Friday, January 13, 2006

Liberal Panacea or Destitute Wasteland

Social programs and welfare reduce poverty right?

The report by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority estimated that 82,291 people were homeless in Los Angeles County on any given night in 2005, with about 48,103 of the county's homeless living within Los Angeles' city limits.
The estimates mark the first attempt to gather detailed data on the homeless. The figures will provide a benchmark to evaluate the effectiveness of programs to curb homelessness, officials said.
The study also reported that California's estimated homeless population of 195,367 is the highest in the nation. Forty-six percent of the state's homeless population is located in Los Angeles County, according to researchers, who determined that one of every 110 people in the county are homeless on any given night.

So, arguably the most liberal state in the country with the most generous programs for the poor and destitute cannot manage to curb homelessness.  What’s the problem?  The problem is incentives matter – if you pay for something you will get more of it.  California and LA pay people to be poor and are paying them more than they could earn if they managed to get a job.  

The combination of anti-growth regulation, restrictive building ordinances and nanny-state social programs have created a problem, not solved one.

Solving the issue of homelessness is really quite simple – get them all jobs.

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