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Who’s in charge, here?
SO MANY LEVELS

Ben Carson—charged with slashing the public-housing budget—spent part of his day stuck in a public-housing elevator

By Elisabeth Ponsot

US housing secretary Ben Carson found himself in a claustrophobic predicament—and stuck inside a metaphor come to life—as he became trapped in an elevator during an April 12 visit to a Florida public housing complex, the Miami Herald reports.

Miami-Dade fire rescue was called to the scene to pry apart the elevator’s jammed doors.

The incident came at an inopportune moment for the Trump administration, which recently called for slashing the overall budget for the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by 13%
in its 2018 proposal.

Notably, these cuts specifically target federal money spent on building repair—such as, theoretically—making sure elevators function properly.

“The preliminary budget maintains the same level of funding to rental assistance programs and avoids reductions that could directly put families on the streets,” the Washington Post reported in March. “Instead, it targets funding for building maintenance and community development projects, although HUD recommends in the budget document that those projects receive funding from another source.”

Significant cuts to maintenance funds, if implemented, will likely worsen a backlog of repair work already outstanding in sites across the country, the Post said.

From the start, Carson’s appointment as the head of HUD has been controversial. Critics point to the former Republican presidential candidate’s lack of experience in government as making him unfit to run an agency of this size.

Some of those critics took to Twitter following the incident, with what can only be described as joyful vindication that at least — for 20 minutes in a Miami neighborhood— some version of comedic justice had been served.