Tell Homeless to Leave

At some point America has to wake up and accept that some age-old values really do have merit and benefit. There are a lot of things that I could be talking about with the preceding sentence. But for now, I am talking about how to deal with homelessness.

I live near Seattle, WA and drive through the city at least 5 days per week. What I’ve seen over the past 5-8 years is a city that used to call itself The Emerald City become something more akin to the Brown and Gray City…or whatever color you would most frequently assign to trash. Because trash is everywhere. And its piles are only growing.

The former pervert Mayor Ed Murray declared a homeless “state of emergency” in 2015. And since that time the number of people who live on city streets, and under overpasses, and in traffic mediums has only grown. Little has been done, and what little that has been done has actually been decreased since Murray resigned in disgrace after numerous allegations of him molesting teen boys decades ago.

What is most disturbing about Seattle’s homelessness is the increased brazenness of those who occupy our streets. As reported in this story from FOX News, many homeless are bragging about not paying rent and living off the welfare services and the generosity of others: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/04/09/homeless-residents-brag-about-makeshift-mansion-near-seattles-famed-space-needle.html

The city’s leftist political leadership and charitable organizations have tried lots of things. But one thing they haven’t tried is making homelessness and vagrancy the crime that it ought to be. I’m fully prepared to take the hateful comments that will follow the preceding statement. Because such thoughts are what have perpetuated this national disease.

Let me ask those who would condemn me for my tough statement by asking, what about the current situation shows love and compassion for those affected? Do you actually think letting people live on the streets is good for their well-being? For their health? For their soul, if you believe in such things?

All this so-called compassion and tolerance for the problems the homelessness create shows no tolerance or compassion for those negatively effected by the filth, the crime, the drug needles strewn about the city, the aesthetic decay of the city, or any of the big cities across America ill with this problem. To the contrary. All that’s shown for those who want to stop this Liberal Holocaust is contempt.

Here is what I’d like to see. Start arresting the drug users and dealers, and thieves and vagrants, . If the jails fill up, then incarcerate them in make-shift fenced, and guarded internment camps. Provide them tents, food, and medical care. Deny them drugs or freedom until they have served time enough to get off their addictions or found housing upon their release. Again, I expect a lot of hate coming for such comments. But again I ask, how is what I’m proposing not better, significantly better, than what these poor people are currently enduring?

Expect more of them. Expect them to be humble. Expect them to seek help and be responsible for their own well-being. If you expect more from them, I am 100% confident most of them would live better and would stop being the blight on our city that they currently are.

I would never deny a hungry person food, or a sick or ill person medical treatment. But that doesn’t mean I have to let them live where ever they want, doing whatever they want. We used to have standards. It’s long past time that we embrace those values again and stop tolerating decrepitude.

I pray my proposals are right and helpful.

Thanks for visiting.

The Poverty Myth: It’s not for a Lifetime

tbs-avalanche-12-2010-102.jpgWhen considering those in poverty it is far too common to think of them as perpetually poor and forever on the public dole. This sentiment has long existed and been perpetuated by claims of generational poverty; families that have nothing and leave nothing for their kids, thus creating a cycle that keeps the kids poor as adults and their kids raised in unrelenting poverty as well. These people are forever a burden on society and forever in need of our tax dollars being redistributed to them in the form of low or free rent, food stamps, medical care and more. Or so the myth goes…

While its true that many in poverty can stay poor for a significant portion of their lives, that’s often not the case. A 10+ year old study found that a significant percentage of those who were in the bottom third of income earners in the 1970s at some point over the following 20 years actually attained a level of income putting them in the upper third of income earners. This illustrates the point that those in poverty and receiving assistance are often only in that financially troubling position for a short time in their lives. 

This makes sense when you consider that many of those who are poor are young adults or young families who have not yet attained the wisdom, experience, resumes or income to keep them out of poverty. But as they age and gain work experience and the wisdom on how to earn and save money they lift themselves out of poverty and often into financial well-being.

The author taking a break at his 3rd radio job in 1986 when my income rose to the grandiose level of $1000 per month.

The author taking a break at his 3rd radio job in 1986 when my income rose to the grandiose level of $1000 per month.

This was certainly true for this author. I have worked in the radio industry for my entire adult life. I began professionally in 1985 as a 21 year old country music DJ and part-time high school sports play-by-play announcer. This auspicious position paid me the awesome sum of $600 per month. A little extra scrambling for more work usually got my check up to $650.00. And that was gross income, paid to me with only one pay check per month. I worked 50-60 hours per week, 6 days per week; thus not allowing me to hold a second job. I was poor. I didn’t qualify for food stamps. At the time I did apply and was told I made exactly $5.00 too much each month to qualify. I lived on Top Ramon, Mac & Cheese, and Cheerios. Oh…and beer. Priorities, right?

Twenty years later my income climbed to a level in 2004 where my earnings put me in the upper 2-3% of income earners. I owned a home, a rental property, and was raising a family. In 2005 I started my own business, Total Broadcasting Service.

Total Broadcasting owner Michael Schuett does most of the camera work provided to customers, both still and video.

Total Broadcasting owner Michael Schuett does most of the camera work provided to customers, both still and video.

And I’m not special. Lots of people can tell the same story.

The myth that poverty is a life sentence has two deleterious effects. If believed by some of those in poverty it helps keep them in need. It also discourages generous giving from many who could dramatically impact the lives of those in poverty. “Why give if these lazy, drug using poor people are only going to use my money to get drunk and high and buy tattoos and other frivolous expenses? I was poor and I lifted myself up. They should do the same.”…or so seems to be the thinking.

When its understood that poverty is more usually a temporary condition Americans can feel more comfortable generously offering a hand up while not seeing it as a hand-out. If someone is too young to have learned and earned you are more likely to see their potential and give them the assistance you probably benefitted from in your own youth. When its plain that a medical condition has prevented a person from working and they lost their income and haven’t yet found a means by which they will eventually support themselves, you can maintain a much higher level of empathy for their plight. Even when someone’s own poor decisions or foolishness have driven them to the poor house, you can feel a greater desire to help them get back to being self sustaining if you have the confidence of knowledge that most people in their positions will use your generosity wisely to change the direction of their lives and improve their situation.

My faith tells me that its my responsibility to help those in need. But if my faith (or yours) didn’t dictate charitable giving, common sense would. Few people, regardless of political persuasion, like the government’s gun to your head (otherwise known as the IRS) approach to monetary redistribution. And frankly its terribly inefficient anyway. But many non-profit charitable and church based organizations provide efficient and meaningful help to the needy. 

One of these organizations in my community is Emergency Feeding Program of Seattle and King County. I met it’s Director, Glenn Turner, this year. He carefully explained to me and others how EFP fills the gaps in food distribution for the needy. Food banks typically only provide food enough to last an individual or a family for 2-3 weeks per month. The obvious problem being that every month is at least 4 weeks. Emergency Feeding Program will help those who can’t provide for themselves over each month’s final 1-2 weeks with carefully constructed food bags tailored to the specific dietary and ethnic requirements of the recipient. They provide 15 different types of emergency food bags to match their clients. Emergency Feeding Program has been doing this since 1977, and are Washington State’s third largest food distribution service for the needy. And they do it through the generosity of people. They have many people who volunteer their time. And many generous people and organizations who donate food and money. You can help them too. And this writer hopes that you will.

Isn’t it easier to help knowing you are actually helping. Isn’t it best to look at those in poverty as merely folks who are down on their luck and with the kind and generous assistance you provide they won’t stay where they are; they’ll rise up support themselves and in the natural evolution of their lives help others; maybe even you, should you someday be a victim of misfortune, poor health or unfortunate decisions. 

We can’t and shouldn’t rely on government to carry us through. We’re a free nation. And we should be free to help those we want to help. And we should help. It’s in our best interest as well as the recipients of our generous money and efforts. 

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Call for Video Production Services: 425-687-0100

Call for Video Production Services: 425-687-0100

As an addendum: Emergency Feeding Program is hosting its first ever Summer musical event to raise awareness and donations. Jazz on the Houser will be from 3-9pm Saturday August 23rd. Click here to learn more: http://www.emergencyfeeding.org/events-wedge-details/354217/1408824000

Republicans Need to Talk with More Heart

It’s tough out there. It’s tough just about everywhere.

This will be one of those blogs my wife wishes I wouldn’t write because I’ll reveal far too much personal feelings and personal information.

This Obama recession just keeps dragging on. Now we have the buttressing good news of declining gas prices which are made worse by the declining oil prices which is caused by declining economic forecasts. Economists say things could be getting worse…again. But then again…we could just be early with the annual Post-Memorial Day decline of oil and gas prices.

Are you struggling right now financially? I don’t talk to anyone these days who isn’t. It seems a lot of people are like my family…making a steady average to above average income…less than in years past but definitely average or above average…not saving anything…meeting all bills, but just barely…all while living humbly (at least humbly compared to the past 20 years). Things around the house that break, stay broken, at least for a while. We have a desire to help our adult kids, but not the means, other than a roof over their heads, which they reject. And it’s been this way for 2-3 years now.

I have one huge fear. No, not that I or someone in my family gets sick. But now that I mention it…that gives me chills too. Actually my biggest fear is that Barrack Obamawins re-election six short months from now.

Barack Obama

It’s not hard to argue that Obama is the most Progressive/Liberal President in U.S. history. And if he’s not he’s a close second, at least on domestic matters to Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933. Lietuvių: Fra...

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933. 

And what do they have in common? Both inherited serious economic problems and prolonged them through their own economic policies.

In June 1933 FDR signed into law a series of bills that were anti-competition, like the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, and pro-union measures, like Obama’s pro-union agenda including suing Boeing for having the audacity of locating a plant in a right-to-work state, thereby raising wages to artificially high levels and prices for goods in eleven key industries 25-percent higher than they otherwise would have been.

Such Government control has never been shown to work on a large economy effectively. Or as Winston Churchill said when assessing socialism’s inherent virtue, “the equal sharing of miseries.”.

Question: Can you name one government social program that makes you rich? How about one that makes you reasonably well-off? How about one that sustains you at average life-style levels? You can’t. Because it doesn’t exist. Government entitlement programs give you enough food and shelter and medicine in order to survive; never to thrive. So, with more people dependent on government for subsistence fewer people are eligible for a life of thriving success. The Heritage Foundations 2012 Index of Government Dependence showed more Americans dependent on government for subsistence than ever before.

Which leads me to the question: Has government made it too easy to rely on pay-outs for assistance. Rather than helping the truly needy, are we not creating more needy by creating dependence?

With unemployment benefits now extended 99 weeks in most circumstances dependence on that weekly government check is paramount. How can a teacher who’s been unemployed for nearly two years still be considered a teacher? Isn’t it obvious that if you can’t find employment in your field after two years you are no longer in THAT field? I think its obvious that too many people refuse employment or to look for employment in whatever job they can land in order to hold out for employment in their chosen field, subsisting ever so precariously on government assistance, until that job materializes and not coincidentally after their skills have diminished through nearly 2 years of unemployment.

Republicans consistently miss the boat on winning the support of these people and others who display sympathy for such folks. Republicans don’t talk enough about how they can help the poor and the lower middle-class by expressing the obvious: we have a better plan. How many people would prefer a government check that barely meets their needs over a paycheck no matter what the source for the paycheck?

Mitt Romney at one of his presidential campaig...

Mitt Romney can be our next President. But he has to show the compassion for the millions of those who are lost in this meager “recovery” or barely surviving. He can do it by simply emphasizing the obvious. Jobs are better than social programs. And he can do it by better demonstrating the compassion that non-thinking independents and Democrats like most. A sense of sympathy and concern for the most down-and-out will go miles in pulling them from the clutches of the Democratic party.

The Democratic party does a far superior job of giving the poor hungry man a fish; but as every Republican knows the Dems do a far inferior job of teaching a man to fish. We wrote a parable on such a subject some years ago called: The Fisherman, the Hungry Man, and the Wise Man.

Those who are struggling is a long list that sadly seems to be growing longer. An about-face can be achieved by repeatedly emphasizing the words of John Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you…”, and instead emphasizing what can you do for yourself, your family and your country. Do what you need to do, and pretty soon you will be able to do what you want to do. The Republicans have historically been more vocal in support of “traditional values”. They now need to show how those “traditional values”, like a rising tide, can and will lift all boats.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

Unmarried and Low Income becoming far too common!

Two remarkable statistics reported in the past two days by the U.S. Census Bureau caught my attention. Today it was reported that 48% of Americans are now in poverty or are qualified as low-income. Yesterday the same Commerce Department bureau reported that the percentage of married adult Americans has fallen to a record low of only 51%. If you turn the number around that means 49% remain unmarried. Then it struck me how close the two numbers were. 49% unmarried…48% low income or poor. Is there a relationship?

Marriage DayAs you digest these numbers remember the old saying about examining percentages too closely, “Beat a statistic to death and it will tell you anything”. But having offered that disclaimer we have to acknowledge that these two startling statistics are connected.

The U.S. Census Bureau defines an income of $45k a year as low-income for a family of four. Since the average American individual income is only $40,584, in my state of Washington it’s $43,564, the average American needs two incomes to avoid being low-income. The average household income in 2010 in the U.S. was $63k. It’s certainly lower in 2011.

What the two reports also include are the fact that minorities make up more of the poor and more of the unmarried. Only 31% of African-American adults are married, Hispanics were just above 50% and whites were around 70%.  Not surprisingly the poverty rates for each ethnic group roughly correspond. The 2010 Census says the percentage of white kids under 18 in poverty at 12%; for Hispanics its 35%, for blacks it’s nearly 39%.

This is not intended to be a lamentation of the decline of American values, but merely an examination of what may be smart to do, and what may be detrimental. It seems finding a partner and making a commitment to them and them to you to help you through the tough times and help you better enjoy the good times is not only a reflection of good moral values as some would say, but also good financial judgement.

As one who has been married for 25 years I can tell you honestly that it’s not easy. I can tell you staying together this long and helping each other makes things better. At various times in the previous 25 years I’ve been unemployed or without significant income a couple of times. My wife has been in the same position too on a couple of occasions. There is no doubt without the other’s income to lean on each of us would have been in a much worse position then and now.

The Washington Post reports that the marriage patterns are a striking departure from the middle of the 20th century, when the percentage of adults who never wed was in the low single digits. In 1960, for example, when most baby boomers were children, 72 percent of all adults were married. The median age for brides was barely 20, and the grooms were just a couple of years older.

“In the 1950s, if you weren’t married, people thought you were mentally ill,” said Andrew J. Cherlin, a Johns Hopkins University sociologist who studies families. “Marriage was mandatory. Now it’s culturally optional.” One has to wonder, why? Why has it become culturally optional, especially when this evidence and other factors show how marriage is a net-plus for society?

Now in the area of poverty there are certainly other factors to consider, education for one. During this extended recession while unemployment has remained above 9% for nearly the entire Obama Administration; unemployment for those with at least a College Bachelors Degree has consistently remained well below 5% (otherwise known as full employment). But here again there is a tie-in. More than 70% of those with a college education are married. It’s WELL below 50% for those with only High School or less.

I favor a change in attitude about marriage. Let our kids know that living with a partner outside of marriage is not only contrary to our values, our religion (if applicable), but also to their self-interest. It should be OK NOT to be married. But it should be recognized that we all benefit from the values too many have derisively called “old-fashioned” for far too many years.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

Poor People Shouldn’t be so Comfortable.

English: Poverty Rates by Age: 1959 to 2008. U...

Here I go again. Where is my compassion? This is what my Democratic friends and non-friends will say.

But as I wrote in an earlier blog called “Get Mad! Defend yourself. Conservative Values are Worth Defending”  I won’t take it. When I say “those in poverty in the U.S. live too comfortably and need to find it a little bit more challenging”; I’m the one with compassion. I’m the one who cares for their well-being. Democrats who want to keep them down by giving them JUST enough to continue their meek existence are the inhumane, the uncaring. Believe it. They’ve been dominating the poor in this country for far too long by keeping them fat and happy…and poor.

A recent study reported by The Heritage Foundation demonstrates dramatically that being poor in the United States doesn’t leave you much worse off than the average American. “Air Conditioning, Cable TV, and an Xbox: What is Poverty in the United States Today?” by Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield points out that 97.7% of poor households have televisions. That compares to 98.7% of average Americans.

Additionally the study finds:

  • Over 78% of poor have air conditioning; compared to just 36% of all Americans in 1970.
  • 63.7% have cable TV
  • 65.1% have more than 1 TV
  • 38.2% have a personal computer; compared to 68% of the general populace.
  • 29.3% of poor families have a video game system, compared to 31.3% of average American households.
English: Number in Poverty and Poverty Rate: 1...

The list is extensive and alarming. As the article points out the overwhelming majority of the 50-million who are classified as “in poverty” live relatively well with all kinds of modern amenities. The majority of them have air-conditioning, tv’s, cars, microwaves, adequate housing and ample access to food. The home of the average poor family was NOT over crowded and was in good repair. The average American poor family had more living space in their home than the average (overall average, not just poor) European.

There is no doubt that the poor in our country are struggling; but when they are struggling to pay for cable tv, the latest video game, and the comfort of air conditioning we have to ask why tax payer funds should go toward helping that struggle. The overwhelming budget deficits run by the current administration make it an even more important question.

MORE IMPORTANTLY there are people without adequate shelter or food who are hurt by the exaggerated deprivation of those classified as “in poverty”. But according to the study those who are homeless and at times without adequate food only represent 0.5% of the population; not 15-16% as Census reports in September 2011 indicated.

Of course its in the interest of certain demographic groups and organizations to exaggerate the numbers on poverty. In doing so more government money can flow to your demographic group through Federal programs designed to ease your burden and/or deprivation. But when a poor family’s amenities are nearly equal to the average household where is the deprivation. The study asked survey respondents if their home included a list of 30 household items they would have classified as amenities. The median average American household had 19 of these 30 items. The median poor household had 14.

Its worth noting that the average poor person does not represent all poor people. Like everything in life there is a range. But in order to come up with effective and efficient public policy to help care for those who are truly in-need we should be able to have a clearer definition of who is in need. And those who receive public assistance shouldn’t be so comfortable, and if they are, they shouldn’t receive public assistance.

The good news from this seemingly harsh stance is that those who live comfortably with lots of household amenities will be forced to make wiser choices for how they spend and save their money. They’ll certainly have greater motivation to work harder and smarter for the amenities they covet. And our nation’s deteriorating work ethic will get a necessary kick in the butt. And could it be that we all, even the poor, will learn to be more grateful for the things we have and the great nation in which we live.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

( Here is the link to the article in which the majority of this blog is based:  http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/07/What-is-Poverty )