When it comes to homelessness, Limbaugh’s got plenty to say about how liberals are just exploiting the issue to spurn class envy and make the middle class feel guilty. He has lots to tell people about how the greatest obstacle to solving the homeless problem is that the liberal Poverty Pimps don’t want the problem solved; how liberals are only interested in an ever-growing welfare state so they can keep all their friends employed. ’Cause, as he puts it, ‘‘Liberals can’t stay in power if [the homeless] become self-sufficient.’’

The Fraud of Homelessness Advocacy, the name of a chapter in Limbaugh’s first book, pretty clearly demonstrates where his priorities lie, focusing not on the homeless problem itself but on his sad anti-liberal fixation. Like many an issue, he has more to say about the follies of those actually looking to make a difference than he does anything constructive of his own to add.

‘‘Real problems deserve real solutions, not name-calling.’’ Or so concluded Limbaugh upon presenting his homeless solutions. Sure enough, after 12 pages of long-winded musings on the ulterior motives of wicked liberals; how Martin Sheen spent a night on the streets to bring attention to the issue; and how advocates like Mitch Snider exaggerated the number of homeless to be three million people, Limbaugh finally presented his ‘‘solutions’’ to the problem. A Five-Point Program. Which consisted of recommending, 1) getting an honest count of the homeless (which seemed strange seeing as how earlier in the chapter he said the number is probably close to the 600,000 given by the Urban Institute), 2) categorizing the homeless into their different needs, 3) getting those with addictions to alcohol or drugs into rehabilitation clinics, 4) putting the mentally ill or unbalanced into institutions, and, the cusp of his recommendations, 5) somehow (no specifics given) educating the able-bodied homeless ‘‘in how to access the boundless opportunities in the American economy.’’

Limbaugh says many homeless just aren’t aware of the opportunities that are out there. I’d think only someone living on another planet would be unaware of the opportunities for employment that exist here in the States. The problem isn’t that the homeless aren’t aware of these opportunities, but that they don’t know how or are unable to take advantage of them.

Having worked in a remedial paying profession for a few years now, I can tell you that whenever a homeless person came in to apply, they had absolutely no chance of getting the job; some of them because of their appearance, but all of them because they never left a telephone number or mailing address.

Then the obvious answer to this would be to offer the homeless telephone services (a number they can receive messages on) and a legal address (maybe like a makeshift P.O. box system at shelters), as many businesses either won’t or can’t hire people without these. And by giving the homeless a telephone number and a legal mailing address, they might obtain a sense of connection with society——shit, I don’t know! At the least they’d feel more confident in filling out job applications.

I’m not gonna claim to have any great ideas on how this problem can be solved, but certainly the homeless can’t just be carted away to whatever facility might best be able to assist them. Someone’s rights as an individual don’t become null and void simply because they’ve no home to call their own. And so unless they’re an immediate threat to others or themselves, I really don’t see how there could be any legal basis for confining drug addicts or alcoholics to a rehabilitation clinic, nor the mentally unstable to institutions.

What the government should do to keep people off the streets is allow for squatter’s rights. That the buildings people are squatting in are privately owned is immaterial——so long as the owners have clearly abandoned the buildings to just degenerate, there’s no reason why the homeless shouldn’t be allowed to take up residency within them. Naturally if an owner decides to rebuild, then their rights as a property owner would take precedence; but if the owner has abandoned their property, then, until such time as they decide to rebuild or pay for the demolition of the building, the rights of squatters to have a roof over their head should take full precedence.


Limbaugh’s such a caring soul he recognizes that ‘‘liberals don’t want the homeless to hold a job that has any real promise. They prefer to accommodate and humor them by making it easier for them to stay in their present condition. That’s why they vigorously advocate a constitutional right to beg.’’ Limbaugh’s proposing that by allowing the homeless to panhandle liberals are only enabling their homelessness. He consequently seems to suggest that the outlawing of panhandling (not just aggressive, but all types) would be positive ’cause it’d force the homeless to straighten their lives out. Because of course were this right taken away they’d all get real jobs, since obviously the only thing that keeps them from doing so is the great satisfaction and wealth they must procure from begging for hand outs. (This train of logic serves well as another epitomes look into Limbaugh’s thought-processes, and again it’s disconcerting to say the least.)

Being that it’s just a more direct form of charity——absent the middlemen——panhandling lies squarely in-between a life of crime and making an honest living; neither negative or positive, it is a fairly neutral source of income. Were this right taken away (as Limbaugh so compassionately suggested), then they pretty much would be forced to go either some negative or positive route. And is it truly reasonable to assume that, if forcibly pushed, most destitutes would be more inclined to go down a positive path, and be successful at it, than they would turning to a life of crime to fend for themselves?

I recall this one self-proclaimed ‘‘conservative’’ on The Phil Donahue Show (back in the day) saying how he has no sympathy for the homeless because it’s so easy to get a job, how they’re just lazy, and how he thought panhandling should be illegalized and the homeless arrested for loitering. When another person on the show asked him whether he honestly believed this approach did anything to solve the problem, the man was clearly befuddled for a second or two before answering that he thought it was important for the homeless to know what was expected of them by society.

Most must feel somewhat castoff already. Why then would they be eager to rejoin the very society that rejects and scorns them the second they’re down on their luck? Why should the homeless, or anyone for that matter, give a rat’s ass about what the ‘‘society’’ expects of them? (See Appendix VII for an arbitrary observation.)

Said approach of illegalizing panhandling and loitering is not to actually illegalize homelessness, but to put every law in the book possible to let them know they’re unwanted, that their presence will not be tolerated. The only thing this satisfies is the public’s desire not to have to see or deal with the homeless, lessening the burden of their conscious. It’s like sweeping the problem under the rug, or more appropriately, it’s sweeping it across the street. And of course once this problem builds up on the doorstep of another, they’ll pass their own anti-homeless laws, passing the problem on to someone else.

Were this trend to catch on and escalate, it’d be like an endless game of homeless hot potato, shuffling them here and there like a herd of unwanted cattle.

The homeless problem cannot be solved by making the homeless so miserable that they’re forced to either self-destruct or go straight. Discouraging homelessness solves nothing; the best anyone can do is to encourage others to pick themselves up for themselves——not the ‘‘society’’ or any other deranged reason——and of their own free will. Simply put: Those living on the streets must be discouraged from a life of crime; but still allowed the option of being homeless and of panhandling for a living; and they must be encouraged to help themselves.


A precise count of the homeless population may never exist, and nobody should need one to tell them there are too many without homes. Don’t ignore these people. They have hearts and souls, dreams and goals (some realized, many forgotten), just like you and I. We’re all so set in our routines, our fears, passing the homeless by like they’re ghosts, not real people but simply a distasteful figment of the imagination. Granted some have serious mental problems and deserve to be feared——but usually this distance people put between themselves and the homeless isn’t because of any real danger, but because people don’t want to believe the same can happen to them, they fear seeing themselves in that person’s tattered and torn shoes.

Hopefully more and more people will gradually overcome their irrational fear of the destitute (myself, to a fair degree or two, included), and will find the compassion to treat all other humans——no matter what their economic status——with the common kindness and respect they are deserving of.


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