Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Feral Genius Spectacularly Obvious Solution to the Homeless Problem

A few months ago I had to write a hard-hitting news story about some local elementary school students who’d spent a week of classroom time learning about the Social Problem That Is Homelessness, then writing little essays and fingerpainting little pictures about it. (My story focused on how said pictures were being put together into an art exhibit for parents.)

When writing about elementary school class projects I’m professionally obligated to convey the journalism concept of “Aw, how cyuuute.” (That’s why the First Amendment is so important.) So I quoted some of the captions the kids had painted for their homelessness pictures: “Everybody needs a home,” “Homeless people make me sad” and “The mayor should make it against the law to step on homeless people while they sleep.”

Coincidentally, I agree with all three statements (except I’m pretty sure it’s already illegal to step on sleeping people, and the mayor had nothing to do with that). But solving the homeless problem is just as simple and easy as the young artists’ suggestions would indicate: have government pass a law requiring everyone to buy a place to live. For anyone refusing to make such a purchase, simply charge them a tax almost as high as housing costs, to incentivize people into wanting a place to live.

If it’ll work for health insurance, why not housing, too?


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