As the Wealthy Cry Nazis, Service Providers Cry for Common Sense, like Housing First

by lizard

It’s funny to see a headline from Politico declaring The rich strike back because I think by “strike” the piece is referring to the continuing tantrums being thrown by the beneficiaries of obscene wealth disparity in America. Of course the tantrum includes a Nazi analogy:

In two-dozen interviews, the denizens of Wall Street and wealthy precincts around the nation said they are still plenty worried about the shift in tone toward top earners and the popularity of class-based appeals. On the right, the rise of populists including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz still makes wealthy donors eyeing 2016 uncomfortable. But wealthy Republicans — who were having a collective meltdown just two months ago — also say they see signs that the political zeitgeist may be shifting back their way and hope the trend continues.

“I hope it’s not working,” Ken Langone, the billionaire co-founder of Home Depot and major GOP donor, said of populist political appeals. “Because if you go back to 1933, with different words, this is what Hitler was saying in Germany. You don’t survive as a society if you encourage and thrive on envy or jealousy.”

Langone’s comments — sure to draw ire from those who find such comparisons to Nazi Germany insensitive — echo previous remarks from venture capitalist Tom Perkins, who likened the actions of some in the Occupy Wall Street movement to the Kristallnacht attacks on Jews in 1938. Perkins gave several interviews after the ensuing uproar, but he never really backed away from the comparison. And Langone showed no hesitancy in invoking the Nazis when describing current populist rhetoric.

To contrast the tantrums of wealth, Bill Moyers looks at a significant increase in homeless families in DC:

City officials didn’t see the surge coming. Last winter, DC placed 463 families in shelter. This year, the Department of Human Services tried to play it safe with a worst-case-scenario forecast of 10 percent more homeless families in shelter than last year, or 509. But already in November, 617 percent more families required shelter than in November 2012. There was no way the city could keep up.

With spring around the corner, the city’s requirement to house homeless residents seeking shelter will end, but the crisis itself will continue. And as the rec-center dwellers find themselves facing the street, there’s little consensus on why there are so many more homeless families this year, how we should be providing for them, or what’s to prevent the same thing from happening next winter.

Apparently DC has a seasonal requirement to house homeless families they struggled to meet this winter. Read the whole article for the personal story of what the homeless family shuffle means for actual people with names.

Then there’s this article about the homelessness crisis in Silicon Valley:

Not everyone is benefiting from Silicon Valley’s latest tech boom.

As rents soar, nearly 55% of Silicon Valley workers do not make the $90,000 necessary to support a family of four in the region. The area has the fifth-largest homeless population in the country, and in the past three years the problem has gotten much worse, according to the latest Silicon Valley Index.

If only the cost-savings of providing housing to the homeless was truly understood:

It is cheaper to give homeless people a home than it is to leave them on the streets.
That’s not just the opinion of advocates working to end homelessness, nor is it the opinion of homeless people themselves. It is a fact that has been borne out by studies across the country, from Florida to Colorado and beyond.

The latest analysis to back up this fact comes out of Charlotte, where researchers from the University of North Carolina Charlotte examined a recently constructed apartment complex that was oriented towards homeless people.

Moore Place opened in 2012 with 85 units. Each resident is required to contribute 30 percent of his or her income, which includes any benefits like disability, veterans, or Social Security, toward rent. The rest of the housing costs, which total approximately $14,000 per person annually, are covered by a mix of local and federal government grants, as well as private donors.

In the first year alone, researchers found that Moore Place saved taxpayers $1.8 million. These savings comes from improvements in two primary areas: health care and incarceration.

Gee, I wonder if a place like Missoula could alleviate the burden on ER’s and jail with this kind of housing?

  1. JC

    “Gee, I wonder if a place like Missoula could alleviate the burden on ER’s and jail with this kind of housing?”

    Not when the local town paper runs this sort of screed by George Will:

    “A year from now, there surely will be conferences marking the 50th anniversary of what is now known as the Moynihan Report, aka “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action.” In March 1965, Moynihan, then 37 and assistant secretary of labor, wrote that “the center of the tangle of pathology” in inner cities – this was five months before the Watts riots – was the fact that 23.6 percent of black children were born to single women, compared to just 3.07 percent of white children. He was accused of racism, blaming the victims, etc.

    Forty-nine years later, 41 percent of all American children are born out of wedlock; almost half of all first births are to unmarried women, as are 54 percent and 72 percent of all Hispanic and black births, respectively. Is there anyone not blinkered by ideology or invincibly ignorant of social science who disagrees with this:

    The family is the primary transmitter of social capital – the values and character traits that enable people to seize opportunities. Family structure is a primary predictor of an individual’s life chances, and family disintegration is the principal cause of the intergenerational transmission of poverty.

    In the 1960s, as the civil rights movement dismantled barriers to opportunity, there began a social regression driven by the explosive growth of the number of children in single-parent families. This meant a continually renewed cohort of adolescent males from homes without fathers; this produced turbulent neighborhoods and schools where the task of maintaining discipline eclipsed that of instruction.”

    So yeah, let’s blame the civil rights movement for the disintegration of the american family, and the burgeoning boom of black and brown babies that threaten white americans’ majority position in this country.

    How much nicer would it have been if them darkies had just continued to allow their subjugation as 3/5 of a person, and went through life saying “yes’m, and “yez mastah”.

    Then there’s Thomas Sowell in today’s Missoulian:

    “Many people today would be surprised to learn that there were once years when the unemployment rate for black 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds was under 10 percent. But their unemployment rates have not been under 20 percent in more than half a century. In some years, their unemployment rate has been over 40 percent.

    Why such great differences between earlier and later times? In the late 1940s, inflation had rendered meaningless the minimum wage set in 1938. Without that encumbrance, black teenagers found it a lot easier to get jobs than after the series of minimum wage escalations that began in the 1950s.”

    Yeah, it’s that minimum wage thing to blame for unemployment. Damn, if we could have just kept them black kids working for pennies and nickels, we could have employed a bunch more of them, cause you know — wink, wink — it takes a couple of them to do the work of one hard working white guy. And the unemployment rate would have been much lower. Problem solved.

    With this sort of “analysis” given major ink in the local paper to balance that of locals fighting to end homelessness, it’s no wonder that our community will continually be torn between right and left and not be able to deal effectively with the problem.

    So it is difficult to understand how the MIssoulian — in its offering national heavy-weight right-wing opinion page authors as a “balance” to a dialog with local writers, activists, and organizations — is engaging in a productive debate here. One last quote from a member of local efforts to battle homelessness:

    “By working together, we can more efficiently utilize our community resources to create lasting changes in how we think about and react to homelessness. So, please don’t lose your compassion. Invest it in solutions, and join us in working to end homelessness in Missoula.”

    One would think that the Missoulian could see the gross imbalance of the likes of Sowell and Will spewing hatred, racism, and other invective on their pages towards the homeless and unemployed, and only allowing the occasional words of locals to provide a countervailing view. We need far more of the latter, and far less of the former, in the Missoulian if we are ever to move beyond the impasse in the debate on homelessness in our community.

  2. Big Swede

    Jews had some nice housing.

    And light rail. All free.

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