The federal government is contracting with an organization that inherited the confidential files of a social-engineering housing program in Chicago and several other cities in the 1970s to study the impact of housing on reproduction.
Yep. Exactly that.
The effort entails looking up the identifications of the original participants in the housing program and then matching them with reproduction records.
The details of the plan were posted under a Notice of Intent to Sole Source at the FedBizOpps.gov website. That means, essentially, the government picked the contractor without competition, based on its access to the names of the original participating in the housing experiment, which was known as the “Moving to Opportunity” program.
“The [National Bureau of Economics] is the only holder of the original MTO data files with identifiable information,” the government said. “The identifiable MTO data that NBER holds is needed to link participants to vital registry records in order to fully evaluate reproductive health impacts including adolescent fatherhood, preterm and low birth weight births.
“Vital records registries routinely release vital statistics data for linking for approved research purposes,” it said.
The government said the purpose of the contract is to match vital statistics data to the female and male adult and youth participants in the MTO study from 1994 to 2012 and “subsequently evaluate the impact of a housing mobility experiment on reproductive health outcomes.”
A required task would be to submit necessary proposals to state vital records registries “to obtain release of vital records data for data linkage.”
It is the Centers for Disease Control that is awarding “a sole source firm fixed price purchase order … for analytical services to access the reproductive health impacts of Moving to Opportunity.”
MTO was a “major randomized social experiment sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development,” according to the Notice of Intent to Sole Source.
The experiment developed during the George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations when HUD began distributing vouchers to help thousands of black and Latino families flee the ghettos of Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York and escape to “low poverty” and “less distressed” communities, sometimes in the suburbs.
“Pregnancy and birth outcomes are systematically underreported in survey data,” the solicitation said. Consequently, NBER will link available data with “vital records” to devise the reproductive health-impact estimate.
WND’s discovery of the new MTO data assessment follows a separate, unrelated report on a CDC plan to transfer 300,000 government-collected urine, blood and other human bodily fluid specimens into private hands.
The MTO program was inspired by, but unconnected to, the court-mandated desegregation of public housing projects in Chicago, where a remedy initiative known as Gautreaux distributed housing vouchers to low-income families. Gautreaux was a state and local program that later served as a model for Washington’s programs. Its original files ended up with NBER.
Those families were required to use the vouchers “to move to predominantly white or racially mixed neighborhoods.”
Seeking to repeat the purported successes of Gautreaux, Congress initially appropriated about $70 million “for approximately 1,300 Section 8 rental assistance payments” to be used in the MTO demonstration project.
Congress later rescinded a second year of MTO funding.
Although up to a third of the vouchers went unused in some cities, the MTO program nonetheless produced volumes of data on the benefits of such government-orchestrated social action.
Program proponents lauded the initiative for boosting adult physical health while reducing depression, particularly among teens, in many participant families.
Critics slammed the program for failing to demonstrate a positive impact on the recipients’ economic self-sufficiency.
After Clinton resumed the MTO program begun under Bush, the libertarian Ludwig von Mises Institute derided the initiative for giving “welfare recipients housing vouchers worth as much as $1,677 per month for rental housing in middle-class neighborhoods.”
“People who get a voucher are getting other people’s property (tax dollars) which they use to finance a government-supervised shopping spree, in this case, for housing,” economist Thomas DiLorenzo wrote in the article “HUD Goes Berserk,” which appeared in the group’s monthly report.
The phrase “reproductive health,” according to one government definition, refers to the “diseases, disorders and conditions that affect the functioning of the male and female reproductive systems during reproductive age.”
Various factors can “affect adult fertility and birth outcomes such as premature birth, low birth weight and infant death – as well as a potential change in population growth.”
“Men, and especially women, are less likely to have poor birth outcomes if they are in good physical and mental health, and practice healthy behaviors before and during pregnancy,” the government said.
The federal government reported NBER was the agency responsible for the development of the research design and analysis for the MTO operation years ago.
“They are intimately familiar [with] the MTO data and have developed the programming codes necessary to link with other sources of data and estimate treatment effects,” the government said.