Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Quickies: Blind Squirrel Finds Nut...And Calls it A Kumquat

     Bill de Blasio is well on the way to being remembered as The Man Who Destroyed New York City. Yet even he, now and then, can do something right, though for the wrong reason:

     With homelessness on the rise, Mayor de Blasio is slashing spending for shelters in his 2017 budget — on the theory that his new policies are sure to turn things around.

     Of course he thinks that. Yet cutting municipal funding for shelters is the right thing to do. It should be continued all the way to zero...because free shelters are a subsidy to homelessness, and what you subsidize, you get more of:

     ...the cause of pauperism is relief. We shall not get rid of pauperism by extending the sphere of State relief...On the contrary, its adoption would increase our pauperism, for as is often said, we can have exactly as many paupers as the country chooses to pay for. [Thomas Mackay, “Methods of Social Reform”]
     “But surely we are not without responsibilities, even when the suffering is that of the unworthy?”

     If the meaning of the word “we” be so expanded as to include with ourselves our ancestors, and especially our ancestral legislators, I agree. I admit that those who made, and modified, and administered the old Poor Law, were responsible for producing an appalling amount of demoralization, which it will take more than one generation to remove. I admit, too, the responsibility of recent and present lawmakers for regulations which have brought into being a permanent body of tramps, who ramble from union to union; and also their responsibility for maintaining a constant supply of felons by sending back convicts into society under such conditions that they are almost compelled again to commit crimes. Moreover, I admit that the philanthropic are not without their share of responsibility; since, that they may aid the offspring of the unworthy, they disadvantage the offspring of the worthy by burdening their parents through increased local rates. Nay, I even admit that these swarms of good-for-nothings, fostered and multiplied by public and private agencies, have, by sundry mischievous meddlings, been made to suffer more than they would otherwise have suffered. Are these the responsibilities meant? I suspect not.

     [Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus The State.]

     Yes, I’m a hard-hearted bastard. But when I was a lad, we didn’t call them “homeless.” We called them bums. We didn’t fetishize them. We didn’t make nonsense statements about their “rights” or “dignity.” We relegated them to Skid Row and collected their corpses after a deep frost.

     You get what you pay for. So what are you willing to pay for?

3 comments:

  1. In a brief stint as a welfare case worker years ago, I encountered two cases of families struck down by industrial accident and heart attack, and heart attack respectively. These were proper subjects for aid. The rest were women being paid to have more and more children without fathers. The latter effectively neutered, figuratively, by the policies of the state: "Your presence is not desired."

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  2. Nicely put. My own father lost his father in 1929, at the age of 7. His mother was forced to place most of the 7 children with relatives. Those who were what used to be called "worthy charity cases" should have TEMPORARY relief. The goal should be to get them back on their feet within 2 years, max.

    I do think that it wouldn't hurt to get back to such tough love.

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  3. "...as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me."
    Although I think when the Man said that, he was speaking of charity of the heart, not state sponsored theft for enabling support.

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