Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thoughts on fairness, from Senator Mary Landrieu

AlphaNinja - I disagree with this Senator a majority of the time. Hell, I disagree with half her talking points in this speech. But she highlights a very innapropriate amendment that was passed by 73 senators.

Her fellow Louisiana Senator Vitter put forth an amendment to a housing bill that recipients of public housing must perform 8 hours of community service as "thanks." Sounds good on the surface, until reality sets in - forcing the poor to do community service, while other recipients of govt money (student loans, low mortgage rates, cash for clunkers, bank/auto bailouts) are ignored? Senator Landrieu is right, and this is shameful.

The end of the speech is what I refer to - the first part in which she defends criminal residents of low income housing is NOT what I support.

This amendment reinstated a law that says that if you live in public housing, you have to do 8 hours of community service. That sounds pretty good. People think, we are providing housing for people. They should be grateful. The least they can do is community service.

I am a big supporter of community service. I try to do it when I can. I support community service and I support calling all of our citizens to community service. What I don't support is making poor people and mostly minorities do community service, while other people sit on the sideline and never are required to do it, even though the largesse they receive from our government is much greater than a resident of public housing could ever hope to get even if they lived there for 50 years.

If you lived in public housing for 50 years, you could not possibly benefit as much from the General Treasury as if you would if you were the executive of AIG to whom we gave a gazillion dollars. Did we ask them to do 8 hours of community service? We didn't even ask him to pay the money back. Somebody has to wake up in this Chamber.

I am not fussing at my colleagues because I know people have a different view about this. But if we want to require law students to do 8 hours of community service for the loans they get, fine. But don't just pick on the poor because they can't fight back, and they don't have any lobbyists up here for them.

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