Sunday, June 2, 2019

Solving the Homeless Situation in American Cities

Martin Hill photo.
Martin Hill emails:
Hi Bob,
I don't know how long you've lived in San Francisco, but what do you think is at the root of this seemingly increasing homeless problem? I mean, in the 70's, 80's, 90's & 2000's, I don't think there was such a drastic  prevalence of homeless people living in tents everywhere on freeway offramps, parks, etc, & shitting all over the streets in SanFran, Los Angeles, Portland, Salt Lake City, etc.?  Is it the economy? Mental illness? Laziness? Does govt have a role in causing this?
In Portland  Oregon yesterday, there were really a lot of homeless, vagrants & transients, tents huddled everywhere. Almost like some weird Will Smith movie. (Pic attached.) Look at this guy he's actually sitting like he's in his living room, on the grass of a freeway offramp.
RW response:

It is a serious problem, however, in the end, you can pretty much see government failure and crony operators at every turn.

Many of the homeless have obvious serious mental health issues or are just low functional. The problem is that the wacky left keeps on taking city governments to court to prevent the governments from doing anything about these people. I have always thought of public areas controlled by the government as no man's land and the wacky left has done everything it can to make the sidewalks of many American cities a surreal version of a no man's land. It has become a business model for a kind-of crony left.

There is no question that there are wacky left organizations that want to see homeless on the streets so that it can raise money from the guilt-ridden rich in the same cities "to help". They raise money on the theme of protecting the "right" of the homeless to sleep on the streets and in the parks.

This is the growth sector of the homeless. Gunslinging lawyers using laws to prevent anything from being done about the homeless.

Beyond the seriously mentally deficient and low functional, you also see a lot of druggies on the streets. Certainly, the elimination of laws prohibiting the sale of drugs would make it easier for these people to survive. The cost of drugs would collapse.

There are also many who just don't know how to survive at a higher level in the current society but it is an odd cultural thing. The groups that seem to be closest to being dependent on government have the most homeless. 

In San Francisco, it is not impossible but you rarely see Asian or Hispanic homeless. They, of course, tend to have very tight non-governmental cultures.

You see many more blacks on the streets followed by Caucasians---and the blacks are American blacks not blacks who have recently migrated to the US. 

These people never had a chance. They were likely brought up in inner-city government schools and in homes that, thanks to government distorted incentives, did not have fathers in the homes, coupled with minimum wage laws that made it impossible for them to get their first jobs. Government crushed the chance for these (mostly) men to ever a suceed.

The short- and long- term solutions are not complex. 

The first thing you do is eliminate government "charity." With government handouts gone, there will be more willingness of decent people to give to charity to help those in need. But it should be true private sector charity where there is competition on how the needy are offered help---with no government interference.

Then it is simple, tell the homeless they can't live or sleep on the sidewalks, parks, etc. and give them the option of choosing a charity organization and location where they will be transported.

I would make it a 6-month program. Announce that all homeless will be cleared from the streets in 6-months and that charities should get ready for the incoming--that will raise money for the charities and fast. 

I would also eliminate minimum wage laws so that the low functional amongst the homeless who have the potential to get a job which matches their low hourly marginal revenue product can do so.

And as previously mentioned, the prohibition on the sale of drugs should be eliminated.

Also, I would eliminate all types of government handouts to families and individuals since this only results in dependence on government--which has its own crony agenda and can never really help the needy. We need private sector competition in charity.

Finally, I would eliminate government schools, which in the inner cities does nothing but destroy minds and spirit--and distorts the thinking of youth in all other non-inner city schools.

I am, more and more, beginning to think that government schools are the most dangerous institutions in America. I would end government-funded "education" of all kinds, including for all public schools and for all voucher programs.



  1. From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State: Fraternal Societies and Social Services, 1890-1967

    I always think about this book and the history the private welfare alternative to state welfare, when I think about the left's safety net platform.

    1. Looks like a great book---I'll have to check it out.

  2. Two other possible contributing factors are (a) endless wars, creating thousands of mentally and physically unstable veterans who can't function in normal society (I recognize that this is partly a function of their stupidity in signing up for this career in the first place), and (b) the classification of young men who don't fit into the "teaching" methods of government schools as having ADD, ADHD, Asperger's, etc., followed by their almost mandatory drugging.

  3. Real estate too expensive. We need to get rid of 30 year mortgages. Make the maximum mortgage loan 15 years.
    We need a real estate price collapse.
    And Privatize Everything.

    1. If you privatize everything (with which I agree), how can you "[m]ake the maximum mortgage loan 15 years"? Should't the banks have private property in their loanable funds, to do with as they see fit?

  4. I’m with you on Education. I remember feeling demoralized at 6, 7, 8 years old. I could beat my teacher in chess but she won’t let me read what I want? Or play outside how I want to?

  5. There isn't a homeless problem because the word problem indicates that it isn't a desired outcome or at the very least collateral damage wrt a desired outcome. When the government stepped in all sorts of ways this outcome was foreseeable, therefore it is not an error.

    "government schools are the most dangerous institutions in America"

    That's how liberty was lost and it won't be regained until the government run Prussian model public schools are gone. People are too well conditioned to certain ways of thinking by the schools and most of the intellectual battle is repairing the damage.

    1. Jimmy hits the nail on the head as to what ails this country. When the state made it socially acceptable to give them the power to educate your kids it sealed the doom of "Murica.

      The prevalence is such that there really is no regaining liberty, just capitulation to a new dictatorial force and death by a ten thousand pin pricks

  6. "government schools are the most dangerous institutions in America"- an issue very well covered in Rothbard's "The Progressive Era".