Undeserving Poor
Professional Victims And The People Who Love Them
Fake Poor, 'The Homeless', Vagrants, Hoboes and Other Miscreants

'No Deserving Poor Refused' was once the slogan of Oliver H. Bair & Co, a Philadelphia funeral home. There truly are "deserving poor" in the U.S.: folks temporarily down on their luck, victims of a horrific crime or major tragedy, families with severely disabled children, etc.

But, once the government gets involved in "helping" - either directly or through a government-funded nonprofit, the "deserving" part gets tossed and the scammers, the lazy and the undeserving rudely elbow their way to the head of the line, receiving most of the benefits. That's wrong.

It's Happening Everywhere: Not too long ago, Santa Barbara was the place to live. Known as the Riviera of the West Coast, it was also the home the home of the Montecito rich, famous and beautiful. Now … not so much.

Santa Barbara - 2010

Santa Barbara is being overrun with bums. Andy Caldwell wrote, "Whereas, some people are homeless through no fault of their own, instead of helping these people, your woke Santa Barbara City Council is trying to avoid spending $100 million to relocate several hundred homeless people because they rightfully fear these mentally and emotionally addled bums, derelicts, drunkards, and drug addicts will otherwise burn your town down."

"So now we find ourselves trying to plead, cajole and lure hundreds of 'house-challenged' individuals from camping, replete with campfires, in our creeks, highways, byways, parks and beaches. How does the so-called birthplace of the environmental movement tolerate tons of trash, feces, hypodermic needles, stolen bicycles, couches, abandoned cars and the like being dumped into creeks and river beds that are otherwise considered sacrosanct?

Well, it all has to do with the feckless politicians you keep electing time and time again.

They have mistaken tolerance for mercy and compassion. The difference? Tolerance withholds any form of judgement. This mind set considers all these homeless people to be victims that society failed. None of them are held accountable for their criminality and the degradation they bring on this community or their unwillingness to accept the help they really need."

The author noted, "These people are homeless because they burned every friend and relative they had. Now they are fixing to burn the town down. In places like Kansas, at least in days of old, they had mercy and compassion on the downtrodden, but they also had reasonable expectations of sentient human beings. That is, they would help the poor but not the shiftless."

It's important to remember that the present city council exists because of voters. One Instapundit commenter wrote that Santa Barbara has "the worst voters ever who believe every proggie piety that comes down the pike. There's no point in blaming government officials for their noxious ideas: they told us they were evil and stupid when they were running. Every bit of the blame lies with the voters." (posted 7/8/21, permalink)

Enabling Homelessness And The Organizational Scams Which Perpetuate It: Christopher F. Rufo has studied Seattle's homeless problem and the ineffective government response. "Over the past five years, the Emerald City has seen an explosion of homelessness, crime, and addiction. Property crime has risen to a rate two and a half times higher than Los Angeles's and four times higher than New York City's."

The Seattle metro area "spends more than $1 billion fighting homelessness every year. That's nearly $100,000 for every homeless man, woman, and child in King County, yet the crisis seems only to have deepened, with more addiction, more crime, and more tent encampments in residential neighborhoods. By any measure, the city’s efforts are not working."

Rufo noted that "four ideological power centers frame Seattle's homelessness debate. I'll identify them as the socialists, the compassion brigades, the homeless-industrial complex, and the addiction evangelists. Together, they have dominated the local policy discussion, diverted hundreds of millions of dollars toward favored projects, and converted many well-intentioned voters to the politics of unlimited compassion. If we want to break through the failed status quo on homelessness in places like Seattle - and in Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, too - we must first map the ideological battlefield, identify the flaws in our current policies, and rethink our assumptions."

More than half of Seattle’s homeless come from outside the city limits. And, 63% of the street homeless refuse shelter when offered it by the city's Navigation Teams, claiming that "there are too many rules" (40%) or that "they are too crowded" (33%). Well, there's an old saying: Beggars can't be choosers.

Scott Lindsay, Seattle's former top crime advisor, reported, "The increase in street disorder is largely a function of the fact that heroin, crack, and meth possession has been largely legalized in the city over the past several years. The unintended consequence of that social policy effort has been to make Seattle a much more attractive place to buy and sell hard-core drugs."

Rufo continued, "Who stands to gain? In the world of Seattle homelessness, the big 'winners' are social-services providers like the Seattle Housing and Resource Effort (SHARE), the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), and the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC), which constitute what I call the city’s homeless-industrial complex. For the executive leadership of these organizations, homelessness is a lucrative business. In the most recent federal filings, the executive director of LIHI, Sharon Lee, earned $187,209 in annual compensation, putting her in the top 3 percent of income earners nationwide. In my estimation, the executive director of DESC, Daniel Malone, has received at least $2 million in total compensation during his extended career in the misery business."

"It wasn't always this way. When I spoke with Eleanor Owen, one of the original cofounders of DESC, she explained that the organization's mission has shifted over the years from helping the homeless to securing government contracts, maintaining a $112 million real-estate portfolio, and paying a staff of nearly 900." “It's disgraceful," she said. "When we started, we kept our costs low and helped people get back on their feet. Now the question is: How can I collect another city contract? How can I collect more Medicaid dollars? How can I collect more federal matching funds? It's more important to keep the staff paid than to actually help the poor become self-sufficient."

The deeper problem is that social policies have created a system of perverse incentives. The social-services organizations get paid more when the problem gets worse. Homelessness might rise or fall, but the leaders of the homeless-industrial complex always get paid.

As the saying goes: You always get more of what you subsidize. So, what would happen if all these programs were defunded? I suspect many of the homeless would leave, moving to friendlier places. The rest could be dealt with through a Hassle The Homeless program, where police actively enforced laws already on the books and adapted a zero-tolerance policy for drug users.

In Houston, Texas, local leaders have reduced homelessness by 60% through a combination of providing services and enforcing a zero-tolerance policy for street camping, panhandling, trespassing, and property crimes.

Rufo concluded, "Ultimately, the success or failure of local government is a back-to-basics proposition: Are the streets clean? Are the neighborhoods safe? Are people able to live, work, and raise their families in a flourishing environment? We have the resources to contain the homelessness crisis, in Seattle and elsewhere. The question is whether political leaders will have the courage to act?"

There are more homeless today than there were in the Great Depression. (posted 6/21/21, permalink)

'Seattle Is Dying' is a 60-minute film released in 2019.

This documentary, produced by the Seattle's KOMO television channel, shows that the appeal of the once-beautiful city is giving way to rampant crime and homelessness and disgrace. Homeless camps are everywhere. Homeless in run-down campers and motorhomes seem to have taken over South Seattle, once a thriving industrial area. In the 1980s, I had quite a few customers there and spent much time in the area.

This one-hour video demonstrates that almost all homeless are wacked-out druggies - meth and heroin use is widespread. 'Homeless' is just a euphemism for what is in reality, a rampant drug problem. Contrary to popular belief, homeless people are not mental patients released in the 1970s. Think about it - that was almost 50 years ago. Most of those unfortunates are now dead. The 'crazy' behavior of today's homeless is drug or alcohol induced.

The Emerald City is dying because their is no plan in place to address this problem. The documentary offers solutions, in particular, a well thought-out program that is being used successfully in Providence, RI.

I highly recommend this video. It is well worth your time.

Incidentally, mental illness is another subject entirely. I've written about it here. (posted 1/28/21, permalink)

Rockin' The Homeless: The city of Albany, Oregon - about 70 miles south of Portland - has come up with a novel solution to homeless underpass trolls. The city dumped 522 tons of rocks and boulders to eliminate "squatters camping under the Pacific Boulevard viaduct in Albany where Jackson Street and Seventh Avenue meet."

Homeless squatting is not a form of camping. Camping is when you pitch a tent or park an RV for recreational-vacation purposes. Homeless squatting involves criminal trespass, littering and other criminal violations. It is also a great way to spread diseases. Some claim that homelessness is a manifestation of an "affordable housing crisis." Baloney. Repeated studies have shown that it is a mental health and addiction problem (drugs and alcohol). Besides, home prices in small-town Albany are substantially lower than in large metro areas.

Cities should not be places where people can pitch tents, live out of (stolen) shopping carts and destroy the cityscape, punishing good, law-abiding citizens. (posted 11/1/19, permalink)

No More Homeless People, Please: In Seattle, 100 homeless people in the city were responsible for more than 3,500 criminal cases. "These so-called "prolific offenders" all had drug habits and about a third of them also had mental problems. But because they were homeless and their crimes were usually petty burglaries or theft, they were cycled through the justice system and released back onto the streets time and time again."

One is an arsonist who is responsible for a string of fires causing millions in damage. He has been arrested 23 times.

Dori Monson wrote, "We've got a bunch of bleeding hearts telling us over and over again that all we need is more tax money. A head tax on Amazon, a property tax increase from you. If you do that, things will be better… We are fools if we give them another penny. But we are equally great fools if we don't demand that they take the money we're already spending - since the majority of people on the streets don't want services and have chosen a lifestyle on the streets - and force people into rehab or, if they refuse, jail. We have to stop allowing this to just continue."

"We're spending more on homeless people than any city in the country, per capita, and things have gotten worse. Why? The homelessness industrial complex is not about saving lives, it's not about changing lives, and it's not about helping the most desperate. It is about the people who run the business that is homelessness. That's what this is all about."

We need to change the focus of all governmental quasi-governmental, and charitable institutions from "helping (enabling) the homeless" to "solving the homeless problem." Money formerly given to homeless programs should be redirected to building jails, harassing them to leave the area (roll up the government/charitable welcome mats) and institutionalizing dangerous mentally-ill people. There is no reason for homelessness to exist in a country with under 4% unemployment. (posted 3/13/19, permalink)

Giving Vagrants The Denver Boot: Recently, Glenn K. Beaton of Colorado wrote, "Alcoholics go to Alcoholics Anonymous, and they can only leave on the wagon. Obese people often go to camps where their caloric use and intake are closely monitored. So why do we encourage vagrants with drug problems to visit "shoot-up parks" to descend deeper into their sewer of dangerous and addicting drugs? For that matter, why do we encourage their vagrancy?"

Glenn noted that the problem isn't just in large cities but attractive vacation spots such as Aspen and Boulder, too.

Why, in a full-employment economy, are there so many vagrants? As someone from Boulder wrote, that there are more bums "because of more and better free stuff. According to some of them, they refuse to use the shelters and services offered by agencies because they don't like the rules and often want to keep drinking."

Casual community activists seeking their daily fix of feel-good want more immediate gratification and they want it at no cost. And some on the political left like vagrancy because they think it reflects badly on America.

"Enough. Let's stop using this problem and these people to treat our own emotional needs and for political purposes. Let's instead help these people and fix this problem. Let's get vagrants off the streets and into the treatment they need."

The new mantra should be: "Get help or get out!" (posted 5/24/18, permalink)

The War On Poverty Is Being Won: Oxford economist Max Roser, founder of the Our World in Data project, provides compelling evidence for that claim. Rather than focusing on today's noise, he and his team look at data to pursue the question, “How are things changing?

One of his most striking charts concerns extreme poverty. “Extreme poverty” is defined as living on the equivalent of $1.90/day or less, an amount that's adjusted to account for non-monetary income (trading for carrots), cost of living across time and so on. Here's the picture ... (more >>>)

Ghetto Grape Soda: Soft drinks were the top commodity bought by food stamp recipients shopping at outlets run by one major U.S. grocery retailer, according to a new study released by the Food and Nutrition Service. That's the federal agency responsible for running the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as the food stamp program.

By contrast, milk was the top commodity bought from the same retailer by customers not on food stamps.

"In calendar year 2011, according to the study, food stamp recipients spent approximately $357,700,000 buying soft drinks from an enterprise the study reveals only as 'a leading U.S. grocery retailer'."

That was more than they spent on any other "food" commodity - including milk ($253,700,000), ground beef ($201,000,000), 'bag snacks' - Doritos, Pringles, etc. - ($199,300,000) or packaged candy ($96,200,000).

Wow. Just wow. This is just another example of your tax dollars at waste. (posted 12/8/16, permalink)

The Soulless Nature Of Bureaucratic 'Charity': Theodore Dalrymple, an English writer, retired prison doctor and psychiatrist, wrote, "Compassion, it seems to me, is better as a retail than as a wholesale virtue."

"The most important criticism to be made of the welfare state is that it protects people from the consequences of their bad choices and therefore fosters and encourages those very choices, which generally follow the line of least resistance or favor instant gratification over longer-term desiderata. The welfare state undermines the taking of individual responsibility, especially where the economic difference between taking it and not taking it tends to be rather small, at least in the short-term.

Moreover, charity given as of right, for that is what the welfare state does, favors the undeserving more than the deserving, in so far as the undeserving have a capacity and even talent for generating more neediness than the deserving. (They also tend to be more vocal in their demands.)

The welfare state in fact dissolves the very notion of desert, because there is no requirement that a beneficiary prove he deserves what he is legally entitled to. And where what is given is given as of right, not only will a recipient feel no gratitude for it, but it must be given without compassion - that is, without regard to any individual's actual situation."

Oliver H. Bair Co., a Philadelphia Funeral Home located on Broad Street, used saturation advertising on the city's mass transit. The firm's ad placards could be found in every car on the Broad Street subway in the 1950s. Each ad carried the slogan 'No Deserving Poor Refused'. Seemed like a reasonable philosophy to me.

On my model train layout, I have a scale-model funeral home, Gruesome Brothers, which has the same slogan. The brothers look remarkably like Richard Nixon who, I always thought, looked like a funeral director. (posted 7/19/16, permalink)

Time For U.S. Bishops To Take A Big Drink From The STFU Chalice: Last week, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops criticized the Republican House Budget Committee for failing to meet certain "moral criteria" by "disproportionately cutting programs that serve poor and vulnerable people." The letter criticized cuts in the proposed Paul Ryan budget to food stamps and other assistance programs for The Poor.

I would remind readers that Kathy Shaidle, who knew poverty well as a child and young adult, has written that "the poor are the rich Jesus warned you about."

Bishop Stephen Blaire, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, singled out food stamp programs, urging lawmakers to reject "unacceptable cuts to hunger and nutrition" programs for "moral and human reasons." He said spending cuts should instead be made to subsidy programs that "disproportionately go to large growers and agribusiness."

"Cuts to nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will hurt hungry children, poor families, vulnerable seniors and workers who cannot find employment," said the letter, signed by Bishop Stephen Blaire. "These cuts are unjustified and wrong."

I call bullshit ... (more >>>)

the view through the windshieldAs Kathy Shaidle Often Writes ... "The poor are the rich Jesus warned you about."

College student Christine Rousselle spent two summers as a cashier at Wal-Mart and got a close-up look at The Welfare State.

"I witnessed generations of families all relying on the state to buy food and other items. I literally witnessed small children asking their mothers if they could borrow their EBT cards.

I once had a man show me his welfare card for an ID to buy alcohol. The man was from Massachusetts. Governor Michael Dukakis' signature was on his welfare card. Dukakis' last gubernatorial term ended in January of 1991. I was born in June of 1991. The man had been on welfare my entire life. That's not how welfare was intended, but sadly, it is what it has become."

She also witnessed "extravagant purchases made with food stamps; including, but not limited to: steaks, lobsters, and giant birthday cakes."

She found that not all entrepreneurs are noble beings. "A man who ran a hotdog stand on the pier in Portland, Maine used to come through my line. He would always discuss his hotdog stand and encourage me to "come visit him for lunch some day." What would he buy? Hotdogs, buns, mustard, ketchup, etc. How would he pay for it? Food stamps. Either that man really likes hotdogs, or the state is paying for his business. Not okay."

Read the entire article - it's worth your time. (hat tip: I Own The World)

Sum-Up: "The thing that disturbed me more than simple cases of fraud/abuse was the entitled nature of many of my customers." (posted 12/16/11, permalink)

Wealthy Poor: Ken McIntyre of NRO has pointed out that, in America, the so-called poor are pretty well-off. Data from the Department of Energy and other agencies show that the average poor family, as defined by Census officials:

Lives in a home that is in good repair, not crowded, and equipped with air conditioning, clothes washer and dryer, and cable or satellite TV service.

Prepares meals in a kitchen with a refrigerator, coffee maker and microwave as well as oven and stove.

Enjoys two color TVs, a DVD player, VCR and - if children are there - an Xbox, PlayStation or other video game system.

Had enough money in the past year to meet essential needs, including adequate food and medical care.

Reflect upon these data whenever liberals whine about the horrors of cuts in entitlement programs. As Kathy Shaidle often reminds us, "The 'poor' are the rich Jesus warned you about." (posted 7/25/11, permalink)

The Great Society: The recent abortion clinic horror in Philadelphia is just another example of the great rip in the nation's social fabric initiated by Lyndon B. Johnson when he decided to "help the poor."

Black economics professor Walter Williams has written, "The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn't do, what Jim Crow couldn't do, what the harshest racism couldn't do. And that is to destroy the black family."

More thoughts from Professor Williams can be found here. (posted 1/24/11, permalink)

Poor Baby: Third World countries produce abominations like the Smoking Baby. "Ardi Rizal isn't even out of diapers, but he already smokes around 40 cigarettes every day. The 2-year-old Sumatran boy was given his first cigarette at 18 months by his 30-year-old father, Mohammed. Now, he throws tantrums if he's denied his two-pack-a-day habit, according to his family."

The overweight tot uses a toy truck to get around instead of being active with other children.

This kind of behavior exists not because of poverty. It's because parents don't give a rip. To them, life is cheap. Help make a better life for their kids? Or others? Or their village? Forget it. Change requires effort.

This same theme is played out in an article in the Calgary Herald about homeless Canadian panhandlers, like "the young guy who joins up with an older fellow and the scam is asking for money for cab fare to get his "dad" to the hospital or a medical clinic or to get something to eat. Anything that will elicit your sympathy."

These charades are kept up "until the panhandler has enough money to buy the booze or drugs they need for the day.

Obviously, there are variations on this theme, but all panhandling scams have to do with "poor me" and "lucky you." And all panhandling scams have to do with satisfying an addiction. No, that's not true, you say. Have you ever seen the guy that walks between the cars with his "I'm trying to get home to Newfoundland" sign? He's been trying to get home for two years now! How about Mickie with the sad eyes in the wheelchair, your generosity is killing him; he's drunk and high all the time."

Another case where booze and drugs are more important than self-worth.

When life is cheap, there is no change. (posted 6/11/10, permalink)

Money For Nothing, 'cept Booze And Phones: In The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof has written, "There's an ugly secret of global poverty, one rarely acknowledged by aid groups or U.N. reports. It's a blunt truth that is politically incorrect, heartbreaking, frustrating and ubiquitous.

It's that if the poorest families spent as much money educating their children as they do on wine, cigarettes and prostitutes, their children's prospects would be transformed. Much suffering is caused not only by low incomes, but also by shortsighted private spending decisions by heads of households."

He provided an example: "Here in this Congolese village of Mont-Belo, we met a bright fourth grader, Jovali Obamza, who is about to be expelled from school because his family is three months behind in paying fees. (In theory, public school is free in the Congo Republic. In fact, every single school we visited charges fees.)

We asked to see Jovall's parents. The dad, Georges Obamza, who weaves straw stools that he sells for $1 each, is unmistakably very poor. He said that the family is eight months behind on its $6-a-month rent and is in danger of being evicted, with nowhere to go.

But Mr. Obamza and his wife, Valerie, do have cellphones and say they spend a combined $10 a month on call time.

In addition, Mr. Obamza goes drinking several times a week at a village bar, spending about $1 an evening on moonshine. I asked Mr. Obamza why he prioritizes alcohol over educating his kids. He looked pained.

Other villagers said that Mr. Obamza drinks less than the average man in the village (women drink far less). Many other men drink every evening, they said, and also spend money on cigarettes."

Kathy Shaidle has commented, "I've always wondered, in that Heathers "Aren't they fed yet?!" way: if those Sponsor a Child things are so great, why aren't they out of business. The first batches of kids must be well educated, and pulling up the rest of the bunch. No such luck, though. Now you know where your money goes ..."

Kristof concluded, "Well-meaning humanitarians sometimes burnish suffering to make it seem more virtuous and noble than it often is. If we're going to make more progress, and get kids like the Obamza children in school and under bed nets, we need to look unflinchingly at uncomfortable truths - and then try to redirect the family money now spent on wine and prostitution." (posted 6/4/10, permalink)

Mooch Nation: Kathy Shaidle has a wonderful saying which she periodically uses as a headline: 'The 'poor' are the rich Jesus warned you about'.

Kathy has posted something recently written by a postal carrier, "Given my job, I see every day the moochers among us. Many get their housing cheap or free. Regular checks from the federal government. Checks from the state and local agencies. Utility assistance. Cheap or free healthcare. So on and on. Yet many drink beer all day, cigarette butts in the yard, cars newer than mine, big screen tvs, 2-7 cell phones in the household, cable and so forth.

And when I come walking up, they want to know where their check is." (posted 4/16/10, permalink)

Spilt Milk: Gwendally wrote in her online journal about a neighborhood store which sold locally-produced organic milk in half gallon glass bottles. "It's fairly expensive, as milk goes, about $6 including the $2 bottle redemption fee attached to the glass bottles. ... But what's happening is that people are coming in and purchasing those glass bottles of milk with food stamps. Food stamp laws require that you not discriminate about what people can buy with them: they want the expensive milk, they're entitled to buy it.

Then they walk outside and dump the milk and come back in to cash in the bottle redemption, leaving with $2 in cash per bottle in their pocket."

This story reminds me of the time I was in line behind a kid at the supermarket on the morning of July 4th. He bought three bags of ice and paid for them with food stamps. (posted 11/13/09, permalink)

Quote Of The Day is from Thomas Sowell: "When I think of the people with serious physical or mental handicaps who nevertheless work, I find it hard to sympathize with able-bodied men who stand on the streets and beg. Nor can I sympathize with those who give them money that subsidizes a parasitic lifestyle which allows such men to be a constant nuisance, or even a danger, to others." (posted 11/4/09, permalink)

Walk The Line: A letter writer to The Reflector, North Clark County's weekly newspaper, lamented the presence of protesters at abortion clinics, noting that "every day patients and their families must walk past protestors just to get their reproductive health care needs met."

She pointed out that "the vast majority ... are low-income people who cannot afford to see a private doctor for their health care." Nor can they, apparently, afford to buy rubbers either. Although the vast majority seem to have enough bucks for booze, smokes and lottery tickets.

In this country, you may have a right to be poor but others have a right to protest. If it bugs you, save your money and pay for your own medical care.

There are already a great many poor-centric programs and safety nets. These programs do not differentiate between the working poor and the shiftless. Nor those impoverished by large medical bills and those who just fritter away assets. Or those made indigent through uncontrollable, tragic circumstances versus those who make dumb lifestyle choices.

Give people incentives to lift themselves out of poverty. Stop rewarding them just for being poor. I am far less interested in Social Justice than I am in Social Accountability. It is time to cull the herd of Professional Victims. (posted 6/24/09, permalink)

"The Least Of My Brothers" is another of Jesus' words which have been hijacked by people using them for their own agenda.

The "Least" phrase is used to justify delivering baked goods to prisoners (I wonder if anyone asks if any of the inmates were convicted of robbing a bakery) or supplying stocks of pretty decent foodstuffs at the local food bank. The one nearby also carries 50 pound sacks of dog food. My thinking is: if you're too poor to buy your food, you're too poor to own a dog. And, by the way, the vehicles in the food bank's parking lot are mostly big, relatively-new SUVs. My other thought: if you're so poor that you can't buy food, you should be driving an '87 Escort. Don't get me started on the people hanging around outside, smoking.

Let's not forget that when Jesus fed the hungry, he only gave out fish sandwiches. No tartar sauce. Nor anything Balsamic or Cilantro-laden. No sweet potato fries, either. The fish was free-range, however. And the bread was Artisan. In those days, all bread was Artisan. And probably stale and insect-laden.

John Zmirak has written the ultimate, How To Be A Christian Liberal handbook. "When arguing with someone, be sure to use the following terms at regular intervals in your sentences (don't worry about the grammar): Voiceless. Afflicted. Disadvantaged. Marginalized. Pastoral. Handicapped. Diverse. Needy. Displaced."

Anything you are defending, characterize with words like these. For instance, tenured homosexuals living in Cambridge, Mass., pouring the money they don't need to spend on diapers into overseas investments can be presented as "individuals whose personal choices of whom to love have rendered them marginalized and voiceless in a heterosexist world."

A drug lord scheduled for deportation back to Bolivia is really "a displaced Latino business-owner subject to America's draconian drug laws." A black guy who's collecting disability for a minor injury while working side-jobs off the books can come across as "a handicapped African-American struggling to support his needy family."

A pedophile priest who molested your son is really, the bishop explains, "a brother in Christ afflicted by a serious mental handicap with which he struggles prayerfully with the pastoral support of our Christian community."

Oh man, John's got it nailed. He continues: "Conversely, if you need to attack someone or something, employ any or all of these pejoratives: Comfortable. Bourgeois. Secure. Smug. Materialistic. Consumerist. Careerist. Racist. Xenophobic. Suburban. Hence a family where both parents work to pay Catholic school tuition so their kids won't get stabbed by members of Mexican gangs at Martin Luther King Elementary School are really "middle-class suburbanites whose racist attitudes are centered on a fear of diversity." See how it works? Anyone who has worked hard and built a career and lives in a city where you can't afford an apartment can be characterized as “a comfortable materialist engaged in the consumerist pursuit of a worldly lifestyle incompatible with Gospel values. And so on."

Meanwhile, our local parish has a Cookies For The Homeless program. As if bums don't already get enough sugar from drinking Night Train Express. (posted 4/30/09, permalink)

Bad Hangover: The local newspaper reported that a 51 year-old homeless man died of accidental strangulation after he fell and a strap of his heavy backpack became snagged on a top bar of the metal fence. He was climbing over a 6-foot-tall chain link fence to gain entry to a padlocked site while drinking beer and walking with his girlfriend "from their begging site to their homeless camp."

His 38 year-old homeless girlfriend, "who smelled of alcohol", said they'd been drinking beer after "flagging" for money at Southeast Mill Plain Boulevard and Interstate 205 in Vancouver. A police officer found about a dozen 40-ounce bottles full of beer in the man's backpack.

The only panhandler I've seen at Southeast Mill Plain Boulevard and Interstate 205 was a grizzly guy with a portable oxygen tank and nasal cannula. I always thought the tank and tubing were props. But maybe the tank was a well-disguised beer cooler. (posted 4/7/08, permalink)

Poor Data: We're often admonished to "do something" for America's Poor.

Here are some facts about persons defined as "poor" by the Census Bureau, taken from various government reports:

Forty-three percent of all poor households own their own homes. The typical 'poor house' is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage and a porch or patio. It was constructed in 1969 and is in good repair. (This sounds very much like our first house, purchased new in 1968 for $18,660.) The median value of homes owned by poor households was $95,276 in 2005 or 70 percent of the median value of all homes owned in the United States.

Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. (By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.)

Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.

The average poor American has more living space than the average individual (poor or not) living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens and other cities throughout Europe.

Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 31 percent own two or more cars.

Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.

Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception. Eighty-nine percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and more than a third have an automatic dishwasher.

All of this is a far cry from the Dickensian squalor often painted for us by the press, liberal activists, and politicians.

As a group, America's poor are far from being chronically undernourished. The average consumption of protein, vitamins, and minerals is virtually the same for poor and middle-class children and, in most cases, is well above recommended norms. Poor children actually consume more meat than do higher-income children and have average protein intakes 100 percent above recommended levels.

There are two main reasons that American children are poor: Their parents don't work much and fathers are absent from the home.

In good economic times or bad, the typical poor family with children is supported by only 800 hours of work during a year: That amounts to 16 hours of work per week. If work in each family were raised to 2,000 hours per year - the equivalent of one adult working 40 hours per week throughout the year - nearly 75 percent of poor children would be lifted out of official poverty.

Father absence is another major cause of child poverty. Nearly two-thirds of poor children reside in single-parent homes; each year, an additional 1.5 million children are born out of wedlock. If poor mothers married the fathers of their children, almost three-quarters would immediately be lifted out of poverty.

While work and marriage are steady ladders out of poverty, the welfare system perversely remains hostile to both. Major programs such as food stamps, public housing, and Medicaid continue to reward idleness and penalize marriage. If welfare could be turned around to require work and encourage marriage, poverty among children would drop substantially.

Illegal as well as legal immigrants play a significant role in swelling the count of Americans in poverty. This may seem surprising as there is a common perception that illegal immigrants are not recorded in Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS), which forms the basis of the official poverty estimate. This perception is inaccurate. The CPS and other Census surveys record whether an individual is an immigrant or non-immigrant but do not distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants.

Want to "do something" for the poor? Urge them to get/keep a full-time job and get/stay married, especially if they get knocked-up. As for immigrants, urge them to enter legally, adapt to their new country, become fluent in English and seek the American Dream.

Oh yeah ... and urge them to stay off drugs. Visit almost any homeless shelter and you'll find that 80+% of the residents have a significant drug history - crack, meth, etc. (posted 9/26/07, permalink)

Tramp Nation (Kinda Rhymes With Damnation): Florida is "considering a proposal that would make it a hate crime to assault a homeless person in Florida. If the measure is approved, Florida would become the first state in the country to include the homeless among the groups protected under the state's existing hate-crime law."

Ummmmm, how do you tell if someone's homeless? By the smell?

A 2006 report by the National Coalition for the Homeless (if you're homeless, how can you afford the #$%@! membership dues?) found 142 attacks last year against homeless people, up from 86 the year before.

142 people!!!! More than 142 people fall off toilets every day. Maybe we should outlaw toilets, too. Then we could all crap on the sidewalk - just like the homeless. Liberals could call it an Act of Symbolic Solidarity (ASS).

Greg Gutfeld writes that "it's the homeless who hate the "homed." They hate us because we are sheltered, because we don't poop in our pants, and because we tend to have sores checked out well before they become necrotic. We also don't push people in front of subway trains." (posted 4/11/07, permalink)

the view through the windshieldI Was A Homeless Teen: I was listening to the radio last month and heard something to the effect that the state of Oregon is worried about homeless teens. Lest you get visions of an adolescent doing his homework under a viaduct or sleeping in a decrepit station wagon (or Ford Aerostar), Oregon also includes as a homeless teen "anyone who lives in the home of a relative."

From age 11 to 19, I lived with my grandmother. After my aunt died, my elderly grandmother lived alone and refused to move from the large home she had occupied since 1924. She wouldn't move in with us, so my parents sold our house and our family moved in with her.

She was a semi-shut in, prone to falling and lived in a four-story dwelling with steep stairs. Realistically, she couldn't live alone.

I had my own room. So did everyone else. I never felt deprived. But, apparently, I was "homeless."

Am I the only one who thinks this move to "redefine" homelessness is just another ploy by some government agency to get more taxpayer funding? (posted 1/17/07, permalink)

America's Poor Generally Aren't: This article noted that "the proportion of households lacking air-conditioning was lower among the officially poor in 2001 than among the general public in 1980."

By 2001, over half of all poverty-level households had cable television and two or more television sets. And one in four had a personal computer, one in six had internet access, and three out of four had at least one VCR or DVD player.

At the time of the 1972–73 consumer expenditure survey, almost three-fifths of the households in the lowest income quintile had no car. By 2003, however, nearly three of four had some sort of motor vehicle. "By 2003, quite a few poverty-level households had multiple motor vehicles: Fourteen percent had two or more cars, and 7% had two or more trucks."

Does this sound "poor" to you? And, considering the large number of very unwealthy immigrants flowing into the U.S. each year, it's remarkable that the poverty rate isn't much greater. (posted 9/8/06, permalink)

Strike Up The Band: Greg Gutfeld rants about "indigents": "In England, people don't use the word "homeless." They call them "tramps," which is a great word, in my humble opinion. I think it makes our unhoused brethren sound more interesting, more exciting, and possibly even entertaining.

Remember the funk band, the Trampps? With two P's! They were great! Disco Inferno!!!! I love that song. And I suppose the homeless - I mean indigent - would love it too.

After all, they do enjoy setting garbage cans on fire. Which brings up my next question: Do you think the homeless would enjoy house music? Or would they find it insulting?"

And: "But if you're socially aware and desire the immediate buzz from pseudo-compassion by handing a burger to a tramp - then you should go whole hog and turn all the parks into a Indigent Petting and Feeding Zoo. Why not? Families can come with their bags of food and amble over to open pens and grottoes and actually feed the unwashed by hand! Vendors could sell little protein pellets in ice cream cones - perfect nourishment for the unstable crackhead!

It would make for a delightful Saturday. And that's all that really matters." (posted 7/25/06, permalink)

Why We Need Less Government: The local newspaper has reported: "The VHA (Vancouver Housing Authority), established during World War II to provide housing for Vancouver shipyard workers, owns more than 1,000 public housing units in Clark County (WA) and provides subsidies for low-income people living in an additional 2,100 private-market units. Its assets are valued at $166 million."

So, a quasi-government agency, set up to provide emergency services during a war that ended more than 60 years ago for a wartime shipyard which has been gone for many decades is still around and spending money.

Why should you care? Because it's your money being spent - much of the funding for this operation comes from Federal HUD 'grants'. "The VHA is among Clark County's largest nonprofit agencies, with projected revenue this year of $28.1 million, including $15 million coming from federal Housing and Urban Development operating grants and another $10.9 million from tenant rent payments." The VHA's website states that "About 50% of the VHA's budget comes from HUD-administered funding including the Section 8 rental assistance program, Community Development Block Grants, HOME funding, and funding for the elimination of homelessness."

By the way, HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) has an annual budget of $28.5 billion.

This begs the oft-asked Libertarian question, "Should the government be in the housing business?" And, we should also ask, "Is this good use of our tax dollars?" (posted 6/1/06, permalink)

How Do We Get Rid Of The Ninth Circuit? And the ACLU? Arresting homeless people for sitting, lying or sleeping on public sidewalks as "an unavoidable consequence of being human and homeless without shelter" violates the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled. The federal appeals court decided in favor of six homeless persons, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. (posted 4/17/06, permalink)

Library Etiquette: A new Dallas Public Library code of conduct that bans distracting odors has drawn criticism from homeless advocates who say the rule unfairly targets the homeless and poor. "No one in Dallas wants the homeless hanging around their door, especially the city," said one homeless man who spends much of his day reading and using the computer at the downtown library.

My solution: Take a bath and get a job. Soap and water don't cost nearly as much as booze and cigarettes, but "homeless" bums and their advocates always seem to find ways of acquiring those.

These days, I avoid libraries. They've been taken over by malodorous, porn-surfing tramps and loud, ill-behaved people.

Why are so many communities friendly to resource-draining hoboes but unfriendly to small businesses that contribute tax revenue and jobs? (posted 1/11/06, permalink)

Three Simple Rules: Kathy of Relapsed Catholic quotes interesting statistics from former Clinton advisor William Galston: "You need only do three things in this country to avoid poverty - finish high school, marry before having a child, and marry after the age of 20. Only 8% of the families who do this are poor; 79% of those who fail to do this are poor." (posted 9/8/05, permalink)

Professional Meddlers: Kathy Shaidle has written: "Have you ever noticed that the homeless - whose numbers are greatly exaggerated to begin with - are never "mentally ill alcoholics" unless it suits the purposes of the Professional Homelessness Activist? The activist insists that "people are on the street because the government kicked them out of mental hospitals" - forgetting that this was done at the behest of leftwing social workers in thrall of their latest untested theory. But if you suggest that most homeless people you encounter are obviously insane, drunk, off their meds and should be hospitalized for their own good and everyone else's, you're "an insensitive bigot"." (posted 7/6/05, permalink)

Vagrant Vandals: Millions of New York subway riders will suffer enormous inconveniences for 3 to 5 years because of a fire set by a bum. The New York Post has written that "blame for this fiasco also must accrue to those who have made the notion that "homelessness" is just an "alternative lifestyle" into public policy - which insanely grants vagrants the right to take up residence anywhere they damn please. ... New York City spends hundreds of millions of dollars every year to feed, clothe, shelter and provide all manner of services to needy street folk. ... If they refuse good-faith help, they need to be hauled off to Rikers Island" prison."

David Frum has weighed in on the matter: "The fire is not the first horrible consequence of the national refusal to confine the dangerously and self-destructively mentally ill for their own protection and the protection of society."

My observation is that "homeless-friendly" cities quickly become lousy places to live ... or even visit. We no longer shop or dine in downtown Portland - because of the street creeps. (posted 1/27/05, permalink)

Euphemisms: Thomas Sowell has written: "Crimes committed by bums are covered up by the media, by verbally transforming "the homeless" into "transients" or "drifters" whenever they commit crimes. Thus "the homeless" are the only group you never hear of committing any crimes." (posted 8/9/04, permalink)

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