Taxpayer outrage forced the City of Houston to cancel a program that would have seen taxpayer-funds used to pay off other people’s credit card debt — all in the name of encouraging folks with bad credit scores to have ready access to home mortgages. Apparently the city council hadn’t been paying attention to the national financial news. But they did pay attention to their constituents, thanks to the Houston Chronicle and the work of TFR and other outlets.

We sounded off early against the program, making it clear that it was one of the more irresponsible things the city could do with taxpayer dollars.

We then decided to have a little fun with, and created a “public service announcement” available on our website and at our YouTube channel.

Houston Mayor Bill White was apparently embarrassed — though by the program or by getting caught is unknown.

“I don’t think we ought to be in the business of paying off someone’s debt so they can buy a house,” White conceded during an impassioned City Council meeting. “Paying off people’s credit cards is ridiculous.”

Councilwoman Pam Holm waved a thick stack of e-mails from angry residents.

“I do not understand how we can ever justify spending taxpayer dollars to pay somebody’s credit card,” she said. “I don’t understand how it can be even considered to come up. I am truly embarrassed. I think it shows poor leadership.”

It just goes to show, yet again, that when taxpayers act, politicians will listen. We just have to speak very loudly.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, and a dog. Check out his podcast, Reflections on Life and Liberty.

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