Posts Tagged ‘health’

HOW APPALLING CAN AMERICAN CITY LEADERS BE?

May 7, 2014

Studies conducted by Philip Mangano, former National Homeless Policy Czar under both presidents Bush and Obama, reveal that it costs taxpayers far more to not house a homeless person than to house the same homeless person.

Recent studies conducted by Los Angeles, Phoenix and Salt Lake City arrive at the same conclusion. Salt Lake City, Phoenix and other cities have significantly reduced homelessness by providing affordable housing, rather than arresting, jailing and re-arresting homeless American citizens.

Costs for arresting and jailing America’s poor, as well as costs for hospitalization, medical expenses, shelters, social workers and other taxpayer supported services, can range from $35,000 to well over $150,000 annually per homeless individual, while costs to house the same individual range from $13,000 to $25,000 annually.  Many homeless people are employed, receive social security or some other income and, when cities charge them 30 percent of their income for housing, annual savings can be considerably more.

According to The Contributor newspaper, Metro Nashville made 4,175 homeless related arrests in 2012, mostly for trespassing and obstructing a passageway.  It makes no legitimate or rational sense at all for any city to be engaging in such cruel and immoral practices, as arresting American citizens for the ‘crime’ of being poor solves absolutely nothing.

The same individuals are soon back on the street and re-arrested again, often a great many times, all at taxpayer expense. Nashville’s homeless citizens are frequently fined considerable amounts they can’t afford to pay and, failure to appear or resolve such charges on their records, makes it even harder for them to find permanent employment and housing.

We as long-suffering taxpayers need to inform our district attorney, mayor, city council members, chief of police and other city leaders, that we are appalled when our cities arrest American citizens for the ‘crime’ of being poor, rather than constructing affordable housing. which would cost us taxpayers far less, as well as be greatly beneficial to the homeless.  Nashville’s current city leadership even refuses to provide public restrooms downtown, a clear and present public health danger for tourists and every local resident.

Providing affordable housing in the larger picture, besides being a great blessing for the homeless, would also be a significant benefit for public health, tourism and other business interests and every non-homeless citizen.  And doing so would quite literally save many millions of taxpayer dollars; tax dollars that are currently being carelessly and callously utterly wasted for no good reason at all.

Rather than invading and bulldozing tent encampments of the poor, American cities should be using bulldozers to clear the way for construction of affordable housing.  Otherwise, we the voting taxpayers should be using our vote to bulldoze them out of office.

Every conservative, moderate and liberal taxpayer should be very upset and utterly appalled at the cruel, indifferent, grossly immoral and economically nonsensical current approach of many American city leaders and other public officials towards the homeless and poor of our nation.

How appalling can American city leaders be? You decide.

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CAN WE AFFORD TO HOUSE THE HOMELESS?

January 11, 2014

It may sound callous and indifferent to say it would save taxpayers significantly to house the homeless. But we apparently live in a nation of many callous and indifferent people, who seem to think it’s in their own best interest to simply ignore the homeless.

Based on actual calculations by the state of Utah of how much it costs to arrest and jail the homeless and provide emergency room services, the average cost per homeless person to the taxpayers of Utah is over $16,500 per year. Utah has discovered housing the homeless instead, including the cost of providing a social worker, costs the taxpayers about $11,000 annually, a savings to the taxpayer of over $5500 per homeless individual.

Unlike many cities continuing to pour taxpayer dollars down the drain arresting, jailing and re-arresting the homeless, Utah has since 2005 began offering those without shelter an apartment and, the entire state is on pace to eliminate homelessness by 2015. While housing the homeless for no cost might not be the best idea, most certainly housing them for one-third of their income, regardless of what it is, would save taxpaying citizens significantly.

Not included in the above calculations, are many other additional not so obvious costs to taxpayers when cities refuse to provide affordable housing. Perhaps most importantly and least understood by American citizens in general, it is a well-established historical fact that pandemics and plagues typically arise among the poorest sections within large urban areas, where adequate shelter, nutrition and medical care is most lacking.

Scientists for several years have been warning that major plague is long overdue and could erupt at any time here in the 21st Century. Disease knows no economic or other boundaries and can quickly spread in all directions upward and outward. It isn’t an exaggeration at all to say that failing to provide adequate shelter, nutrition and medical care for everyone within our borders, is simply begging for national and global disaster to erupt. No one is safe from contagious diseases, regardless of how wealthy or insulated we may be, nor are any of our own children.

Many millions of federal, state, county and city tax dollars are spent in various ways on social outreach services and similar programs that would not be spent if there was no homeless population. And, many billions more are spent by private charities, where much of this is donated by taxpaying citizens. The total cost of private donations combined with various taxpayer funded social outreach programs, significantly adds to the cost of not housing the homeless.

With all costs included, it is at least 50% less expensive to house a homeless person, charging them one-third of their income, than to not house the same homeless person. American cities could begin buying up vacant homes and other structures and start housing the homeless, which would have the added benefit of reducing crime, stabilizing and driving up property values in distressed neighborhoods. Can we afford NOT to house the homeless? You decide.

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IS MUSIC CITY BECOMING THE MEANEST CITY IN AMERICA?

October 13, 2013

In July and August of 2013, I interviewed thirty-five homeless and formerly homeless individuals in Nashville, Tennessee. Virtually all of them say they have been harassed, cited and arrested multiple times for trespassing, sometimes while waiting for a bus, sometimes when standing near a bench where others were sitting and often when not acting any differently than other non-homeless persons in their immediate vicinity, who were not arrested.

At taxpayer expense, our morally bankrupt city leaders have removed some public benches the homeless used to sit on and otherwise, have installed new benches with bars in the middle so they can’t lie down. The homeless say there are no public restrooms for them to use, virtually no drinking fountains and there is literally no where for them to sit, walk or go to the bathroom without fear of being arrested and carted off to jail for trespassing. Most say they have been jailed two or more days multiple times and fined significant amounts for the ‘crime’ of being poor.

The homeless say some Nashville police officers try to be fair, while others are deliberately mean to them, going out of their way to constantly harass, cite and/or arrest them for trespassing, obstruction of a passageway and doing other things that tourists and the non-poor are not arrested for. A man who had only been homeless for two days told me he had already been harassed twice by the police when asking passers by for directions to the mission.

Many say they have been arrested for public intoxication when they were sober and carrying no alcohol or drugs. Several claim the police routinely search their belongings without probable cause, frequently kick them out of public parks and many say their tents, backpacks and other belongings have been confiscated or destroyed by authorities.

The homeless situation in Nashville is far worse than city leaders pretend. Most of the thirty-five I interviewed said they have been homeless over a year in the Nashville area; several said they have been homeless more than seven years. One day walking only a few short blocks from the downtown bus terminal to Church Street and then back, I interviewed thirteen people who said they were homeless, while many others passed by who appeared to be.

When tourist and other events are scheduled, the homeless say police conduct general sweeps of the downtown area, arresting groups of people for appearing to be poor. A homeless man on crutches said he was arrested for trespassing for walking across a store parking lot diagonally instead of going around the long way on the sidewalk. Several said they have been harassed and sometimes cited when selling a homeless newspaper.

One man told me he was arrested for obstruction while sitting on a downtown step because one of his shoes was touching a public sidewalk. A formerly homeless woman said she has witnessed numerous homeless individuals arrested for trespassing while walking in public alleyways and on other public taxpayer-funded property. She said the police rarely volunteer their name or badge number and some become angry when asked. Several say their shoes and other belongings have been stolen at the mission and some say they have been physically harmed.

Some told me they have been arrested even when not homeless at the time, just because they appeared to be poor. Several homeless veterans told me the police show them no respect for being veterans and harass them just as badly as the rest. We as taxpaying citizens of conscience should stand united and immediately demand that our city leaders cease and desist using our tax dollars to harass, cite and arrest people for the ‘crime’ of being poor.

We expect police officers to protect us from real criminals who murder, rape and steal, rather than to waste their time and our tax dollars harassing, citing and arresting citizens because they are poor. Does the mayor’s office and city council vainly imagine they can get away with such ongoing violations of basic human and civil rights, morality and common decency, without God in heaven and the rest of us noticing?

It is less expensive to house the homeless than for cities to repeatedly arrest and run them through legal and service systems, better for business and, much less of a public safety and health risk and expense when the basic needs of everyone are met. Music City’s lack of affordable housing, lack of basic common health sense and common decency to even provide public restrooms and ongoing harassment of the poor, is an open American shame. It was reported last year alone, over thirty citizens died in the Nashville area because they were homeless, including one who froze to death on a downtown church’s steps. And, that is over thirty American citizens too many.

May all citizens of the United States who fear God unite together and demand that our cities begin immediately constructing enough affordable housing and in the meantime, demand that our immoral leaders provide portable toilets so citizens don’t have to live in fear of being arrested for doing what nature requires of us all. Let’s demand that our cities immediately begin construction of facilities where the homeless can shower, be connected to job opportunities, health, food, shelter and other valuable services and freely congregate, without constant fear of physical harm, harassment, citation and arrest.

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DID THE DEMOCRATS REFORM HEALTH CARE?

November 9, 2010

Congressional Democrats, since the election of President Obama, have passed cosmetic legislation that will likely hurt more than help the majority of Americans, while greatly enhancing the bottom-line of banking, oil and health corporations.  Like their Republican partners in crime, they are allowing citizens to become more and more economically enslaved.   For example, government sources announced not long after so-called health care “reform” passed, that projected costs for health care will nearly double by 2020.

Many Americans fail to understand that when employers pay for health care, we are in reality, paying for it ourselves.  Employer cost for benefits is included in the “price at the pump” reality for all goods and services.  And because the cost is ultimately borne by us, there is in reality no such thing as employer provided benefits.

If a manufacturer, trucking company and retail chain provide benefits for their employees, consumers purchasing the manufactured products delivered by the trucking company and sold by the retail chain, pay for the cost of these benefits. This includes the factory workers, truck drivers and store clerks who receive benefits, when they purchase goods and services themselves.

When an employer doesn’t provide health coverage, as is the case for most working class and poor citizens, then it greatly disproportionately effects them.  Not only are they forced to pay for their own coverage or do without, they also end up paying for the health benefits of employees who do have coverage, in the form of higher consumer prices.  Instead, if health care was paid for through federal taxation, citizens would pay for it based on their tax bracket and ability to pay.

The reality now is, upper-middle class and wealthier Americans typically enjoy premium health coverage paid for by their employers. Meanwhile, all American consumers end up paying for “Cadillac-plan” provided expensive high fashion eye-wear, cosmetic surgery and braces on children’s teeth.  And, poor Americans suffering from cancer and diabetes often have no coverage at all. EVERYBODY pays while only a few receive premium coverage.

When Republicans talk about supporting “small” business, what their agenda is really helping, is very large private businesses and publicly traded corporations that gain significantly from tax reductions. Average wage-earners lose far more in service cutbacks than they ever gain by tax reductions.  And, when Democrats talk about “reform”, it invariably results in the same thing, such as the projected rise in health care costs we all have to pay for.

Legislation backed by both parties severely hurts small business and the average American citizen and, the direction both parties are pursuing will ultimately enslave the masses beyond pre-20th Century industrial reality.  And, it will eliminate any semblance of legitimate business, while driving more and more people into financial ruin.

Did the Democrats really reform health care?  Is the Republican agenda any better?  As long as politicians are allowed to be bought and sold by wealthy interests, does it even really matter which party is in power?  You decide.

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DOES BELIEF IN GOD CAUSE WAR AND OTHER HUMAN OPPRESSION?

April 20, 2010

Is it really accurate, as some intellectuals claim today, to blame belief in God as the cause of war and other human oppression?  Is this any more correct than blaming science and education?  Isn’t it more honest to instead, blame people who mis-use technology and belief in God for their own nefarious purposes?

Obviously, someone can aim the fickle finger of fate at war waged in the name of religion.  But, even before the invention of the wheel leading to ever-improved knife, spear, bow and chariot design, human science and education has been intricately entwined with waging war. Military applications have long been interlaced with government-funded science, education and modern space exploration.

Consider the Manhattan Project, nuclear missiles and space-ray weapons.  And, the rise of oppressive imperialism alongside industrial age invention; the American, French, Russian and Chinese revolutions; WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq.  Incalculable human oppression has been aided by science and technology and, waged in the name of nationalism, democracy, capitalism, communism, socialism, fascism, anarchism and other intellectual idealism and often, just plain old fashioned human greed and lust for gold.

Arguably because of their belief in God, billions of people have helped the sick, poor and oppressed masses throughout the ages.  Consider names like Isaiah, Socrates, Jesus, Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer, Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez and, celebrities like Danny Thomas, Jerry Lewis and Martin Sheen.  Consider the Union Rescue Mission and LA Mission on Skid Row in Los Angeles.  Throughout the European “dark” and Middle Ages, many individuals, including some popes, established public hospitals, housing and bread lines.

Consider modern electricity, medicine, surgery, global travel, computer technology and other marvels of a 21st Century age of science and wonder.  And to be fair, weigh this in the historical balances against WMDs, global mass pollution, depletion of fisheries, rain and other forests, fresh water pollution, mountains of garbage and cesspools of toxic waste left in the wake of the “Age of Enlightenment”.

Why is oppression waged in the name of Christianity, Islam and other religions any worse than that waged in the name of manifest destiny, communism and fascism?  Is human oppression a result of sincere belief in God?  Or, is it rather, a result of human beings wrongly using the sincere beliefs of others for their own devious purposes?

Isn’t it more likely that we all contribute to the negative downside of human history, whenever we fail to treat other people as we ourselves, wish to be treated?  Isn’t it more accurate, as Jesus pointed out and as Freud, Jung and modern behavioral science agree, to blame the “seething mass” of irrationality and frustration buried deep within individual human beings, as being the real cause of our problems?

If we are going to rationally and fairly blame something as being the “cause” of our problems, maybe it’s wise to first take a good look in the mirror.  Does belief in God cause human oppression?  You decide.

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