Home for the Homeless – The Township Option
The traditional “help” we give to the homeless such as local shelters, soup kitchens, and street handouts are well intentioned, but they don’t solve the homeless problem. Perhaps it is time to try Ted Hayes’s model to build cities or townships designed specifically for the homeless.
The traditional “help” we give to the homeless such as local shelters, soup kitchens, and street handouts are well intentioned, but they don’t solve the homeless problem. In fact the more local help we give the more the homeless problem grows. The over 40,000 homeless people in Los Angeles County represent a diverse group many with underlying aliments including substance abuse, mental illness, and physical disability. Because of the severity and diversity of the ailments, a variety of intervention strategies are required. A new approach is needed that will truly help the homeless, and at the same time help get the homeless off the streets.
Perhaps it is time to try Ted Hayes’s idea to build cities or townships designed specifically for the homeless. Recently, I had the honor and pleasure of meeting with homeless activist Ted Hayes, who has lived homeless. He shared with me his concept of creating a new option for the homeless, townships designed to house and rehabilitate the homeless. Ted emphasizes the importance of getting the homeless into a new environment, a community that can provide for their unique and diverse needs. The township option will provide a safe nurturing community for the homeless, while improving the health and safety of our neighborhood parks and streets. Townships will become self-sufficient, generating income from businesses and manufacturing that provide jobs with on-the-job training opportunities. Mental health services, general medical services, and alcohol/drug rehabilitation will be provided. Funding will be primarily from private donors and revenue generated from township businesses. Volunteer citizens including veterans, retirees, and professionals can participate as an adjunct to staff. Men and women of all walks of life seeking a renewed, meaningful, life experience are encouraged to help. Government assistance in the way of providing the property and facilitating permits will assist with the project. This is not an “out of sight, out of mind” program, it is a program to rehabilitate and care for our homeless. For some it will be a way to transition, while others may find the township a place of comfort and new beginning. Residence in the township is voluntary and requires a vetting process.
We are now spending almost $30,000 a year on each homeless person, yet the problem gets worse. It is time for a real solution. The township option is not a quick or easy fix. It does, however, have the potential to bring a real solution to the important and difficult problem of our homeless.
Radical Islamic Terror and Refugee Crisis
The Middle East is being torn apart by civil war and ISIS, while global terrorism is increasing. The United States has contributed to the crisis by its policy of toppling Middle Eastern governments with false of hope of creating democracy.
The Middle East is being torn apart by civil war and ISIS as global terror from Islamic extremists is increasing. For the most part this is because of ISIS taking advantage of the chaos created by the civil war in Syria, the toppling of Middle Eastern governments. The takeover of Iraq by President G.W. Bush and withdrawal by President Obama has left Iraq weak allowing ISIS to gain occupation. Secretary Clinton and President Obama used air attacks to kill Gaddafi in Libya, resulting in the violent civil chaos, the Benghazi attacks, and occupation by ISIS. Now not learning from the past, we are supporting the civil war in Syria. Remember what Secretary of State Colin Powell said about going into Middle East; “You break it you own it.” We must learn from our mistakes and stop the toppling Middle Eastern governments.
America should take a leadership to both help the people in the Middle East and quell the increasing threat from radical Islamic terror. That said, our first priority must be to keep America safe. We must be vigilant in screening and vetting Syrians and Iraqis coming to America. Some of our leaders want to bring over 200,000 Iraqi and Syrian refugees to America this year. It is impossible to obtain adequate background checks on hundreds of thousands of refugees and terrorists have frequently used refugee status as a disguise. Taking masses of Middle Eastern refugees is not good for the refugees and not safe for America. It is only a Band-Aid measure that does not solve the real problem. Syria has been torn apart by civil war and the Syrian refugees desperately want to return to their homes in Syria. To truly help the Syrian people America should provide the leadership to increase the number of United Nation safe camps in Lebanon and Syria. Europe and England have been paying Turkey billions of dollars to keep the refugees in Turkey and they would be keen to give financial support to safe camps. After providing protection to the refugees, we must stop the civil war by joining with Russia to leave Assad Syria’s leader in power. We must stop arming the rebels and stop sending US troops into Syria. With Russia’s help we put pressure on Assad’s improve conditions in Syria. Deposing Assad would only result in chaos and more death and destruction. After the Syrian civil war ends an international force can focus on defeating ISIS.
Building a Strong Economy for All
We can build a strong economy for all by treating the root cause of our problem, loss of good paying manufacturing jobs. The answer is to renegotiate trade agreements with China, and other counties that have been using unfair business practices, to establish reasonable US regulations, and to reduce taxes on US companies who truly make it in America.
During World War II America developed into a manufacturing power house which was a key factor in winning the war. The successful development of manufacturing was in no small part due to the dedication and commitment of our woman labor force as the men were gone fighting. After the war America used that massive manufacturing capability and quickly became the largest exporter of goods in the world. America made all sorts of quality goods including cars, phones, TVs, radios, clothes furniture, glass, and steal, you name - we made it! US products were sought after worldwide for their quality and value. Made in America was a term of great pride. Through the 1960s America was economically strong with the greatest and most prosperous middle class the word has ever known. With the help of Unions, American laborers received excellent pay and benefits which included health insurance, and generous pension plans. Large scare manufacturing, however, produced pollution and took its toll on the environment. Federal and local regulations were passed to protect our environment. Even with high labor costs and the added expense of environmental regulations American manufacturing companies continued to make money though the 1970s. Unions continued to demand higher wages and better conditions. Workers resented big company money and fights broke out between management and the workers. They became adversaries not partners. At times the workers would even sabotage the product they were building, like placing loose bolts in the car doors so they would raddle. Regulations on factories became stricter and onerous, while taxes increased all reducing the once healthy profit margin. As many American companies felt the squeeze they started to cut corners and raise prices. The quality of American products suffered, while at the same time becoming more expensive. Even so, throughout the mid-1970s exports were good and the US maintained a trade surplus.
Starting around 1980 China underwent a socialist reform and started massive privatization of its industries. This change to capitalism resulted in opportunity and the Chinese entrepreneurs took full advantage. The Chinese government encouraged private ownership and subsidized the development of manufacturing plants. China, however, did not play fair. They used unethical business practices to cut manufacturing costs in order to illuminate the competition. Chinese companies received government subsidies, factories were virtually slave labor camps, and they used cheap materials even faking protein in baby’s milk and using toxic lead paint on children’s toys. If that wasn’t enough, the Chinese government manipulated their currency value in order to make Chinese products so cheap that they would kill the competition. Labor conditions became so bad in one Apple Computer factory (Foxconn City Shenzhen) that workers were literally jumping out of windows to commit suicide. Incredibly, the factories response was to put nets under the windows. Chinese business to this day have shown no regard for labor conditions nor the environment. They indiscriminately spew pollution into the air and waters. People wear masks because they can’t breathe the polluted air and when the wind shifts the people in Hong Kong can’t breathe. Virtually all the streams around cities are polluted. China is the number one polluter in the world, two times the United States.
Despite the horribly unethical business practices people around the world flock to buy cheap stuff made in China. Just go to any store from K-Mart to Neiman Marcus it’s all made in China. Demand for American products such as furniture, electronics, cars, clothes, and almost anything you can think of just plummeted. To make things worse in 1992 the NAFTA agreement was signed opening trade to Mexico which also uses cheap labor and lack of regulations to undercut US companies. With the lack of demand for US products, US factories started closing by the thousands. We lost millions of good paying jobs; Yes millions of jobs. CNN Money reported that between 2000 and 2016 the US lost over 5 million manufacturing jobs. The US trade surplus quickly switched to a trade deficit. By 2008 the year of the economic crisis the trade deficit reached an all-time high of over $65 billion a month. Imagine spending $ 65 billion more than you bring in. In fact, the last time the US had a trade surplus was 1975. No wonder we had an economic crisis. Millions of our workers lost good paying jobs while we continued to spend like mad. The 2008 crisis is often blamed on the banks. Yes they played a role by giving shady loans, but the root cause was massive loss of good paying manufacturing jobs to countries like China, and Mexico. Another important victim is our labor unions. Loss of manufacturing jobs means loss of union members.
Well guess what our government did in response to the economic crisis? They just printed money. As usual our leaders took the easy way out. Instead of addressing the root cause, the massive loss of factories and loss of manufacturing jobs, both Republicans and Democrats just printed money, tons of money! They called it Quantitative Easing (QE), bond buyback, or bailout. The Federal Reserve pumped $85 billion dollars a month into US banks and select companies called too big to fail. Unbelievably the Feds did this for over 6 years. As a result, big banks, Wall Street, and the rich insiders got super rich. The stock market value doubled, while the middle class and poor were left behind. Banks and the political insiders even gouged our students. Imagine Republican and Democrats (including President Obama) allowing the banks to issue US guaranteed student loans at 7%, while the banks got the money for free. This called usury, a sin in virtually every religion. Our young people should be mad. Bernie Sanders is right that the big banks, Wall Street, and insiders have made a killing at the expense of the poor and middle class. We now have more people on food stamps than ever before, 45 million Americans. Our national debt has sky rocketed to almost 20 trillion dollars. We spend 6% of our GDP on the debt interest alone, while we only spend 1% on scientific and medical research. And BTW who is going to get the debt. Answer, our children. But Burnie wants to solve the problem by more government and more government spending. This is not the answer as more government and more spending will only increase our debt and make things worse.
How to build a truly Strong Economy for All
The answer is to directly treat the root cause of our problem. We need to stop the unfair trade agreements with China, and like counties and replace them with fair trade agreements. Countries that practice unethical and unfair business practives should be fined by a tariff or trade will stop. In America we believe the workers deserve a decent wage and decent working conditions. In America we believe in protecting our global environment. If so, we must stand by our principles. My Mother and Father were in what is called the greatest generation as they stood tall and faced their challenges including WW II where over 400,000 Americans scarifying their lives. Now we must stand by our principles. If we continue to buy cheap stuff from countries that abuse their employees and pollute our earth then we are hypocrites. So we have to pay 30% more for tennis shoes. It’s worth it if it brings good jobs back to America. Compare that to the sacrifice so many Americans have made for us. It is time for us to stop taking the easy way out, and stop kicking the can down the road. Let’s do the right thing, even if it is inconvenient or we have to suffer some hardship. We can also stimulate American manufacturing with tax credits for companies who truly make it in America. Our businesses are over regulated making it difficult or impossible to compete in the global market. We can further stimulate our economy by reducing wasteful government spending, lowering taxes, and reducing our debt. If we directly address the root cause of our economic decline by promoting US manufacturing and stimulating real job creation we will create a strong economy, and a strong America for all of us and future generations.
Specific Action to bring Manufacturing back to America
· Place a Tax or tariff on imported goods from countries with unfair business practices
· Create a culture of unity between workers and management – we’re on the same side
· Make reasonable regulations that protect workers and the environment, but also promote business and industry
· Tax credits for companies who truly make it in America
· Educate the population on importance of Made in America – it’s worth it!