are also correct in saying that halving the 67.5 welfare budget won’t address the defecit, nor is it a structural solution. However, that means that 33 million won’t be taken out of MPD, or DCPS, or DDOT, or DCFD. So I say, if we can gut the hell out of crap programs that only breed animosity in this city so we only have to trim useful programs slightly, go for it. Because I’m sick of this.

    Also with respect to the repub/dem thing. I don’t think this is a left/right issue. I’m about as left as it gets when it comes to social issues, and I firmly believe in single payer healthcare and etc. But there is a difference between being a dyed in the wool liberal, right or wrong (like that anonymous guy) and having the common sense to know when you political ideaology fails society. This is one of those cases. I’m Sorry to all you youthful idealists. You’ll see when you grow up a little more.

  • I agree with Jay, if you’re unemployed and getting welfare benefits you should be doing something in return: mowing lawns of abandoned houses, sweep the streets,… something. At the very least you should be learning a skill so you can support yourself.

  • $67M was just TANF, doesnt include many other programs like food stamps, rent assistance, child care etc.

  • @ Anonymous 339:

    Can you give me one DC-based example of when the rich in DC “sh*t” on the underclass and turned a blind eye to murder, slavery, torture, abuse, and pain? Like, just one example of ‘rich’ DC residents doing any of that to the so called underclass.

    I can give you plenty of examples of people in Ward 8 doing that to each other. I can give you plenty of examples of people in Ward 8 turning a blind eye on that happening in their own communities too.

    When you get handouts, you have no investment in the outcome of your community. Most people figure “fu*k it.” There’s no ownership, no risk, no loss. So fu*k it.

    Also, we should totally legalize it. Cut off a major source of revenue for those bastards.

  • Grow up? I’m well into my third decade on this planet, every year I get more radically leftist. What I don’t understand is how anyone fails to get that way after observing the way the world works.

  • Thor:

    I respectfully disagree wit you. This is the exact mentality that creates all these dysfunctional programs in the first place. The way TANF is written intends to do just what you propose, its designed as temporary assistance and then comes attached with strings to make you get a job. It never works out that way in the real world as the WP article clearly demonstrates. Either give the people the money or don’t.

  • I took a name for the people who hate anons.

    smaz, the title of the post and the comments supporting are plenty of examples. I honest to god just re-read the comments and had to go to the bathroom to throw up. there is so much work to be done it literally made me sick.

  • anonymous (all of you) – i love you! people like you have turned me into a ‘racist’ republican (thats racist by DCs definition, meaning white) and im so glad that you are doing the good work of recruiting others to the cause as well… although im pretty sure youre a dick cheney/karl rove groupie who is just playing devils advocate. keep it up though, i think its working!

  • Still waiting. Give me an event. I want names. Who in Dupont circle told some poor mother of four to go fu*k herself? All of this is in your head.

    You want an event the other way around? Every freaking friday, when I get my small ass paycheck that barely lets me keep the lights on and live in a NE basement piece of crap studio. I take it home, and get laughed at by a bunch of jobless gangbangers blinged out in the newest threads because my clothes are ratty. You want injustice? Ask for a ride in a drug dealer’s escalade. You fu*king moron.

  • “Look at me, I’m a RADICAL LEFTIST! Am I cool, or what? DOWN WITH THE MAN!!!”

  • I repeat, read the title of the post, read the comments supporting the post, you then have multiple examples of people supporting ending the programs that keep the poor above water, or, as I say, shitting on the poor. As for the violence, to be able to make as much money as has been posted in this thread, people worldwide have to give up their lives.

  • Anonymous says:

    Those of you who think you are liberals in this thread are far from it. Shitting on the underclass and turning a blind eye to the murder, slavery, torture, abuse and pain that goes into allowing you to have your lifestyle is far from liberal.

    Anonymous later says:

    I’m well into my third decade on this planet, every year I get more radically leftist.

    Can’t even imagine the brainless twaddle you’ll be parroting in another 5 years, but if you want to help fix the problem, you’ll fight for changes at the national level, as opposed to working hard to revert DC back into an unsustainable dystopia.

  • No, not down with the man, up with the man. Down with those who think it’s okay to steal to justify their luxury. Yes, I’m talking to you.

  • IBC, I do fight at the national level. As well as the local level and the international level. It’s just a slow day today.

  • I wish there were less calling people a-holes and getting sick to one’s stomach in this thread, and more addressing of specific points. Like, say, the TANF situation. It’s not very persuasive if Poster A says “Let’s look at TANF, blah blah blah” and Poster B says “you disgust me.”

  • Voiceofreason: Thank god there are so many more people (on the left!) working against you, or I’d be worried about the country.

    Also, please identify which non-profit you work for so we can all make sure we’re not contributing. Its clearly not doing enough work to fill at least one of its employee’s hours, and justice would better serve justice by not collecting money to cover the profits that employee derives by getting paid for more hours than were worked.

  • Nice to see everyone being so civil.

    In the 80’s, DC had a right-to-shelter law. This was repealed as there was too much demand. The city couldn’t afford it. Localities *should* care for the less fortunate. But one small jurisdiction shouldn’t care for the majority of the region’s poor. Reducing the offering might help to reallocate demand. Services will be sought where they are the most easily acquired. Right now that’s here. This is supply and demand.

    As for tax rates, DC property taxes are in line with the area. And while the “state” taxes are high, we don’t pay county or city tax. Move to Rockville then tell me about taxes (of course, you’ll get decent schools). Or enjoy Virginia’s property tax for a while.

  • but christina, they do disgust me.

    TANF needs to be overhauled, it needs to apply to more people, with more assistance and over a longer period of time.

  • oh right anon at 4:19 pm, please let me tell you where I work so you can call and report me for blog posting. although they’d read what I’ve posted and applaud.

  • I know they disgust you, VOR. But I don’t know why they should disgust *me*.

    I’m not poor, I admit. Maybe I should be taxed more, by your thinking. But a lot of the poor people I know are actually quite firm in their belief that government shouldn’t be giving handouts — they want a fair shake, but not a crutch. In that sense, I think you may be more leftist than the people you say you support.

    But you know, not everyone posts here to try to debate or convince others; if you’re just sharing your thoughts, that’s okay too, of course (not that you need my permission or approval; I’m just saying)

  • christina, government assistance is not a handout, it’s proper distribution of resources. i’m not trying to “help” anyone, i’m trying to make sure the fair shake you talk about is actually fair. people should be free to work or not work as they choose.

  • voiceofreason have you ever been poor? I ask because I have. I can to this country in rags, and have worked by ass off for the little I have. It’s apparent you have no clue what it’s really like being at the bottom.

  • If you work harder, you should be paid more. Our society is based on the premise that hard work leads to rewards.

    Getting a hand-out leads to laziness.

    If I volunteer to work 10 extra hours and get an extra $100 for doing so, why should somone who did nothing be given a portion of that?

  • “people should be free to work or not work as they choose.” Damn you really are a fool.

  • “Our society is based on the premise that hard work leads to rewards.”

    That’s they myth. It’s not the reality for most people. It’s a false premise.

  • Of course I am being overly optimistic and gut-heavingly cliche here, but this “budget crisis” is also a “budget opportunity.” I’ve worked at 3 different organizations where the budget axe fell. In 2 cases, it fell hard. What resulted in 2 of those cases was a total accounting of how we did what we did, what it cost, and why we did it. In both cases, this ended up providing a new life to the organizations who have since come back stronger than before. Now obviously government change and decision-making is not the same as in the private sector, but we really should be using this as an opportunity to shine as much light on the budget as possible, identifying our priorities as a city, and getting smarter about how we spend that money. More practically, we should stop bitching and start electing people who also think this way.

    It doesn’t matter whether you are a commie or a drinker of the poor man’s blood…waste hurts all of us.

  • What about DIGNITY? You can’t have it if you aren’t making a contribution. If you ignore that then you don’t really care about the poor, you just enjoy the power you get having them depend on you.

  • Well voice, have you ever actually been poor? Like my parents have to skip meals for themselves to buy my siblings and I shoes for school poor… as you can imagine my parents are my heroes.

  • I’ve been “rich”, “poor” and all things in between.

  • @voiceofreason

    Pretty funny: District residents are among the most liberal in the country, so if you can’t sell The Revolution here, you might want to adjust your rhetoric there, Champ.

    Seriously, I can think of only one or two posters above who are against social welfare services in general. Most are in favor of social services that actually work.

    While it’s great that you’re in your “third decade” [21? 22?] if you can’t wrap your mind around the criminal waste that throwing no-strings-attached money at multi-generational poverty has wrought in this cyt, you need to expand your horizons, live a little, and get out of NW. Your “proper distribution of resources” is doing a lot of damage to a lot of families.

  • dignity is every individual’s choice. the government has no say in that, whether or not distributes zero dollars or billions of dollars. what the government can do is provide an equitable distribution of its citizen’s resources, which it currently does not do, after that, again, it’s every person’s choice to work, not work, whatever. the current system doesn’t even give people that choice.

  • “people should be free to work or not work as they choose”

    HAHAHAHAHAHA – you can’t be a real person, you are just f’ing with everyone. I just realized it’s after 5:00, so you are probably on your way to pass out clean needles in the city.

  • Did I screw up my math? I guess I’m in my fourth decade, late thirties.

  • “Our society is based on the premise that hard work leads to rewards.”

    That’s they myth. It’s not the reality for most people.”

    Yeah, the reality is that in DC, you don’t need to put in the hard work to reap the rewards. It’s enough to have a few kids that you can’t support, and presto, government assitance. (But god forbid we suggest more family planning resources. That would be “racist”.)

    And if you DO work 50-60 hour weeks, the student loans that made it possible for you to get that “prestigious” job might well make it impossible to enjoy the salary it brings.

    It’s a mythical premise indeed.

  • I’m by far not in the boat as voiceofreason, but it does seem that the allocation of resources has shifted such that too much goes to too few. Compare the salaries of large company CEOs now as a multiple of the median employee’s salary and you get a factor of 500-1000. This number is far larger than it historically has been and it’s not because CEOs are getting more valuable to companies or that average employees are less valuable.

  • government cannot and should not control people’s lifestyle choices. it should be conduct neutral short of violent conduct and give the $ to those who need it, taking more away from those who don’t. currently it goes the other way around.

  • There will always be poor people, and if you’re born poor, chances are good that you will remain poor.

    I don’t konw the solution, but a good start would be if poor people would have fewer children.

    If you’re not ready to bring a child into this world, educate them, read to them, help them with their homework, teach them not to steal and to work hard, then you should not have that child.

    It is unbelievable that two succesful, educated, loving, and committed parents have to jump through so many hoops to adopt when people on welfare can produce child after child without any limitations.

  • If you take my $ away to give to poorer people, then I will need someone else’s $.

    I don’t WANT someone else’s $. I want to earn my own. Doesn’t what you’re suggesting count as “the government controlling my lifestyle choices”?

  • not all your money wdc, just some of it. will you need to adjust your lifestyle? yes. but that’s a good thing.

  • I feel like this discussion has taken a turn toward the fantastical.

  • Ah. So the government SHOULD control our lifestyle choices, by taking away our money and making us adjust. But that’s a good thing.

    Wait. What?

  • sweet jebus….”MY tax dollars”??? taxes are what we pay to belong to a community. yes, repuglicans, do move out. take your precious piles of dough to someplace lots better. but be sure you file your taxes when you get there! no fair not filing cuz you don’t like to part with your beloved $$ or don’t like the idea of sharing the planet with poor people.

  • but how you adjust, what choices you make, changes you make, they are up to you, not the government. sure, adjusting income levels makes an impact, but every action makes an impact.

  • Sure, part of why people go to college and study hard is because they want to do something they care about and they want to contribute to society, but the fact is that they also do it because they want to live well not to mention that they have to be able to pay off their student loans.

    Should we pay someone who works as a scientist doing cancer research who went to school for 20 years the same amount that we pay someone who sweeps the floor? No. That would not work. We’d either run out of doctors or we’d run out of money really quick.

  • I feel like this discussion has taken a turn toward the fantastical.

    It’s pretty magical, actually. When this thread started, I held the position that there should be greater services for the poor, just that the load should be more evenly distributed across city/suburb/rural municipalities instead of thinking, “How can we turn cities *exclusively* into socially dysfunctional ghettos.”

    After having read some of the more dewy-eyed Utopians, I feel like writing to my council member to encourage him to zero-out social services lest some of the money find its way into whatever organization employs these folks.

    It’s the work of such people that empowers Sarah Palin and her ilk.

  • “Should we pay someone who works as a scientist doing cancer research who went to school for 20 years the same amount that we pay someone who sweeps the floor?”

    YES! YES! YES! However, school needs to be free. Demand for the service performed should control whether people do that work, not the amount of $$ one can get doing it.

  • Voice, are you saying that if someone chooses not to work we should just keep supporting him because he is poor (by choice)?

  • VOR:

    Wow, I really respect the fact that you really seem to believe what you’re saying, kudos to you for being a humanitarian. But lets be realistic, this is AMuuuuRRRIIKA (in George W Bush accent) that BS isn’t going to work here. I think you’re better off in Sweden.

  • But it’s harder to be a scientist than it is to be a broom-pusher. I don’t think you understand.

    I think it makes sense for annual salary to fall along the $30K to $250K continuum based on your exptertise, your experience, and your RESULTS. It just would not work to pay everyone the exact same amount without considering their output or what they do.


    I will concede, that I don’t necessarily agree with a system in which someone makes several orders of magnitude more than that. I think there is corruption in the corporate world when someone can make $100M per year or more.

  • VOR, your concepts are absurd.

    Your “free choice” nirvana is hypocritical nonsense, since it is hardly “conduct neutral” to take what someone earns and give it to someone who chooses not to work. Let’s say my lifestyle choice is not to give my time, energy, resources and money to those who choose not to work. Or to anyone else, for that matter. I earned it, it’s all mine, and no one else is getting a penny. That is certainly as legitimate a “choice” as “not working, sitting on my ass, and demanding someone feed, clothe and house me.” Both are choices to withdraw from contributing to the betterment of all in favor of incredible selfishness. If government conduct is “neutral” about decisions affecting the overall welfare of a civilized society, it can’t take my money any more than it can make you get off your lazy ass and work.

    I’m all for redistributing wealth if you are talking about taking some of the excess from those who have plenty (including me) and provide a decent life to those who “choose” to contribute to society but can’t make ends meet because of lack of opportunity, or those who, through no fault of their own, are not able to contribute (physical or mental disability). But to suggest that those who work should just hand over the results of their work to someone who “chooses” sloth is not not radical leftist ideology. That’s merely lunatic raving.

  • “Taxes are what we pay to belong to a community”

    Then how come the whole community isn’t paying taxes? Don’t try to rationalize taxes as some sort of condo fee, it just makes you look like a moron.

  • it’s harder to be a scientist than a broom pusher, but you’re assuming that people only become scientists for the money, and that people only push brooms because it’s easier.

    if the income was evened out, some folks would still be scientists because they either really love science, they want to do something they consider more important or dignified than pushing a broom (merits of that consideration aside), they want to provide a needed service that they have some aptitude in, or some other reason be it rational or not.

    some people would push brooms because we need people to push brooms and it is easier, and not everyone has the ability or desire to be a scientist, teacher, salesman, actor, fire-eater, whatever.

    the needs of the society and the desires of the individual should control, not the fact that you can make a shitload of money for your effort doing one thing or another.

  • the needs of the society and the desires of the individual should control, not the fact that you can make a shitload of money for your effort doing one thing or another.

    I think we should model our society on Plato’s Republic. Communal child-rearing, and major decisions will be made by Philosopher Kings, who will make themselves known amongst the rabble by their virtue. Also, the armed forces will be comprised entirely of same-sex romantic partners.

    I mean, as long as we’re here furiously wanking off about the sort of society we will never have.

  • The only scenario in which I could see your approach working is one in which we went back to being hunter-gatherers or possibly subsistance farmers. Once you introduce trade into the equation, you have the ingredients for inequality because some people will produce more than others (whether that’s due to luck or due to one party working harder than the other) and when it comes time to trade goods, the one with a better harvest will end up with more.

  • cool – I’m totally up with Philosohper Kings! Or generally anyone making themselves known amongst the rabble by their virtue.

  • chresident: i never said i wasn’t a moron. how do you think of (rationalize) taxes?

  • As someone once said, I like paying taxes: with it, I buy civilization.

    Except in DC, where the city government has an amazing capacity to metabolize taxes into crap.

    DC schools: with the highest funding level in the nation, they’re still crap.

    DC cops: overweight, sleeping in their cars, with 4 (FOUR) full-time officers paid to do *nothing* but serve as union reps, keeping the bad apples from getting fired. God bless the occasional good cop, but the MPD is crap.

    DC Fire and EMS: they routinely roll 50-foot ladder trucks to respond to a medical call. That just *screams* crappy management.

    And don’t get me started on the $40-million+ that DC couldn’t be bothered to keep an eye on during the Great DC Tax Office Caper. More tax money converted directly into craptacular dye-jobs and shoes by Ms. Harriette Walters and her blind supervisors.

    DC government is crap from end to end. Throwing more $100-dollar bills into that septic tank of ineptitude isn’t going to fix anything. And if Detroit is any guide, starving the government of money isn’t a fix either.

    Our only hope is that the electorate will start choosing competent leaders rather than grandstanding demagogues. Which is to say: there is no hope.

  • Voiceofreason — Your ideas — what a hoot! Oh wait — you are actually serious aren’t you In that case how sad for a person to have such a poor understanding of basic economics well into their “4th decade”. and how scary for the rest of us that someone so clueless might actually vote — Nah no one could be that clueless

  • BooHoo. Get a job and then you won’t need a handout. While your at it stop having kids you can’t take care off!!

  • m.e.- I’m not one of those who see taxes as complete BS, in fact they can be a positive investment into one’s community. However, seeing that DC is so horribly mismanaged, you might as well be flushing that money down the toilet.

  • On the original topic, I think anybody suggesting DC raise the highest marginal tax rates should be reminded that we are uniquely situated in a metro area that provides you a choice of 3 taxing jurisdictions from which the richest can choose, and DC already has the highest rates of the 3 (as well as the worst schools and services). The Robin Hood philosophy that at times has prevailed in DC needs to be a thing of the past if the city wants to shore up its revenue base. Make no mistake about it — lots of rich people routinely choose to live out of the District to avoid the tax burden. Much better to advocate a commuter tax if you actually want some net gain here.

    And I have to say … VOR, now that you’re off the clock, I really wish you WOULD share the name of your non-profit, because I’d really like to make sure that I don’t give a penny to an organization filled with people who would applaud what you posted here today. But if you ever plan on going up for Open Mic Night at the Improv, let us know. You certainly gave me a good laugh today.

  • D.C. Republican: “DC has the highest taxes I’ve ever encounterred. I hear “Trim the Fat”, but at 10% sales tax DC already has ridiculous consumption taxes.”

    1. The general consumer sales tax in Washington, D.C. is 5.75%. The only consumer goods in D.C. taxed at 10% are “Restaurant meals, liquor for consumption on the premises, and rental vehicles.”

    Source: DC Code Citation: Title 47, Chapters 20 and 22.,a,1324,q,612629.asp

    Maryland residents pay 6%. So, MD tax>DC tax, and;

    2. Property tax rates in D.C. are lower than in Montgomery and P.G. Count[ies], MD. D.C. is $0.85/$100; P.G. County is $0.96/$100. All Montgomery County real property owners pay more than $1.00/$100 or 1% real property tax.

    So again, MD tax>DC tax.

    3. Also, personal income tax rates in D.C. are lower, for most residents, than the rates in Montgomery and P.G. counties in Maryland. MoCo = flat rate of 7.95%; PG = 7.85%.

    D.C. has a progressive personal income tax rate structure. D.C. residents pay 5.5% on the first $40k of income, and 8.5% on the amount above $40k. In other words, anyone earning less than $107k per annum pays less in personal income tax than someone living in MD.

    Next time, do your research.

  • anon at 11:42 pm . . . you can laugh all the way to hell, that’s where your headed when you suggest that people should decide where they live based on how to avoid paying more taxes.

  • It’s just a reality. It also helps people to decide where to shop and where to eat out.

    Tax policy does have implications. It’s not as simple as “raise taxes and increase your revenue.” In fact, often the unintented consequences will lead to lower revenue.

    Of course, instead of worrying about raising revenue, maybe we should think about lowering expenses. There’s an idea.

  • First voiceofreason demands that we allow everyone their lifestyle choices, including the choice of sloth. Now he damns to hell people who choose to live where their taxes are lower. Consistency, please.

  • CH Resident: you’re absolutely right about the DC government’s mismanagement. and how about callyforneeya?? that’s another problem, though. we still need water, sewer, schools, fire departments, police, garbage collection, occasionally snow removal (mad, hysterical laughter….). i think the problem is not taxes but GREED. last i heard, that was a certifiable sin, but it seems to have become the cornerstone of our little banana republic. if you do move to Virginia, you will have representation in congress. please ask them to stop meddling with DC when we try to get rid of the effing guns! thankyaverramuch….

  • Voice of Reason: Why are you damning people to hell? I thought commies were atheists?

  • Damning people to hell now? Very interesting to turn to religion when there is no logical or scientific reasons to back your arguments…

    I’m sorry, but just to be able to survive you need to work for yourself. What happens to animals that don’t prepare for winter or don’t hunt for themselves in the wild? They die and it is a perfectly naturally occurring event. Humans are not that much different and we are a part of the natural world as well. We are slightly different in some ways. We hold some level of compassion and those who have an incapacity to work such as having decreased mental facilities, are elderly, and/ or have been maimed in an accident, certainly the community has a responsibility to help. However, I refuse to help those who can help themselves. We are doing them and the community a disservice by supporting laziness and creating a culture of non-self-sufficiency (which breeds for generation after generation). This is not a liberal vs. conservative argument.

    Also not a valid argument is communism. Communism in the “ideal” (if communism could actually work) does not advocate that some people will not work. Communism advocates that all will work for the betterment of society and will work in the area of their interest- which would best benefit the society overall. No where in Marx’s writing does he advocate a group that would not work or in fact work in a detriment to the society. Under true communism and under pure capitalism a non-working anti-society laziness would not exist because there would be no means of support for this group. Supporting non-working and lazy people goes against the fabric of society and no theorized society supports the argument that this group of people should continue to be supported.

    I’m all for freedom to choose your lifestyle. People certainly can choose not to work. However, they better understand that they better be pretty good at begging for money or living off the land because the community will not help them buy their next car or a new tv. We can give them enough to purchase food to survive in the short term, but nothing beyond that. If you can work, you should be doing that and not supporting people contributing to society is working against that society. By sponsoring the person in this way the rest of us are taking away power and honor from that person who could be working…

    There is a place for this money. We should provide opportunities to allow those individuals to dig themselves out of trouble, but not empower them to hold themselves in a demeaning and hated role in our society. If you can get started picking up trash on the road and work yourself into higher positions in our community, that would be the best for everyone.

  • VOR really took everyone for a ride. bravo, sir. bravo.

  • Voiceofreason is no Communist. Communism envisions a WORKERS’ utopia, not a “I choose not to work” utopia. Communists would throw anyone making that choice into a nice gulag somewhere.

  • Jim, and even in that nice gulag they would still have to work. You can’t just seat around in your cell and wait until your next “meal” is slipped under the cell gate.

  • Well, I know my spouse has called the ‘burbs her own private hell, but now that I’ve been cursed with eternal damnation, might as well make at least one more point …

    VOR, even if I accept that radical wealth redistribution is the societal goal towards which we should be working, it doesn’t necessarily follow that government tax policy and spending on social services delivery is the most efficient way to achieve that end. Indeed, I’d suggest that experience suggests the District’s government in particular is probably the least efficient (or likely) way to achieve it, as its been rife with mismanagement, neglect, and outright corruption. You don’t seem to allow that the many people who choose to save thousands a year in income taxes by living in a different jurisdiction actually might direct a large % of those tax savings to non-profits of their own choosing that are much more efficient in delivering services and achieving the end of leveling the socio-economic playing field.

    I’m tempted to write a little more on this point, but I’m new here and am told Idi Amin, Pol Pot, and Falwell run a doozy of a book club that starts promptly at noon. I don’t want to be late on my first day.

Comments are closed.