Showing posts with label Journalism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Journalism. Show all posts

Friday, June 27, 2014

Phony Patriots and Ridiculous Rules




Come on. Not another sad old Vet who loves the flag and lives near rich people who hate America:

A veteran could lose his home because of a small American flag he has placed in a flower pot in front of his home.


Larry Murphree explained that his homeowners’ association in the Sweetwater community wants him to remove the flag because it violates home display rules. Furthermore, he is facing $8,000 in fines if he doesn’t take it out of his flower pot.
“I want it to go away. It’s such a minor little thing and they keep coming after me,” Murphree told WAWS. “They just sent me a letter that says I owe them around $8,000 and they put a foreclosure lien on my house.”


Murphree has 30 days to pay the fines and remove the flag or the homeowners’ association will move forward with the foreclosure.


I hate these stories. Buried in there somewhere is usually a telling detail. As in, the dude is a shirtless crank with no money who is mad because they won't let him keep a car with three flat tires in his yard so he put out an American flag just to be difficult.





First of all, Mr. Murphree is being stupid on purpose. When you move into a house in Florida, you are going to encounter the mentality that surrounds exclusionary communities (otherwise known as compounds of scared, semi-wealthy people who fear the hordes outside the gate). They initiate "home display rules" because they don't want anything looking cheap, fake, or stupid to drive the value of their property down in any way, shape or form. When someone sticks the American flag in front of their house, and when they allow it to become tattered and torn and when they display it improperly (like not illuminating it at night), they make the place look run down. Sensible people know that there's nothing wrong with the American flag but there is something wrong with flying it in front of your house in lieu of fixing the siding or keeping the yard looking neat. It drives down property values to have flags and other symbols out in front because it tells the people who come into the neighborhood that there's a VETERAN somewhere around there. And everyone knows that a VETERAN is going to come apart at the seams and start shooting, man, especially if the heroin runs out and a guy named Zeke comes over on a motorcycle to cook meth so you can both buy an electric Harley with a sidecar because your back gives out when you have to put your feet down while riding because your're flipping old.





Second, the fines are a binding aspect of living where there is a homeowner's association so allowing them to climb into the thousands of dollars is immature and foolish. Don't like the rules? Move out. Good luck finding a decent place to live where they want you to fly the flag because then you're going to be all contrary and difficult and assert your free right NOT to fly no damned flag except the Gadsden Flag, which means, when upside down, that Obama is a tyrant and your nephew can't get his pills anymore from the free clinic or something. When you buy a home, you sign a blizzard of papers. Inside of that blizzard is an agreement to accept the rules of a homeowner's association. Good luck fighting that. Just because everyone around you hates flags, symbols, and the cheapening effects of things like a Florida Marlins World Series Victory Banner doesn't mean you can't sit in the privacy of your own home and hum the Battle Hymn of the Republic while watching Bruce Willis movies.





Third, your pride in America does not come from sticking a cheap piece of plastic in a flower pot. It comes from knowing that these phony stories trade on misplaced outrage. Grow up, abide by the rules of your homeowner's association, pay your fines, and stop using cheap local media outlets to draw attention to the fact that you're pathetic and make bad choices. The reporters who write these stories are lazy and can't think of anything to do so they love it when a cantankerous old coot pretends that his dishonorable discharge for going AWOL six times in 1974 when he was stationed in Kansas means he's now a retired Special Forces sniper colonel snake eater bomb expert airborne assassin and HAS TO BE LISTENED TO despite the fact that he marches around with his gut out and can't find his DD 214.





Do you love America? Then love America and stop pretending that it has anything to do with a flag.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Let Someone With a Real Life Write About Being on Drugs




The failure here is not that Maureen Dowd cannot write; the failure is that, when Maureen Dowd writes, her ridiculously privileged life as a working member of the punditry gets in the way of common sense.

If you go to Colorado and do drugs, you will not come up with anything worth writing about it you've already made up your mind to warn kids of the dangers. Real people with a real life can tell you what drugs do and they don't need an old media bag of nuts to tell them otherwise. Ask a grandma on meth in rural West Virginia if she thinks being on a little weed in a hotel room is a bad thing and you might not like the answer. Kids don't care, kids don't follow, kids just wanna get high.

Idiot.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Shine That Turd




Someone has to try and prove that the evening news is still relevant. Sadly, it is not.

The vast majority of the viewers for these newscasts are AARP-eligible, although that's true for news in general. Right now Williams and Sawyer are battling for first place in the ratings category that both networks covet most, the 25- to 54-year-old demographic. ABC, long accustomed to second place behind NBC at 6:30 p.m., has won for four of the past six weeks.

The AARP crowd is the Fox News demographic, and it is often cited to show that "millions" are watching Fox News. Really? Then why are they running ads for people who have little if any disposable income?




When you are desperately trying to remind people that something is still relevant, you've already lost the game. In the 1980s, over 40 million people would regularly tune in and the advertising revenue was through the roof. The nightly news anchors were stars. The ones we have now are the also-rans and the leftovers. I mean, Scott Pelley? Really? How many Americans know instinctively who Pelley is and what job he holds and would give a damn if he walked off the set and told his bosses to shove it up their asses? You want to compare Pelley to Rather and Cronkite? Go ahead.





The audience has aged and shrunk to the point where there's no point for many advertisers to even contemplate running anything during this time slot.



In television, don't talk about numbers unless you know where the people who actually have money are and what they're watching.





Good God, son. Scott Pelley is the top of the food chain at CBS News? Seriously?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Pinch Steps on a Rake



There's a reason why this story matters, and it really doesn't have anything to do with the fact that this is a media story or that these are wealthy, privileged media people who are whining and carrying on in public. This story matters because of how women are treated in the workplace when they ask for equal pay.

I mean, full stop.

This story resonates with the experiences of millions of American women. Jill Abramson found out she wasn't getting paid what her male colleagues and predecessors were getting paid. This went back years. Years of this kind of behavior, which is awful. And when she asserted her rights, they fired her. In violation of every common sense workplace ethic, they pulled the trigger on getting rid of her when they should have addressed the issue and made it right and apologized.

Which is going to be cheaper in the long run?

This whole thing about trying to cover up the fact that they fired her because she brought in a lawyer to talk about her compensation package is the legal nightmare behind the scenes--that's the inside baseball stuff that stood out to legal-minded folks. That's what set people on fire. That's what really drove home the idea that this could be applied to factory workers, retail workers, IT professionals, nurses--you name it. Forget the wealth and privilege of these media personalities--it could be a story unfolding in a company anywhere in America. Women just don't get paid what they're worth. We see it time and again.

And it's wrong. It's fundamentally the wrong thing to do to people.

What stood out to me was that you could write this story in a lot of places where women aren't paid as much as men for the same work--for work that is often better. There was a collective reaction to this story because so many women have experienced exactly what Abramson experienced--that sickening feeling of not being treated right because of only one thing--their gender.

In each and every part of America's work life, that has to stop. It should have stopped long ago. We passed Lily Ledbetter--legislation that addressed these issues--and it still goes on. We see stories about wage theft, and it made me think about what would solve something like this.

Pay women the same as men or lose your business. Steal wages from your employees and you lose your business. I'm not talking about shutting it down--I mean, you lose your property.

Your property is guaranteed to be protected by the law of the land and the infrastructure You Didn't Build that helped you create and run your business. If you don't pay people what they are worth and if you steal the wages of their work, you forfeit your right to enjoy the business you are in. You collect what you put into that business (minus what you cheated someone out of or stole) and you walk away with nothing else. You lose your business. It goes into public trust or receivership and is sold so that nobody loses their job. Whoever buys that business  has to keep everyone employed and has to pay them what is owed to them.

Try that and see if that brings pay up to an equal level and see if that stops wage theft.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Demonizing Jill Abramson




Jill Abramson had the audacity to ask to be treated equally at The New York Times.

It is 2014. Women are still being paid much, much less than men for equal work in far too many jobs and careers. Abramson was at the pinnacle of the American (world?) media establishment and she was still begging to be treated as an equal.

Instead, we're treated to the usual "bitchy, bossy woman" commentary that will render this story a footnote in the days ahead. By this weekend, will we have an actual conversation about workplace equality or will we assume that the wealthy and privileged Abramson will simply have to find work somewhere else?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

No Courage Needed Whatsoever




Steven Mufson rains on the hagiography parade:

Here’s the Kennedy Library’s version of what happened:


“He had promised Americans no new taxes during the presidential campaign two years earlier and he was voted into office with that promise. But, he had also promised to serve his country, and he decided that was the promise he would keep…. America’s gain was President Bush’s loss, and his decision to put country above party and political prospects makes him an example of a modern profile in courage that is all too rare.”


I was covering economic policy for The Washington Post from 1990 through 1993, and things were not that simple. First, making the pledge was a political maneuver that Bush must have known was not sustainable given the mounting federal deficits in the 1980s.


Second, he held out for a long time to avoid breaking the pledge; the deadlock with House Democrats forced the government to briefly shut down. He did not lead the way to a tax deal; he made Democrats push hard for it and let his budget director figure out how to package it.


Third, after signing the budget deal, Bush tried to distance himself from it. Even before the formal signing ceremony, he said at a press conference that he "had to gag and digest" parts of the deal. Later he was pressed by some of his political advisers to renounce the deal when he was campaigning for reelection in 1992. On March 3, 1992, Bush declared in a public appearance and interviews that the 1990 deal was a mistake. "If I had it to do over, I wouldn't do what I did then, for a lot of reasons, including political reasons," he said.


Mufson correctly places this "courage" in the proper context--there was none. This is absolutely critical when making an assessment of American history--without the context provided above, the Kennedy honor becomes the thing that historians will cite again and again because the reality of what happened will fade into memory. What was a reluctant, lazy, dishonest bit of political posturing becomes an anecdote repeated throughout texts for years to come.





There was no courage, there wasn't anything especially honorable about it, and, oh by the way, the President whitewashed his own foreign policy record by pardoning everyone but himself when he left the Presidency, effectively disinfecting both his own and the Reagan Administration of some of the era's worst affronts to the Constitution. If ignoring the will of Congress isn't an abuse of Executive Power, then what the hell is?





Each and every time a Republican screams about the Obama Administration, patiently remind them of a thing called the Iran-Contra scandal, Ollie North, and how the pardons came floating down from Bush's desk to save all the criminals from being indicted and tried for crimes against the Constitution. So far, we don't know of any efforts on the part of the Obama Administration to trade arms for hostages--maybe they're sending tanks to the Taliban to get that jackass malingerer and deserter Bowe Bergdahl back--who knows.





I can't wait to hear how shrill Mufson is being. Leave the poor old man and his nutty socks alone...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Romney's Medicare Lie


This is one of those cases where Mitt Romney is going to lie, and then not get away with it, and his handlers and supporters are going to have an aneurysm when they realize that they simply cannot make stuff up and get away with it.

I really, really hope that Romney's lies from the first debate are called out for what they are--distortions of reality that bear no resemblance to actually governing this country. NBC news has that piece, cited on top, on their front page and I hope it gets more coverage.

"Obamacare" actually helped Medicare, and the more people who know that, the better.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Ignore the Bedwetters


You would think that the Romney campaign would have harsh words for the Obama Campaign and the media, but why do they say such terrible things about the people who are supposedly on their side?
“We went through this in the primary,” the adviser said. “You have a lot of people inside the Beltway, who like to sit back and be armchair quarterbacks, strategists who talk to you and don’t go on the record. We have a plan. We know what the plan is, and we’re going to implement the plan.” 
The adviser added: “We aren’t reacting to what the Obama campaign does. … We aren’t reacting to what Republican strategists do. We’ve got a plan to win. We know what it takes and that’s what we’re going to do. All of this hew and cry, you know, from the bedwetters who get to sit on the sidelines, aren’t going to affect what we’re going to do and our plan.” 
In many ways, the Globe story didn’t break a lot of new ground, as several truth squad reports pointed out. It simply renewed focus on the fact that Romney has always stated that he technically left Bain in 1999 to run the Salt Lake City Olympics, while maintaining legal and financial ties to the company that didn’t include actively managing its affairs or investments. 
[emphasis mine] 

As far as I know, the revelation from the Boston Globe article was not wholly explored during the primary campaign, and if it had been, I would think that it would have severely damaged Mitt Romney's credibility. It may not have cost him the nomination, but it sure wouldn't look like the huge deal that it is right now.

I don't know how the working media can parse this any other way. Romney has been caught in a massive lie, and the lie is written into the financial disclosure documents that he submitted in order to allow himself to serve as the head of the Winter Olympic Games and to give himself some distance from Bain Capital's connection to outsourcing jobs to China. He has been caught committing and act of outright fraud, a felony-level financial disclosure crime that likely would have resulted in charges if it had been discovered in the early 2000s when he was trying to elevate his national profile.

And that's what this is really all about--Romney has been caught lying about what he owned, what he was worth, and where his money has been sheltered time and time again. He lied so that he could elevate his status in the political world, not the business world. He has no credibility and he has dubious financial ethics. The idea that a venture capitalist of his supposed experience maintained ownership of Bain Capital and then did not "actively" manage its affairs or investments is the sort of dodge that a lot of people sitting in Federal prison have tried in relation to things like insider trading.

It doesn't matter if he was actively involved (a subpoena of E-mails? internal documents? might further prove or disprove this fact) because that's not the standard for ethical disclosure. You either owned it or you did not; Romney owned Bain Capital for three years longer than he admitted to owning it.

That's something the "bedwetters" would call a "big fucking deal."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

More Garbage From the Daily Caller


Yet another piece of nonsense from The Daily Caller. In an attempt to gin up some phony outrage, the "blogger" invents a phony story about how people who have trouble urinating is suddenly going to cost people billions of dollars.

Bull-frickin'-crap.

As signed into law, there was, indeed, an update to the Americans With Disabilities Act. It was passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush on September 25, 2008. It took effect on January 1, 2009, some nineteen days BEFORE the Obama Administration.

The scope of disability covered under the law has been broadened, and you can thank President Bush for that. But, by implication, this fact is missing from the story posted above.

You gotta love how these dishonest clowns frame non-issues in such a specific and ignorant way. It's all Obama's fault, even the things signed into law by George W. Bush.

Which is to say, business as usual for the Daily Caller. The most pertinent piece of information is usually missing from a story that, by implication, makes this President Obama's fault.

Friday, March 16, 2012

This American Life Gets Burned By Mike Daisey

This is the understatement of the year:

The problem is, journalistic outfits don't do theater; it tends to undermine their credibility. Mike Daisey's admission undercuts his entire program. And the crux of his program was that Apple was using a company in China that was killing people in order to manufacture enough Apple devices for rich Western nations to consume.

Wow. That's all you can say. Wow.

So, This American Life [as of 11PM Europe time I couldn't access their website because it would appear to be down or overwhelmed by traffic] will now have to fall onto a mighty thick sword and try to survive the brutal criticism that will follow. Mike Daisey will continue to go on doing "theater" and I don't think he'll be welcome anywhere except for Fox News.
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Monday, February 20, 2012

Lifestyles of the Permanently Unemployed


Kudos to CBS News for actually trying to understand the demographic shifts that have occurred in this country since the economic catastrophe of 2008. A number of Americans fell out of the Middle Class and are trying to get back in; this piece shows you what that has meant for these people and why it matters.

This gets to the heart of the matter:


These are not the statements of a hippie, or an Occupy Wall Street protester or a Democrat pretending to care about poor people while a Republican tells them to pull themselves up by the bootstraps of their trust fund. This is coming from a man trying to help thousands of people get back into the workforce.

The lack of focus on why this happened and what continues to happen in America is troubling. That is why there is a powerful disconnect out there between what politicians are saying and what is truly driving people to the end of their resources. This disconnect is why the American dream is disappearing.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Republicans Love to Talk About Lady Parts


Rather than try to wade through all of the nonsense contained in this piece, I'd just like to point out that this obsession with lady parts is a standard thing when you look at what Republicans say and do. Democrats don't have this problem. Republicans have lady parts on the brain; it informs everything they do.

Here you have a conservative attacking Ann Coulter in the most sexist way possible by ascribing to her male testicles for all of the "brave" and "bold" things that she has written. And yet, he fails to note that she is merely a shill whose writings and opinions have been bought and paid for. The actual answer to his question can be found by simply asking the question, "who is funneling money or the promise of money to Coulter in exchange for her support?"

Coulter's books are not selling anymore. She's desperate for attention. Her "testicles" were not removed; her price was paid.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

So Much For Beating and Macing the Protesters


Even the indifference of the national news media couldn't make a dent in the Occupy Wall Street movement. Where are all the heavy-handed cops now? Where's the mace? Where are the rent-a-cops and their bigoted insults?

This is going to be an interesting election year. People are going to flock to the OWS banner in the spring, if not before, and make their voices heard.

If it was ever time for a movement to die of neglect and disinterest, it would be now. That does not appear to be happening.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Would This Be a National News Item if it Happened in Cleveland?


This seems to be a story driven more by where it is happening rather than what is actually happening. Criminal damage to property like this happens in a lot of American cities, but I don't think it would get this much attention (and thus, likely, fuel more car burnings through copycats and whatnot) if it hadn't gotten so much media attention.

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's All About Jobs


There are a lot of things to like about this piece by David Rohde. Specifically, anyone who identifies jobs as being the number one issue facing the American middle class has got it exactly right.

But, what happens is, when you move on to his second item, you see the problem. Since we are talking about how jobs have evaporated, it's easy to see where so many people get it wrong. Jobs have not left because of government spending; in many cases, those jobs disappeared when austerity and "belt tightening" took over as themes and when our elected officials stopped trying to use proven techniques to revive the economy.

Not all government spending is wrong; trying to get people to embrace that fact means having to move mountains and pound sand. So, when an idea takes hold, it has to be battled back, time and again. One of the great failures of this era has to be the failure to destroy the idea that the government should cut spending during a recession. We've seen, time and again, where this leads to a downward spiral.

Rohde's piece illustrates that, perfectly. At the end of his piece about jobs, he writes about how 20,000 jobs have been slashed. Why? Because of item number two--a misguided effort to battle the deficit. If we had the political will to do so, funding state and local governments with Federal grants specifically designed to keep people in their jobs would be a tremendous benefit to both the economy and to fighting the deficit. People who are working pay taxes; this revenue helps reduce deficits at both the state and Federal level. Whenever someone is thrown out of work, the ripple effect cascades through the economy. Avoiding that buys time so that the economy can recover.

It's all about the jobs. Whoever wants to be President next year has to answer for the need for jobs. And cutting the deficit is not going to create a single job in this country. Period. End of story.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Impoverished?


Paul Singer's article leads with a whopper of a mistake. To say that Newt Gingrich, circa 1979, was "impoverished" is ludicrous.

Impoverished by Washington standards? Impoverished, as seen through the filter of modern journalistic integrity, whatever that is? Impoverished by whose standards, I want to know.

The article says that Gingrich was making a little over $10,000 per year in 1979, after having been denied tenure (which was for being too focused on running for Congress in the 1970s, apparently). His "debt" was probably some sort of loan or something of that nature, and I'm surprised that he did not own a home at that point in his life, but oh well.

In any event, this is what poverty looked like in 1979:



Now, I'm an idiot. And if I can look up something like this, and find where the poverty line was in 1979, why can't a big shot reporter with editors and a full-time job look it up? Given his family situation (a wife, several kids), Gingrich would have been at least two or three thousand dollars above the poverty line, and living in Georgia, to boot. Georgia, in case you didn't know, has traditionally enjoyed a lower cost of living than, say, Washington D.C. or the Mid-Atlantic region.

In other words, Gingrich wasn't "impoverished" by any stretch of the imagination. His "debt" was probably being serviced and his family was probably living at a level no better or worse than any of their contemporaries.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lowe's Shuts Down a Handful of Stores, Distressing More of the Gentlefolk

Store Closing Fact Sheet - 10.17.11
An interesting document, and the thing that caught my eye is the fact that, from New Jersey to Maine, things aren't going very well for Lowe's right now. With almost half of the stores being closed in this area, there isn't much to celebrate in the economy right now. If Lowe's can't make it, what does that say about the possibility that a lot retail businesses are on the verge of folding? And, if they are, doesn't that mean thousands and thousands of people who are now underemployed are going to be out of work?

No wonder people are Occupying Wall Street. Every time there's a clear indication of what's going on, we get media confusion and obfuscation. It's a better story when you can read about the dirty hippies stealing from each other and doing drugs, isn't it? Meanwhile, thousands more out of work.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Cynic in Me Fades Away


Alright, I admit it.

I wish I had the balls that this guy has. This guy has stones. And I don't mean that in a sexist way. He has the bravery of the ages. He is standing there shirtless with cardboard, and the laconic cops are bored with it all. But he's there, and he's not afraid of anything.

Out there with him are other men and women who are equally as brave, trying to make something come together and work. A few years ago, a more cynical version of myself would have probably laughed. You can't stand up to the establishment in this country. You can't protest money, power, privilege and influence. The kids out there, running through the streets in ones and twos and threes and fours are no match for the fist of the Man.

Hey, the Man's gotta fall sometime. Why not now?

I don't know whether Occupy Wall Street is a fleeting thing, a fading glimpse of organized protest, a misguided attempt to put a country on notice, a media-ignored event of significant ramifications. I have no idea where it will go and I have a lousy track record for predictions.

It starts with balls. Courage. Conviction. And standing up with cardboard, sans hair shirt and in a good pair of shoes that'll let you run when it's time to beat feet.

Anyway, this guy has that rare element of fearlessness that you find in the best of America.

These are Americans, standing up for American values and the American way of life. Wall Street told America to fuck off years ago. Trading derivatives and flushing thousands of mortgages and destroying neighborhoods was Wall Street's way of demonstrating how it feels about America.

This guy is the real American. Those cops should join him out there and show the Man what's what. Peacefully, of course. And with all the love of a Beatles album or something like that.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Dishonest Hit Job on Federal Spending for Homelessness


Never mind that we only spend $2.9 billion dollars per year battling homelessness--take a look at this argument:
The federal government's multi-agency approach to help the homeless is often confused, according to a recently released report that catalogues the hundreds of different ways the government squanders taxes through waste, overlap, fragmentation and bureaucracy.
The Government Accountability Office report found that in 2009, federal agencies spent about $2.9 billion on more than 20 programs that targeted homelessness. If that money were to be targeted toward the building of homes, at say, $200,000 per home, it could theoretically produce 145,000 houses.
"Take that money directly and give them sort of a voucher so they can go get housing on their own, or get some mental health benefits," Brian Darling, director of government studies at the Heritage Foundation suggested. "But the way it is now when you have all of these different government agencies administering the same program, you have government waste."
The headline for this Fox News opinion piece was "GAO Report Highlights Wasteful Spending on Ending Homelessness" and it implies that ALL of the "billions" being spent are wasteful. The GAO report says that there are some areas where there is duplication of effort. Eliminating those areas would save some money, but NOT the entire $2.9 billion being spent. This is the sort of deceitful argument that prevents people from getting a reasonable assessment of the problem.

In fact, the GAO report doesn't identify a specific dollar amount that could be saved by eliminating some of the duplication of effort costs. It merely outlines what could be done to save a limited amount of money between the various Federal agencies. 

Would it shock you to find out that there already are programs in place that are eliminating duplication of effort? Here's what the GAO had to say [page 131]:
In keeping with GAO’s previous recommendations and the plan’s objective to increase coordination, it will be important for the federal agencies that have adopted the plan to develop implementation plans that include but are not limited to a project schedule, resource allocation, outreach measures, and a performance measurement strategy to evaluate their progress. The plan recognizes that collection, analysis, and reporting of quality, timely data on homelessness are essential for targeting interventions, tracking results, strategic planning, and resource allocation. As noted above, currently each federal program generally has distinct data requirements. The plan acknowledges that a common data standard and uniform performance measures across all federal programs that are targeted at homelessness would facilitate greater understanding and simplify local data management. Consistent with the plan, representatives with USICH noted that agencies are taking steps to improve and coordinate data, specifically citing the December 2010 announcement by the Department of Veterans Affairs to participate in Homeless Information Management Systems over the next 12 months.2 The formal coordination among agencies outlined in this plan may minimize fragmentation of federal programs and help address gaps in supportive services while linking housing and supportive services. The linking of these services is considered to be important for effectively delivering assistance to those experiencing homelessness.
The problem is no where near as bad as it sounds. And it's NOT wasting "billions" by any stretch of the imagination. The article on Fox News wants to put it out there in circulation that "billions" are being wasted so that if the political class decides to cut these programs they can fall back on media reports of wasteful spending. This gives them cover to shave small amounts of money from programs that are underfunded already and provide badly-needed services. 

So, what is the problem, then? Billions will NOT be saved if ALL of the problems in administering these programs were reformed. That's just not possible. Is it worthwhile to pursue the ideal and make changes that can save a little money? Absolutely. But spending money to help Veterans end homelessness is NOT wasteful government spending by any measure. And laying out a dishonest argument about scrapping these programs and handing out vouchers is ridiculous.

This is a non-starter. It would lead to more cuts and punish the homeless even further. When the first homeless person under this magical voucher plan would lose or abuse their voucher, the outrage from the media would be deafening.

We're Spending Next to Nothing on Homelessness


Back in March, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) had this to say [page 129] about duplication of efforts in fighting homelessness:
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), approximately 643,000 individuals and persons in families experienced homelessness on a single night in January 2009. [the graphic above shows other numbers, but it's less than a million homeless, I believe - WJS] Multiple federal programs provide assistance targeted to those experiencing homelessness or more broadly assist low-income populations. GAO reported that in 2009 federal agencies spent about $2.9 billion on over 20 programs targeted to address the various needs of persons experiencing homelessness. Some federal programs may offer similar types of services and serve similar populations, potentially leading to overlap or fragmentation. 
In June 2010, GAO recommended that the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services (HHS), and HUD develop a common vocabulary to better coordinate homeless services. GAO also recommended in July 2010 that HUD and HHS consider more formally linking their housing and supportive services programs. The agencies concurred with these recommendations and to date have taken some actions to address them.
I realize that there are programs at the state and local level as well, but the fact that we spend around $3 billion dollars on homelessness is a tragedy in and of itself. Spending $10 billion dollars would be a great place to start. If this kind of money was invested in solving the problem--not just temporarily housing people but actually helping to correct the problems and issues that cause their homelessness--we could eventually spend less money on the problem (since prevention and solving the problem itself are worthy goals.)

Arguing that we don't have the money is a specious argument. We need to spend more money fighting homelessness in order to avoid having to spend money on health care costs related to being homeless. There's no reason why investing in a solution to homelessness couldn't benefit our economy. If you stabilize one person's life and get them on the right path, their contributions back into society are more than worth what you invested in helping them.
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