Culture Beat / October 28, 2019

Homelessness ‘Backlash’ Isn’t the Real Problem

Leftist policies that created a rash of homelessness get less focus than the “backlash.”

Bad policy yields bad results, as we see time and again in Democrat-controlled California. The so-called Golden State is struggling with the overwhelming epidemic of homelessness in its largest cities. That problem is driven in part by rent control and voluminous other regulations that make housing unaffordable. It’s also driven by cultural breakdowns that lead to and include drug abuse. And The New York Times is on it.

“Homelessness [in California] is an expanding crisis that comes amid skyrocketing housing prices, a widening gap between the rich and poor and the persistent presence on city streets of the mentally ill and drug-dependent despite billions of dollars spent to help them,” the Times reports. Actually, that largely sums it up, with the exception of the mendacious class-warfare rhetoric. But the Times isn’t writing about the causes of homelessness. The paper’s story is titled, “As Homelessness Surges in California, So Does a Backlash.” That’s right — the story isn’t the homelessness but the “backlash.” It begins:

Insults like “financial parasites” and “bums” have been directed at them, not to mention rocks and pepper spray. Fences, potted plants and other barriers have been erected to keep them off sidewalks. Citizen patrols have been organized, vigilante style, to walk the streets and push them out.

California may pride itself on its commitment to tolerance and liberal values, but across the state, record levels of homelessness have spurred a backlash against those who live on the streets.

The story quotes a property developer as saying, “Some people who I’d put in the fed-up category, they’re not bad people. They would describe themselves as left of center, and sometimes very left of center, but at some point they reach the breaking point.” Leftist tolerance at its finest.

To be sure, contempt for fellow human beings is wrong and unhelpful, especially when it turns to physical assaults, and to that extent it’s a story. But the root story is the leftist policies that exacerbate homelessness, and then the drug-addicted and/or mentally ill homeless population that causes a rise in crime and a breakdown in public sanitation resulting in the return of medieval diseases. Of course, Hot Air’s John Sexton is exactly right to argue, “The rule for progressive outlets is always the same: If the story helps Democrats then it’s a story. If the story might help Republicans then the reaction to the story is the story.”

A couple of final thoughts: First, the state of California has thrown exorbitant amounts of taxpayer money at the problem of homelessness, though not surprisingly without great results. That’s because most of that money is diverted elsewhere. But hey, you can trust the government to redistribute your wealth efficiently and compassionately.

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