Tuesday, August 10, 2010

HCD's Lack of Integrity

On Friday the city announced that 29 positions at the Houston Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) were being eliminated. The press release states that the move is part of
a restructuring that will restore financial integrity, improve performance and facilitate expansion of the mission to include a new focus on community development. 
Interestingly HCD admits that it has lacked financial integrity. Apparently this was acceptable in the past, but with the city fighting a budget deficit, city officials want to appear that they care about things like integrity and fiscal responsibility. Given the very nature of HCD, it is doubtful that such concern will last for long. In fact, the press release itself indicates that such concern didn't last for more than 4 paragraphs:
Mr. Noteware [HCD director Jim Noteware] decided against a larger reduction in force that would have eliminated the deficit entirely due to concerns that it would harm the department’s performance.
Since the agency didn't eliminate its budget deficit, what does it mean by "financial integrity"? We can only guess since they don't bother to tell us. Apparently, wasting less of the taxpayer's money constitutes "integrity" in the eyes of HCD. Apparently, claiming that they will restore integrity is sufficient and should make us all feel better.

The truth is, agencies such as HCD are engaged in the redistribution of wealth, forcibly taking money from some for the alleged benefit of others. HCD would have us believe that it is virtuous for exercising some restraint in the level of its theft.

This is akin to a criminal demanding your wallet at gun point, examining its contents, returning a portion of your money, and then proclaiming his virtue for showing some restraint. Any reasonable person would regard this as absurd. The principle does not change simply because government is holding the gun.

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