Letters: Homelessness is a profitable business
Your front-page article on the new PSU center to study the homeless population is interesting for several reasons.
That Mayor Ted Wheeler thinks it's a good idea should give citizens a reason to pause.
Do we really need another $3 million study to "provide scientific research to answer the questions of why homelessness exists?" Isn't there enough government overlap and bureaucratic activity already in existence? Is this really an effort to end homelessness? And at what point do we stop pretending to be serious about solving anything?
Homelessness cannot be solved nor can it be ended. Various media sources (Including the Tribune) often have pointed out surveys of the homeless population and found significant numbers of homeless do not want rules, curfews, regulations or supervision. They would not move into a shelter if one was built specially for them.
So what are all the expanding bureaucracies doing? What is the real purpose? Is their creation incubated out of compassion or humanitarian beliefs? Is the need so great and the solution so esoteric that PSU needs to become involved?
No, homelessness has become a growing and profitable business. While admitting a variety of reasons a person becomes homeless, the ever-expanding government bureaucracies constantly move objectives while requiring more money to chase after a problem they know has no solution.
The motives are money. The business needs bodies to exist. Homelessness is a quixotic mix that defies logic or solution. As such, it's a perfect vehicle to maintain an industry that will always demand more money to operate, while existing with no measurable goals or objectives.
As the public scratches their heads and watches the money and bureaucracies grow, they also witness more litter, more drugs and more homelessness.
It's a business, and it's one with built-in protection from criticism. To question motives or purpose of this business, a person risks the wrath of "humanitarian" crusaders within a huge labyrinth of these business offices.
To wonder aloud why this business exists and if there's a business model for the activity makes the person asking the question insensitive or worse.
If citizens want answers to this activity, look no further than the time-tested phrase, "follow the money."
Get rid of the leaf blowers
Certainly, we should ban gas leaf blowers. What they spew is awful, and they're dreadfully noisy.
But also consider what they're stirring up and blowing around. Particles of what you put on your lawn and garden — fertilizer, weed killer, bark dust — and particles of what animals put on your lawn and garden.
Do you really want to breathe that stuff, or force your landscaper and neighbors to breathe it?
It's time for Medicare for all
There's nothing ambiguous about the Medicare-for-all legislation that is proposed in Rep. Keith Ellison's HR 676 and its companion, Sen. Bernie Sanders' S. 1804. Both would create a single-payer health care system, and both share clear principles.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer is an original sponsor of HR 676, Sen. Jeff Merkley is a co-sponsor of S. 1804, but Sen. Ron Wyden has yet to support the Senate bill.
Democratic Socialists of America have five demands for Medicare for all.
1. There should be a single, federal program.
2. Coverage should be comprehensive.
The program will provide comprehensive coverage that exceeds the services currently covered by Medicare. Dental, vision and mental care will be covered, as will in-patient care, outpatient care, primary care, preventative care, palliative care, ambulatory care, emergency care, maternal care and newborn care.
3. Health care should be free at the point of use.
Everything covered under Medicare for all will be provided without cost, meaning no fees, no co-pays and no deductibles.
4. The program would be universal.
Medicare for all will cover all U.S. American residents, regardless of income, age, employment, medical history or immigration status.
5. It would provide a just transition for workers currently employed by the private insurance industry.
More health care providers will be needed, and health care professionals currently working for insurance companies can find work in the field. But a training and placement program is absolutely necessary to protect the incomes of insurance and administrative workers for whom the transition proves more challenging.