It All Adds Up

Posted: July 25, 2007 in Bureauacracy, Homelessness, Money, Politics

I’ve been thinking about what I wrote yesterday.

With the U.S. population have hit the 300 million mark in 2006, with roughly 1 percent of its citizens being homeless and with 1.65 percent of its citizens being couch homeless, we are talking about some 2.65 percent of America being homeless in one form or another. That translates into 8,450,000 people who experience homelessness in the United States alone.  

Those numbers are sickening. What it more sickening however, is that the numbers of homeless will continue to grow with each passing year.

I find it difficult to fathom how so many people can be homeless in the world’s most prosperous nation. Moreover, I can’t imagine why our nations leaders haven’t as of yet come up with an effective method of helping them and thereby reducing the suffering of millions of Americans. Surely there must be some way of taking taxpayer dollars and using them wisely enough to begin an attempt at reducing the numbers of homeless.

Considering all of the "pet" projects that most members of Congress keep trying to get funding for, you would think that helping the plight of the nations homeless would be among them.

Yet year after year politicians on both side of the aisle engage in pork barrel spending – last minute additions to various bills and resolutions to spend taxpayer dollars to reward their constituents and campaign contributors. In this way they hope of being re-elected next term. Something’s wrong with that.

Politicians aren’t elected to help ONLY those who voted for them. They are there to protect the rights of every last one of us. They are there to help improve and raise the standard of living for all of the nation’s citizens. It’s not a game of quid pro quo. And it shouldn’t be made into one.

But what makes me sick to my stomach is that we, the people, continue to allow this to happen. We may complain about pork barrel spending, but complaining about it is not the way to change it. We need to send a clear message to our elected leaders. We need to let them know that it is the taxpayers who are paying the bills – not they themselves.

Until we do that, those who are existing at sub-poverty level will go uncared for and, more and more people will continue to join the ranks of America’s homeless.

In New York City, there is a counter that keeps track of the growing national deficit. Perhaps it should keep count of the ever growing numbers of people who become homeless – as well as the growing numbers of people who die each year homeless.

Perhaps then someone would sit up and take notice. And maybe then someone would be willing to do something about it.

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