Re: Bureaucrat: Homelessness Totally Fixable

by Charles C. W. Cooke

Betsy — A question: If “ending homelessness” would cost $18.1 billion per year — each year — then we wouldn’t be “ending homelessness” would we? We’d be instituting a program to deal with it. And we all know how that would end…

This reminded me of a section from Ronald Reagan’s 1964 “A Time for Choosing” speech:


Well, now, if government planning and welfare had the answer and they’ve had almost 30 years of it, shouldn’t we expect government to almost read the score to us once in a while? Shouldn’t they be telling us about the decline each year in the number of people needing help? The reduction in the need for public housing?

But the reverse is true. Each year the need grows greater, the program grows greater. We were told four years ago that 17 million people went to bed hungry each night…now we are told that 9.3 million families in this country are poverty-stricken on the basis of earning less than $3,000 a year. Welfare spending is 10 times greater than in the dark depths of the Depression. We are spending $45 billion on welfare. Now do a little arithmetic, and you will find that if we divided the $45 billion up equally among those 9 million poor families, we would be able to give each family $4,600 a year, and this added to their present income should eliminate poverty! Direct aid to the poor, however, is running only about $600 per family. It would seem that someplace there must be some overhead.

Now, do they honestly expect us to believe that if we add $1 billion to the $45 million we are spending…one more program to the 30-odd we have–and remember, this new program doesn’t replace any, it just duplicates existing programs–do they believe that poverty is suddenly going to disappear by magic?

Yes, they did. And they still do.