Conspiracy 6/26: Homeless and Hopeless

W e live in absurd times. Governments claim to fight things and people believe them even though the things grow ever worse. The wars on terror, drugs, and poverty come instantly to mind. We see with our own eyes government isn’t fighting those things. It creates them and makes them worse, but we still allow […]

City of Dayton’s failed response to homelessness

By Mark Luedtke

We live in absurd times. Governments claim to fight things and people believe them even though the things grow ever worse. The wars on terror, drugs, and poverty come instantly to mind. We see with our own eyes government isn’t fighting those things. It creates them and makes them worse, but we still allow rulers to steal our money in the name of fighting them.

Take the homeless problem for example. In a free society, people interact peacefully and voluntarily with others in local networks for mutual benefit. They interact with their employer, their customers, their coworkers, the grocer, the barber, the dentist, the teacher, etc., and everybody is better off for it.

While we interact with local networks, local networks intertwine into a global network which includes nearly everybody on the planet. Lithium is mined in Afghanistan to go into a phone designed in Sweden, assembled in China, and sold in America. Individuals can’t conceive of the extent of the network which includes billions of people, but we all benefit from it. Look up the essay “I, Pencil” to see what I mean.

Providing for ourselves, our families, our friends, and our communities gives our lives meaning. The creation of wealth beyond what we consume through capital accumulation, the cooperative division of labor, and mutually beneficial exchange enables recreation, arts, and sciences to thrive.

Theft, coercion, and pollution are illegal in a free society because they infringe on the rights and property of others.

Coercive governments prey on networks. They legalize theft, coercion, and pollution. They erect trade barriers and tax and regulate networks to benefit a handful of rulers and cronies at the expense of everybody else. The bigger governments get, the more they damage voluntary networks. If a government grows too big, it collapses them and societies collapse.

Massive looting by governments extracts a terrible human cost. It reduces interconnections in networks by raising prices and erecting trade barriers. Governments break down networks by bankrupting businesses and making it hard to start new ones. Our government divides families with socialist schools, Social Security, and death taxes. It destroys families through war.

This damage cuts some people off from their natural networks completely, trapping many on welfare, and forcing others into homelessness. People who have been isolated and feel hopeless often turn to drugs or suicide.

Thomas Jefferson noted homelessness didn’t exist in America before the US government was created. Governments aren’t the solution to homelessness. Governments are the problem. That’s why I enjoy a good belly laugh whenever rulers introduce programs ostensibly to fight homelessness.

One year ago the City of Dayton launched a new program to combat “the explosion of panhandlers” as Dayton.com calls it. It’s funny how, with Dayton’s economy booming, or so we’re told, and the new tax increase, Dayton’s suffering an explosion of panhandlers. I’m sure it has nothing to do with looting by rulers making the rich richer and the poor poorer.

One component of the program called Real Change Dayton is Real Change Dayton meters. Dayton.com describes them: “Vibrantly wrapped retired parking meters will serve as collection sites for those who wish to make a monetary donation. Look for them in heavy pedestrian-traveled areas.”

The city also launched a website and text line for donations to help the homeless. That should fix the problem.

Or not. WYSO reports, “[Real Change Dayton] collected $1,454.15 in donations from both the parking meters-turned donation centers and the program’s online giving portals, according to numbers provided by Valerie Beerbower with the Downtown Dayton Partnership, which helped create the program.”

$1,454.15 in a year. That doesn’t cover the cost of wrapping the parking meters let alone the bloated salaries of bureaucrats working on the program.

WYSO continues, “Organizers originally intended to divide the annual collections among several different community agencies that work to help Dayton’s homeless population. But, Beerbower says members of the partner organizations decided this year’s donation total was too low to divvy up, and opted instead to award the full amount to just one of the participating agencies, St. Vincent De Paul.”

Dayton’s rulers won’t shut this wasteful program down because it’s really a plan to steal your money through taxes and enrich those rulers. Unlike a business, governments, because they steal money instead of earning it, can and do waste money and resources endlessly, making us all poorer.

I hope you got a good laugh too. It beats crying.

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Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at MarkLuedtke@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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