December 16, 2011

Secretary Donovan Talks to the Black Eagle About Payroll Tax Cut and Decline in Veteran’s Homelessness

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Today, Secretary Donovan made an appearance on the top rated nationally syndicated Joe Madison Show.  Secretary Donovan’s interview with Joe “The Black Eagle” Madison focused on the current acrimony in Washington and how it could impact all Americans and particularly African-American communities. The conversation began with the most pressing issue, the payroll tax cut that Congress has still failed to pass.

As economists on both sides of the aisle have argued, failure to pass the Obama payroll tax cut would have a ruinous effect on the economy, hindering growth and the creation of jobs. As we noted in this space yesterday, this failure would have a disproportionate impact on African-American families, amounting to a tax increase of nearly $1100 for the average family during these tough economic times.

Secretary Donovan also noted that taking at least $1000 out of the pockets of millions of Americans could threaten the already-fragile housing market. “We’re going to take a housing market that has just really began to show signs of improving, and set it back,” Donovan said,  “a thousand dollars less in your pocket makes it harder to pay the mortgage, and that’s just not acceptable.”

Madison, whose show airs on American Forces Radio, also asked Donovan about HUD’s recent announcement of a twelve percent decline in veteran’s homelessness.

“This President pledged to end the war in Iraq and he kept his promise” Donovan said. “He is bringing those soldiers home for the holidays. We owe these soldiers more than our thanks, we owe them that when they come back, they can find a job, and we owe them a decent place to live.”

While the recent decline in veterans homelessness is good news, Secretary Donovan stressed that there is much left to be done given that America’s veterans are 50 percent more likely than the average American to be homeless. Of homeless veterans, one third of those living in shelters are African-American. As Secretary Donovan said, “That is simply unacceptable.”

“There is no more sacred pledge than we have as a country than to honor and protect those who have fought for our freedom,” Secretary Donovan said, “and one of the most important things I could ever do as HUD secretary is to keep that pledge that President Obama has made to end veterans homelessness by 2015.”

You can listen to the entire interview HERE or read the transcript HERE.

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