The question has leapt from dinner parties to community boards to the nightly news, its implications echoing in the highest echelons of City Hall: Why are there so many homeless people in New York?
On Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to appear with his wife, Chirlane McCray, to announce a $22 million mental health initiative that his administration says will aid the homeless.
For the mayor, a Democrat who has staked his administration on battling inequality, dealing with what seems to be a growing homelessness problem is as much about social reform as political survival. His critics have seized on what they say is a classic urban quality-of-life issue, arguing that Mr. de Blasio’s liberal policies are driving the city backward.
The left wing still doesn’t get it and quite likely they never will.
After decades of trying, they still follow the same old, worn out and tired statist paradigm for alleviating poverty: the demonization of the wealthy and confiscatory “progressive” tax schemes, with the goal of creating government programs ostensively meant to help. Yet instead of alleviating poverty, these programs created a permanent underclass that threaten protest and violence at the mere hint these programs might be changed or eliminated.
Metaphorically, it’s akin to wild animals in a nature preserve, scrambling for the scraps the tourists toss out. Not only do the animals end up attacking each other in that scramble for those scraps, but they end up turning on the very people who’re providing the food. And don’t even start with the oh-you’re-comparing-the-poor-to-wild-animals whine, because human beings ARE animals. Huge clues about human behavior are revealed by the study of animal populations, so the metaphor stands, unapologetically.
All other personal issues considered, the path out of poverty is found in individual rights and free market economics, because what people need to get themselves out of poverty is upward mobility, which other economic systems seem to provide very little of.
Granted, that does require a strong work ethic to do successfully and a government program will never provide that unless the goal of the program is to educate a person and put them into a paying or better paying job, yet you still need a person who’s willing to put in the hours of work necessary to do it, so where the government could best help societally is in promoting a strong work ethic in schools and popular culture.
Yet the left wing will never settle for individual rights and free markets as the solution, because inherent in the left wing argument against both is the belief that wealth is bad and corrupting. All the while, the left venerates those in poverty as people who have little to no responsibility for their lot in life, because they’re victims of the wealthy. Yet, this is a perverse caricature that paints with as broad a brush as saying all the poor are lazy. Additionally, the left wing ideology, particularly as it applies to those living in nations with a strong history of individual rights and free market economics, obscures from those suffering chronic poverty just what they might be doing to promote their own poverty. Too many suffering chronic poverty in western nations are spending their money frivolously on intoxicants, excess food, gratuitous vehicles, expensive clothes, and a whole host of other things that deterministically results in an individual not moving into higher income brackets. Instead, the left wing promotes the idea that some nefarious group of “capitalists” are controlling who gets rich and who remains poor.
I don’t deny there are cultures around the globe with caste and class distinctions, which categorically results in differences in income potential and status in their society, but in a system of individual rights and free market economics, a dalits from India can by his or her own initiative, become wealthy…
That Dalits can become millionaires by starting their own businesses is an astonishing phenomenon for Indian society. Heavily discriminated against, Dalits were until recently restricted to the least qualified jobs, like farming — without owning the land of course. The only other option was to work in the public sector, which starting in the second half of the 20th century, began allotting a certain number of slots to the so-called Scheduled Castes, or SCs.
Now, however, as India’s economy is being redrawn along free market lines, both types of jobs are disappearing, according to Surinder Jodhka, a caste expert at the Nehru University in Dehli. With no other options available, some untouchables are trying to start businesses of their own. “For young Dalits the solution is often to raise 20,000 rupees (300 euros) and open a shop or a medical office,” says Jodhka.
Societally, where government can best help the poor is promoting a strong work ethic. Legally, government should promote the rule of law with a judicial system that is blind to class distinctions. Economically, government often does far more harm than it helps, and ought to do as little as possible to interfere in the private transactions of the people, except to settle disputes between parties. Where government can best help economically is in the funding of research and development of new technologies, which more often than not, result in high paying jobs in whole new industries that never existed before.