CAGW Names Sen. Kamala Harris August 2018 Porker of the Month | Citizens Against Government Waste

CAGW Names Sen. Kamala Harris August 2018 Porker of the Month

Porker of the Month

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) its August 2018 Porker of the Month for proposing a bill that would subsidize rent with taxpayer dollars.

On July 19, 2018, Sen. Harris introduced S. 3250, the Rent Relief Act.  The legislation would create a new refundable tax credit for rent payments greater than 30 percent of a person’s gross income of $100,000 or less. 

Forcing taxpayers to subsidize rent is a recipe for fiscal disaster. The bill would encourage the same behaviors that led to the student loan bubble.  A February 2017 study by the New York Federal Reserve found that as students took out larger federally-subsidized loans, colleges and universities hiked tuition, blunting the benefits for students and increasing the burden on taxpayers.  The same would be true in the rental market.  Tenants would be incentivized to rent the most expensive allowable properties and landlords would be able to spike rents without facing a financial downside because taxpayers would foot the increased bill.  Conservative estimates put the price of the subsidy at $76 billion per year, and those costs would surely increase, like other federal programs intended to help the poor. 

The Tax Foundation called Sen. Harris’s plan “a well-intentioned misfire,” and concluded that the bill, “would fail to address the root causes of the high cost of housing.  Instead, it would wind up benefiting landlords, not significantly improving the lives of renters, and carrying a hefty price tag.”  University of Georgia economics professor Jeffrey Dorfman wrote, “Instead of the Rent Relief Act, we could call it the Landlord Enrichment and Taxpayer Fleecing Act.”

CAGW President Tom Schatz said, “Sen. Harris’s bill would be a boon for landlords and a drain on taxpayers.  If she wants to decrease rental costs, she should propose policies that make it easier to build and rent properties.  Taxpayer subsidies will cause rental costs to skyrocket.” 

For proposing an expensive and impractical taxpayer-funded rent subsidy, CAGW names Sen. Kamala Harris its August 2018 Porker of the Month.

Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.  Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.

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