Bush Solves the Homeless Problem

At least makes a good start. Dramatic drop offs in homelessness reflected in street counts taken over the past year has ranged from 30% in Miami and 28 % in Dallas to 20 % in Portland, and 13% in New York. Thirty jurisdictions reported declines in their homeless populations, including the 28% drop in San Francisco and a 4 percent drop reported this week in Denver. What is happening?

In the mid-1980s big American cities were full of homeless people and we heard a lot from and about them. Nobody could agree why. Conservatives blamed misguided policies that put mentally unstable people on the streets to fend for themselves. For them the Billy Boggs incident said it all. Liberals blamed Reagan's policies. Right leaning cynics thought it was politics and the issue (if the homeless) would disappear the day a Democrat became president.

The cynics were right about the salience of the issue. On January 20, 1993 the national media more or less forgot about the homeless. But the problem remained. General economic growth helped, but the chromatically homeless had a different set of troubles. With the election of George Bush, you would expect the media to pay more attention to the issue of homelessness and the softening economy beginning just before he took office should have ensured homelessness a return to the front pages, but it has not. Why?

When all the politics, showboating and recriminations are boiled away, it turns out that the biggest factor in chronic homelessness was simple lack of homes. Much of the housing used by sorts of people who became homeless just disappeared in the 1980s & 1990s. Some of it was gentrified. A lot was legislated out of existence. The kinds of cheap flop houses you saw if you watched "Blues Brothers" or old episodes of "Twilight Zone" could not pass improving safety, health and accessibility requirements. There are many reasons but no matter why it was gone.

The way to solve this problem was not build shelters, which tend to concentrate the homeless problem in a way that gratified activists, but never solved the problem. Shelters are necessary for emergencies, but the problem is best addressed by decentralized housing incentives.

A plan to end chronic homelessness was a bipartisan effort. The National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH), a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. outlined a plan to end homelessness. HUD Secretary Mel Martinez endorsed the idea in 2001, but nothing much came of it until President Bush took up the task in 2003.

It seems to be working. Numbers of homeless are dropping more precipitously than they have at any time since the 1980s. (I quoted figures and linked above.).

The improving economy over the past year and the drop in unemployment would not account for these great numbers.

Why isn't this bigger news? Some of it has to do with dominant paradigms. I wrote about bias recently, but here I am not talking about political bias. MSM just does not have a template where Bush is solving the perennial problem of homelessness. Another explanation is the homeless community. I am not talking about the actual homeless, but rather the various support staff and activists. Many of them would be unenthusiastic about the success that doesn’t fit any of their preferred solutions.

But let's not let our limited points of view prevent us from celebrating a true success. Just like NAFTA, welfare reform and a balanced budget in the1990s, success has many fathers. Let's not ignore the achievement just because George Bush delivered the baby.

BTW - do look at the sources and Google your own. My explanations alone do not supply all the details you need to understand the issue.

Posted by Jack at July 2, 2006 11:16 PM
Comment #164390

Jack, I am skeptical. Is federal funding for the project tied to homelessness number reductions? If so, that would explain the evaporation of the number of homeless.

Decentralized social strata housing would not explain it. Reason, such housing still costs money. And drug addicts, the mentally ill, and unskilled still can’t afford such housing. Especially given the inflation of housing prices even for the most modest of properties.

Be skeptical on these numbers. I have railed about this issue since college when as a psychology major we learned of the wonder drugs for psychiatric illness and how they were at the root of the growing homelessness in America due to the simple fact that schizophrenics don’t track time to the pill taking very well, if at all.

I want to believe that the numbers are dropping radically and not through mortal attrition. But, federal programs sponsored by political aims all too often end up being money well spent on hiding the problem from view, instead of the far more difficult results of actually solving the issue.

School grades are rising. Is it because students are learning better and more? Or is it because federal funding depends on better measures and hence, the measurment system is being doctored to produce the results required for funding? Give you a clue. SAT scores are dropping while grades are rising. That is a big clue as to what is happening.

Be very skeptical on these numbers. For if true progress is being made on homelessness, there would have to commensurate progress on vocational training and jobs for the homeless along with programs to clean them up, job interviewing training, and appearance management, etc. I haven’t heard of such commensurate growth in such programs and results which logically have to increase lock step with decreased homelessness.

And are Katrina Homeless persons now finding permanent housing being used to shore up these numbers? There are many pitfalls to this claim. I will need to do more research on this topic.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 2, 2006 11:37 PM
Comment #164391


The G is helping fund the housing. I am not talking about a decentralization w/o backing. Take a look at the articles. It seems Bush recognizes the need for a pump priming and others have seen that the Feds cannot supply all the flow.

Posted by: Jack at July 2, 2006 11:42 PM
Comment #164393

If the Fed is helping fund the housing but, not getting them jobs with vocational training and job interview training etc, does this not amount to a Democratic welfare program?

I will research the topic. Thanks.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 2, 2006 11:46 PM
Comment #164396

Agreat game is being played here benefitting everyone but the homeless. The governmnet wants to record that the number is decreasing and the homeless are finding housing. The providers want to keep their money. Solution, put the homeless in housing for a few months, but deny them the support they need to stay there and never deal with the underlying problem. Result, everybody wins, but the homeless. The government gets to claim a reduction, the agencies can point to the number of people housed, and folks like you can celebrte the false numbers!

Posted by: Hosea at July 2, 2006 11:54 PM
Comment #164402
On January 20, 1993 the national media more or less forgot about the homeless. But the problem remained.

Not quite true. Due to Clinton’s diligence in balancing the budget, millions of people were lifted out of poverty every year during the ’90s — a rising tide floats all boats. Unfortunately, since 2002, the trend reversed and now millions of middle class Americans are falling into poverty every year.

As for the program, focusing on getting the “hard core” homeless off the street is a common sense approach. I’m glad to see Bush is backing America’s State and local leaders in their endeavor. Think how much better the situation would be if the programs were adequately funded.

I know that many of my fellow lefties are going to knee-jerk criticise this article, but I’d like them to keep in mind that most of the cities cited in the article are Democratic cities.

Posted by: American Pundit at July 3, 2006 12:19 AM
Comment #164406

Hate to say it, but many of the so-called “homeless” that I see in Seattle are simply here to take advantage of the free medical care, free food, free money without actually working for it and the free shelter being offered locally. As usual, my well-meaning leftist brethren refuse to understand that hand outs do not equal hand-ups. Many people, particularly the drug-addicted, are more than happy with the way things are and will not act to lift themselves out of poverty. Why should they? Not when making YOU feel guilty for not caring enough is working so well for them. Komo 4 (local tv affiliate) did an expose where it was discovered that many of our local panhandlers (its a real problem here) were actually making nearly as much money from begging and wheedling passerby as an honest person makes at their job, and sometimes a good deal more. All of it tax free, by the way. And these same people, making a good deal of money panhandling, were also enjoying a ride on the food stamp-welfare-social security- gravy train. What do they spend the money on? Usually prostitutes, booze, and drugs.
Easy money, baby.
Sure, there are those unfortunates that TRULY need your help…but how will you know who they are when the cow-birds of society are blocking your view?

Posted by: HardHatHarry at July 3, 2006 12:56 AM
Comment #164407

HHH there are con-artists in all walks of life.
The homeless are largely people with serious mental health or substance abuse problems. Care must be taken however, in evaluating whether they choose simply to live a lifestyle that society may not accept.
Value judgments, like the ones based on what I am sure are years of research and involvement with the issue that you have made are not always useful.

Sometime’s people simply drive by, shout “get a job”, and feel sastified that they have established their moral and economic superiority.

Women with children occupy a large percentage of homeless shelters. I wonder how they would react to your response here.

Posted by: gergle at July 3, 2006 1:20 AM
Comment #164420


Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I was not aware of GWB’s 10 year-plan to end homelessness. I applaud the plan and give Bush credit for what appears a sincere effort.

But as I read the links you provided doesn’t this plan go against conservative principles of the role of government is only security not social programs? The program costs $1.3 billion dollars and requires the governmrnt to execute the program. Isn’t this just a revamped big spending, inefficent and wasteful democratic entitlement program?

If a democratic president did this wouldn’t you be crying another “Big spending Liberal” ?

Posted by: Jerseyguy at July 3, 2006 5:02 AM
Comment #164423

I don’t see a causal link here yet. Until we can see some information about how the drop in homeless figures is connected to the program, in the form of a study, to assume that Bush is responsible for this is fallacious logic. Just because it happened after Bushes initiative, or with it, doesn’t make it the motivating force.

Maybe you’re right. But as yet this is unproven.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 3, 2006 7:36 AM
Comment #164440

once again with the generalizations
There were some decent responses, no knee-jerk partisen bickering,….. until
“As usual, my well-meaning leftist brethren refuse to understand that hand outs do not equal hand-ups”

Where the heck did that come from??
There hadn’t been ONE mention of supporting welfare, in fact — the discussion had to do with supporting programs that involve training, getting jobs, etc — all the sorts of things that go with the principle of “teaching to fish, rather than giving a fish”

Also, remember it was during Bill Clinton’s administration(owwwww, the Anti-C to the right wing, oh man no one over there will give him credit, but….) that the program to get people off of welfare was passed, and seems to have been successful (does anybody have any info on THAT??)

But, in spite of that, we see the knee-jerk “liberals are for hand-outs” BS —

All politicians will move toward the simple approach for complex problems (answer to the homeless A) “Get a Job” B) Build them homes or C) Ignore it until it blows over, once the press forgets it, the American people will too

I live in the Seattle/Tacoma area as well — and I see the pan-handlers (cardboard signs, etc) and know that many of them are scamming — unfortunately there MAY be some legitimate ones, but because of the scammers, much (if any) of any compassion is lost — the bad apples have spoiled the barrel.
There are some societies where beggar’s are accepted, some people are relegated to that position in life — but we have not gone that path (nor should we)

My wife works in a non-profit, compassionate hospital (religiously based) which treats anybody regardless of ability to pay — it is difficult for her because she sees many of the homeless —drug addicts, loafers, losers — and they come back time and again.
On the one hand it is frustrating that they are getting a “free ride” at our expense, — and it does contribute to our burgeoning health care costs — but I’ll tell you — you wouldn’t want their life for anything
Many are in the hospital because their life choices have ravaged their bodies — infections that won’t heal that lead to amputations, long stays in the hospital — a life on the streets — they are definately PAYING for their choices — and altho they may be getting “handouts” it is no easy life and they are not on “easy street” by any means.
(by the way — the indigent’s impact on the health care system would be GREATLY reduced if there were SOME system to aid them BEFORE they became critically ill — or some system other than the Emergency Room (the most expensive care)
but nooooooo that would be a handout!!! and THAT MUST MEAN “SOCIALIZED MEDICINE” — and YOU wouldn’t dream of supporting THAT COMMIE PINKO LEFTY HANDOUT DOO-GOODER WAY OF SOLVING THINGS.
HELLLLLLOOOOO — Pay me now, or pay me later
Feel better??
Just because you sweep it under the rug, doesn’t mean it has gone away.
Homeless have new homes — problem solved, we can all feel better now — Yea!!! let’s go kill some more Iraqi’s over there so we don’t have them stealing our jobs over here.

Posted by: Russ at July 3, 2006 9:51 AM
Comment #164450

Why isn’t this bigger news?

My guess is that a 20% drop over the course of a year is not tht big a drop. For all I know it fits into the normal variance. Also, there are other things that are taking center stage in the news, like Bush’s claim that the New York times is a treasoness paper. If he wanted to call attention to this great news, he could. So I guess the question for you would be “Why isn’t Bush calling attention to his stupendous triumph?” And I would answer, he probably, A: Doesn’t think this is a big deal, and B: Realizes it was mostly a bi-partisan effort that he didn’t do much to initiate, just carry out.

I’ve really had enough of these posts where someone calls out some miniscule thing that is going right in the nation and suggests there is a gigantic media cabal organized to keep Americans in the dark about it. For instance, that CO2 levels have decreased in the last year. Maybe, but why are our CO2 emissions still by far the worst in the world, far behind China? Celebrating any of the things you mention in these posts would be like celebrating your kid bringing home a report cart with a C or even a D. I guess my expectations for this president simply aren’t as rock-bottom low as most conservatives.

I’ve never liked the media cabal theory. I don’t like when the Muslims trot it out to explain the West’s support of Israel. I don’t like that Hitler, Stalin, Sadaam used it. You’re in extraordinarily bad company. Finally, I don’t like when my people from own party, like Chomsky, use the argument. It makes us look bad.

Chomsky believes all media is beholden to big business. Chomsky argues that the US deserved 9/11, because Clinton’s bombing of a medicine factory in Sudan was as devastating to their economy as 9/11 was to ours. Refuting well-known journalists, Chomsky uses the accounts of random tourists, wandering church workers, and articles in little known leftist magazines. Despite his articles not being published by any respectable journal, his books become best sellers.

However, Chomsky is just one person, a crank, whereas most Republicans these days seem to believe in a media cabal. Personally I think it’s scary, and dishonest, and I wish the Republicans would quit it. This trend of refuting science, facts, international law, and claiming it’s all a giant coverup organized to trick Republicans, is delusional, fascistic, and unAmerican.

Posted by: Jack at July 3, 2006 10:47 AM
Comment #164454

The easiest way to get rid of homeless people starts in their childhood. Tell them to stay in school and at least get their diploma. If they want to secure middle class status: COLLEGE. Let’s also get rid of welfare, and social security. The govt should only take 10% out of a paycheck to everyone in every class. Taxing the wealthy more than the impoverned is communism. Most of the rich have worked hard and sacrificed much to be upper class. By giving the people 90% of their paycheck, they will have more money to save for retirement and when they use the money to buy goods, the money will eventually go back to the govt.


America does not kill in cold blood. It is not our policy. We only attack when attacked. For example, when the Israelis got a new PM, Hamas and the Palestinians demanded that we stop supporting Israel. Bush said no. Hamas said they would strike us hard from inside our country. Bush said that if that happened he would send the air force to bomb Palestine. That would be the shortest war in history: 7 minutes long. The Palestinians have been quiet. Bush hasn’t sent the planes out yet because Palestinian terrorists haven’t hit us yet.
See? Retaliation.

Posted by: stubborn conservative at July 3, 2006 10:59 AM
Comment #164464

I’m happy to see that facts never get in the way on this site.

Posted by: nutty little nut nut at July 3, 2006 11:36 AM
Comment #164467


If this is true, this is quite a blow to conservative ideology. The conservative “sink or swim” approach didn’t work. Federal intervention did.

Someone asked why Bush isn’t taking credit for this. Easy — it wouldn’t get him any brownie points with his conservative base. Politically, he would probably come out ahead by building detention centers for undocumented workers instead of housing for homeless.

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 3, 2006 11:49 AM
Comment #164469
Hate to say it, but many of the so-called “homeless” that I see in Seattle are simply here to take advantage of the free medical care, free food, free money without actually working for it and the free shelter being offered locally. As usual, my well-meaning leftist brethren refuse to understand that hand outs do not equal hand-ups.

I think this comment pretty well illustrates my point. Bush is (apparently) succeeding by acting like a liberal, helping provide housing for those lazy homeless people.

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 3, 2006 11:54 AM
Comment #164470

It’s obvious that the libs are furious. They can’t stand it that a Republican did something in three years that their side couldn’t do at all in eight.

It’s working. Bush wins!

Posted by: Don at July 3, 2006 12:06 PM
Comment #164483


I know this is a little bit off subject, but it does address the homeless issue.

There are many thousands of americans that are being forced into homelessness by our government. Hard working people that have paid taxes their whole lives and obeyed the laws of our nation are being forced to sell everything they own just to survive.

The Social Security Administration systematically denies almost every claim for disability benefits. The appeal process can take in excess of 3 years. Imagine yourself in the situation where illness or an accident prevents you from working. You lose your income and health insurance. You exhaust all your savings trying to make your mortgage payments, keep the utilities on and buy your medicines. The lawyer you hired to help you with this gets 25 percent when you finally receive your benefits and the longer it takes the more he / she makes.

Our government currently operates on a “wait and see if they die first” policy. There are not many americans in our “everything on credit world” that could survive one year without help let alone three years. Meanwhile our beloved elected officials talk about giving SS benefits to illegal immigrants.

No-one deserves any credit for housing the homeless when the same group is throwing tax paying citizens out into the street.

Posted by: jwl at July 3, 2006 12:43 PM
Comment #164484

Could it be that the homeless numbers were inflated in the 80s and are being deflated now?
It wouldn’t surprise me none.
Really I’m surprised at how quickly the press dropped the ‘homeless issue’ when Clinton became President and that they didn’t take it up again when Bush became President.
Went to Orlando over the weekend. What a rat race. Anyway, if you want to find the homeless go there or another town that has a big tourist attraction. They all must’ve gone to them places to bum the tourist. We couldn’t move without someone asking for money.
I also have to wounder how many of the ‘homeless’ then and now are really homeless. There used to be a guy that stood at one of the exit ramps for business 80 out in Sacramento with a sign saying he was homeless. They guy had an apartment in my brother-in-law’s building downtown. Don’t know what happened to him.
I’ve been told about other folks that did the samething. But I’ll bet none of the activist or the media ever checked it out.

Posted by: Ron Brown at July 3, 2006 12:45 PM
Comment #164486

A very good friend of mine runs a homeless shelter in NC, and he says the numbers are down over the past few years, but it has been attributable to regular statistical variances and one notable occurence: the aging of the Vietnam veterans. America saw a huge bump in homelessness post-Vietnam, and a lot of that was vets who were coming back addicted to drugs, unemployable and mentally and emotionally scarred. It sounds cold, but as these vets die off, there is going to be a huge drop in homelessness because they aren’t being replaced.

For those who hate “Liberal Handouts”, I point to the great FDR:

“The test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough to those who have little.”

Posted by: David S at July 3, 2006 12:55 PM
Comment #164487


Amen brother!

Posted by: 1LT B at July 3, 2006 1:01 PM
Comment #164503

“Bush solves the homeless problem!!”

AL GORE WALKS ON WATER!!!!! (Film at eleven.)

Posted by: Tim Crow at July 3, 2006 1:53 PM
Comment #164548

I feel terrible!
I simply don’t believe that the homeless population has dropped because of plans implemented by George W. Bush.
That’s a terrible way to be and I realize it!
However. If it’s true the FOX news media should be all over it. Why not?

Posted by: john at July 3, 2006 5:44 PM
Comment #164569


As usual you are looking too superficially.




…are a couple of articles talking abou this phoenomenon. I saw spending cuts result in a drop in the homeless roles recently which has resulted in less reporting…not less homelessness.

You just gotta dig deeper, Jack. Otherwise, you don’t even SEE the problem…much less adress it it, or heaven forbid, SOLVE it!

Posted by: RGF at July 3, 2006 7:42 PM
Comment #164581


Pardon the gallows humor, but I never thought it would be that easy.

Humor aside, your numbers just don’t make sense. There are probably around 600,000 homeless in the U.S. Activists claim as many as 3.5 million. Think of the number of deaths ABOVE AND BEYOND the normal rate to reduce this by 30%. We would have between 180,000 to more than a million ADDITIONAL bodies piling up. It would create a significant health hazard. You would probably notice and not have to read about it.

The 157 they mention in SF would not tip this balance. The annual death rate in the U.S. is 8.3 per 1000. According to your article, you could classify up to 16000 people in SF as homeless (that is a high number that I don’t believe, but using their data). That means in a normal population you would expect to lose 133 people a year. I would not be surprised if the homeless were less healthy than the general population, given the high incidence of substance abuse and general poverty, so I would be willing to accept their figure of about 24 more deaths than for a normal population. But we still would have to account for the other hundreds of thousands.

Posted by: Jack at July 3, 2006 8:24 PM
Comment #164583


This is the first thing I have written today. There is another Jack posting. He seems to be making decent comments, but looks a little more liberal than I am.

Posted by: Jack at July 3, 2006 8:25 PM
Comment #164590


“…but looks a little more liberal than I am.”

Eeeeeewww. Someone almost smeared Jack with liberal cooties. :)

Relax Jack - I think everyone on this blog understands that you are THE uber conservative and would never leave such a comment. Note that no one responded to the other Jack’s comment therefore, no one thought he was you.

Posted by: JennyW at July 3, 2006 8:59 PM
Comment #164592



It is not the whole story.

However, I have been witness to homeless shelters where I have volunteered time that are now REPORTING fewer homeless as a result of a deminished capacity to render aid. The result is that fewer numbers get tallied…but that has no relation to REALITY.

Truth is, we are talking about numbers that cannot easily be ‘statistic-ized’ if you will. The nature of this beast does not lend itself to easy tabulation.

Posted by: RGF at July 3, 2006 9:08 PM
Comment #164633

Tim Crow wrote that there was film at eleven. I saw the film. Gore didn’t walk on water.

Posted by: Don at July 3, 2006 11:40 PM
Comment #164638

Tim Crow, Don,

I can only assume you are referring to the new Gore movie. I just saw it. I think it more appropriate to point out that we will ALL need to find a way to walk on water if the current trends continue.
…or at least we’ll need to move to higher ground.

I recall a shot taken at Gore several blog article’s ago…it was was a snipe at a *percieved* inaccuracy about Gore’s farm background. Having seen the movie now, I can say: What the hell was that all about? He only claimed to have worked on his family’s farm for four months out of the year. If that is all that person saw that was cause for thought in the movie, then that is a prime example of the intellectual dishonesty and culture of obfuscation that exists among the neo-con right that I have been pointing out and railing against for several blogs now. I began with the last comment I made on “Bush can’t do nothing right.” …also one of Jack’s, I believe. But, there are examples of this all over the place and not just in this blog.

Posted by: RGF at July 4, 2006 12:11 AM
Comment #164646

You must be kidding about conservatives being upset with misguided policies that put the mentally unstable onto the streets. I was around and old enough to remember being disgusted with Ronald Regan and republicans denying funding to help operate mental health centers and they were closed tossing thousands of the mentally unstable on to the streets. Somewhere along the line you have become confused or someone has told you some whoppers about the history of where homelessness originated. And not to let liberaals off the hook, many of them were pleased with putting the mentally unstable out of the institutions allowing them to enjoy the full rights and citizenship of America. Both sides are full of it on this one.

Turning to Bush fixing homelessness, I sincerely doubt that is what has happened. On the contrary, I think Bush as with his election and successful numbers in no-child left behind has been cooking the books again.

Posted by: Joe at July 4, 2006 12:34 AM
Comment #164648


I never heard of anyone, liberal or otherwise who was pleased by Reagan turning out the metal institutions in the 80’s. That sounds utterly fabricated.

Posted by: RGF at July 4, 2006 12:48 AM
Comment #164653

Of course he did. He killed off some by cutting funding and now there’s less. Brilliant, really.

Posted by: IL at July 4, 2006 1:05 AM
Comment #164662

Russ, I respect your empathy towards the situation, but if you think that a lot of these folks will do ANYTHING to care for themselves, wether paid for or not then you are dreaming. My wife has worked with the mentally ill in state run physciatric facilities where most of the folks are homeless and unwanted even when they have family available to pay and care for them. The minute many of these poor souls hit the street, they toss their medicine, stop eating, start turning tricks and wander off looking for crack. The only way that you are going to assist these people is to keep them locked down and force their meds upon them, force them to bathe, restrain them from ingesting foriegn objects, etc. You are never going to seperate down on luckers from bad choice makers as long as the lawyers are involved. No way. If these folks are not constantly monitered all the social medicine in the world isn’t going to end the problem.

Posted by: scolex at July 4, 2006 2:10 AM
Comment #164690

The paranoia about lawyers MUST stop. It is false and incredible destructive. I blogged on this before. Do I need to go over it again? I get tired of re-hasjng thesame stuff over and over only to continue to be ignored.

In this context, I can see the issue is the lawyers who have pushed for procedures and laws respecting and recognizing the rights of the disabled. It stuns me that ANYONE would advocate for taking action on behalf of the disabled that would so fail to recognize their humanity as to imagine that advocating for legal recognition on their behalf would somehow be an unwieldt obstacle to helping them…

What form of helping them would be hindered by such legal work? Putting them into ovens?

Posted by: RGF at July 4, 2006 9:25 AM
Comment #164758


How does the following article fit in?

“Across America on any given evening, hundreds of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan like Noel are homeless, according to government estimates.”


I know, it’s probably just Liberal MSM bias.


Posted by: KansasDem at July 4, 2006 2:03 PM
Comment #164822

One in Three GI’s coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering post traumatic syndrome. Only on rare occasions has our military top brass and Executive Branch given the GI’s the resources required to effectively treat these soldiers back to productive lives again.

It is a long process to heal them, taking anywhere from several months of intensive counseling and training to many years for a great many. Providing that treatment without stigmatizing them or branding them is the hurdle our government rarely clears. Congressional funding and presidential budgets for this kind of medical care almost always gets reassigned and redirected during and after wartime. I hope this does not happen again.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 4, 2006 9:35 PM
Comment #164833

RGF, I’m not making paranoid statements about lawyers. I’m calling it like it is. Spend a month working or residing in these facilities and hospitals. Many no longer allow restraints of any kind for any reason. Why? Lawyers. now, that sounds perfectly humane, doesn’t it? LOOK a little deeper. Nurses assaulted, little or no recourse. Same with doctors although they tend to be slightly better protected. And worst of all, nobody can protect the other patients. You put five nurses and orderlies on a floor with up to thirty five patients ranging in mental capacity from two year olds, manic depressives, scitzophrenics, physcotics, sociopaths, drug/alcohol addicts, post traumatic stress disorder, a huge variety of personality disorders and then your regular lodgers who are just there for three hots and a cot. Scenario: one of your personality disordered patients starts aggitating some of the other patients. This is very commen as these folks seek attention, posotive or negative. Now, personality disorder is not a recognized mental illness(see the DSM) but the lawyers feel that it should be.(law degree equals medical degree) In days gone by, you would put these people in isolation(their room, bed and facilities available, monitered on a regular basis)with their door locked. If there is was even a whiff of danger to oneself, that isolation would be one on one. Today, however, the lawyers have decded that this is an egregious violation of their human rights, so isolation is now only for the most violent cases, and it is mandated one on one.(remeber staff/patient ratio) Now the personality disordered patient has succeeded in causing a schitzophrenic patient to go off. He/she lashes out physically at anyone within reach, staff or patient. Someone is being pummeled bloody and the staff tries to control the situation, but two one hundered forty pound nurses cannot control a raging two hundered fifty pound man while the p.d. and the regular lodgers egg him on. Finally, some of the patients assist. Now you have to litteraly sit on the man until he calms down enough to give him a sedative. In the meantime you have two injured patients, one nurse with a seperated shoulder and another with a broken nose and concussion.Even after this situation started, you well may have been able to control the patient with the use of restraints. No, can’t use restraints. It seems the lawyers object to the use of restraints or, for that matter, any use of force other than physically restraining the patient.(law degree equals background in security, crowd control and self defense) Now you have two nurses along with two patients in the hospital, one nurse on one to one supervision and two nurses left to monitor thirty three patients. Remember, the personality disorder patient is still free to create havoc. The local police now bring in a hold prisoner because the lawyers say that you cannot put him in a cell while awaiting a ride to the state mental lockdown which is two hours away. Now, along with everything else, you have to let a man who burned his two year old daughter to death wander around with everyone else because you have no help watching him in isolation one on one. (remember the lawyers?) You are always short staffed and cannot find more nurses because there is no money to hire any more, and fully half of your staff is incompetent but that is the best you can do. BUT, there is always enough money to pay the lawyers.
This is a was a real situation that occured in a state hospital and , I will add, not the exception to the rule. While I don’t blame the lawyers for the states, or for that matter the feds and societies low brow approach to mental health, I do blame them for being opportunistic blood suckers in many cases involving mental health. My god, I saw a program the other night that had come up with a brand new mental disorder, one that causes people to wake up one day and speak with a foriegn accent! I suppose some lawyer will sue some hospital somewhere and force them to take these poor unfortunates in.
Lawyers perform a much needed task in this society and they protect many people from gross injustice. The problem is that there are too many and our learning institutes crank out enough for half the world every year so creativity must become part of the job description in order for them to “make a living”, and a very good one they make at that.

Posted by: scolex at July 4, 2006 10:54 PM
Comment #164836

David, I totally agree with you but would lump the greater part of society in with these poloticians as well.

Posted by: sclex at July 4, 2006 10:56 PM
Comment #164841

At the time Regan was cutting mental institution funding there were cases going on concurrently by various liberal groups to allow people in mental institutions to assert their rights in living free and independent rights. I would say this is fabricated but I did sit with a counselor in 1981 for my developmentally disabled brother who told me because of these cases that he could make his own decisions on his life. Neither my mother or I could have any input into the decisions he was making for himself. That hasn’t worked out so well for him but hey what the heck.

Posted by: Joe at July 4, 2006 11:16 PM
Comment #164861

David R. Remer,

You’re one of the few that “gets it”.

Sometimes people aren’t capable of functioning in society after severe psychological trauma. Some people sit around with their dogs all day and wait until it’s dark to walk the dogs. Some can’t even walk into a bank to cash a check. Thank goodness Wal-Mart is open 24/7 so they can get in there when hardly anyone is around.

And, once you’re that screwed up it’s pure hell to rejoin society. I’ve known people that were that messed up. People that we once looked up to. But, as a society, we have two ways to go: (1)Use you up and spit you out, or (2)Continue to support you for the good you did.

I’d rather be a part of the second proposition.


Posted by: KansasDem at July 5, 2006 12:54 AM
Comment #164862

“That hasn’t worked out so well for him but hey what the heck.”


I saw a lot of the effect Reagan’s policies had on the mentally ill and I have one word for it: SHAMEFUL! “What the heck” is crap for an excuse. No American should ever be reduced to “rubbish” so the rest of society can prosper.

We’re now looking at Reaganomics chapter 3. The trickle in the “trickle-down” is damn near down to a drip. Keep a GOP controlled congress for another 2 years and it’ll dry up all together. Then you’ll see what “ownership society” really means.


Posted by: KansasDem at July 5, 2006 1:08 AM
Comment #164881

“In August 2005, the Salvation Army reported it had turned away 128 men, 60 women and 26 families since the beginning of 2005 due to lack of space at its East Main Street shelter.” Perhaps the reduction in the number of homeless is some areas is that they are moving to other ones. What I see on the streets is more people losing homes. Restructured/downsized/outsourced out of jobs. Many homeless are College Educated, attorney’s wind up on the streets, as well as former business owners. It is reported that there are already 400 Iraqi war vets on the streets. Good idea to start in childhood: stopping child abuse abd insest are good starts. Heavily fining companies that hire illegal immigrants (that save the companies tax dollars) is another thing that might make it possible for homeless to earn a decent wage. Banning ads for alcohol that make drinking look glamourous, might help alleviate children getting hooked on it; but I’m told alcoholism is genetically caused. Many people who panhandle aren’t homeless.

Posted by: mary at July 5, 2006 6:50 AM
Comment #164922

Kansas Dem
That was my feeble attempt at sarcasm. What Regan did to the mentally ill was unconscionable. There is absolutely no excuse for a nation as wealthy as ours to treat its least fortunate citizens as cast offs and send them out to the streets.
Now I am starting to see reports that a new homeless issue is starting to arise from Iraqi war veterans. How dispicable is this behavior, cutting benefits to those who give there lives, limbs and mental stability for our defense. Yet some reports are pegging about 200,000 homeless to Iraqi war veterans.

Posted by: Joe at July 5, 2006 11:31 AM
Comment #164979


I just gotta question what you are suggesting about your experience with your brother. The law does not work that way. It sounds unlikely to say the least that your perception reveals anything about ‘Lawyers’ or law in this situation. There is another part to the tale.

Posted by: RGF at July 5, 2006 3:30 PM
Comment #164990


The tone of your tale contains much room for inexactitude. You yourself say things like “I suppose lawyers…” and make the usual accusations about lawyers being motivated by greed. It silly and false. The typical contingency fee case takes years to bring in and the lawyer must stick his neck waaaay out on the line in the form of letters of credit to seek medical help. Why doesn’t the insurence cover it? Because, it is those who have injured through no fault of their own and have no or insufficient coverage who must get contingency fee representation in the first place…otherwise the insurence carrier hires a lawyer who negotiates a business-minded solution and doesn’t even argue the case! The letter of protection subjects the lawyer to liability on the medical debt if the case doesn’t cover it.

I know several lawyers who are no longer doing personnal injury cases because the current legal climate has turned so against them they are no longer able to make a living. Yup. It’s true. I met a lawyer in Dallas who was working in the SMU law library where I went to do a little research. He had seen over 150 cases of legitimately injured clients get STUNG financially on top of their injuries…all because of the legal paranoia that predominates in places like Dallas. He gave it all up to go back to his first love: music. His story is real and I have heard similar ones all over the country, scolex.

TX just passed a law limiting punitive damages to $250,000 dollars. It was advocated for by a doctor who was successfully sued 16 times for MAL-PRACTICE for things as egregious as leaving sponges in patients. Not enough? consider: The hard cap on damages creates a barrier beyond which cases no longer make sense - let me explain - The more the legitimate damages, the more likely it is that a case will have the result of bringing the plaintiff into financial ruin EVEN AFTER WINNING! The more frivolous the suit, the less is ACTUALLY expended on REAL medical debt and the more profitable $250,000 looks! The law passed largely because there are now a lot more doctors than lawyers on the TX state legislature.

You make the absurd claim that our law schools are continually making the problem worse. I would like to point out that fewer than 30% of law-school grads practice law. I would also like to point out that the Hopwood case a few years ago that was about ethinicity bias in law school admissions had the result of causing several law schools to simply reduce the number of students admitted. Further, bar passage rates have been dropping all over the country. While all this is going on, new attorneys are flocking to the cities to compete against each other, leaving perfectly good paying, stable posotions open and available in more rural areas. That means we have TOO FEW attorneys, not too many.

On top of all this, we have a general public who thinks as you do. We have blind lawyer-paranoia that is underming the very fabric of our nation and we have an administration that doesn’t GIVE A DAMN about law. Regardless of lawyers, WE DESPARATELY NEED MORE PEOPLE TO STUDY LAW. I think first year law should tought in all colleges. I think a much improved civis and legal history of the U.S. needs to be tought in high schools across this country.

You are wrong, Scolex and your post betrays the very kind of epidemic of misunder-standing and paranoia I was talking about in the first place.

Posted by: RGF at July 5, 2006 3:57 PM
Comment #164992


Just gotta add -

There has already been a case in TX that illustrates how the damages cap is working a great evil.

There was a kid about a year ago who got the wrong leg amputated. The result was ultimately the loss of both legs. The damages cap, medical expenses and expenses of the suit to get what was right - done. This resulted in a financial loss to both the kid and his attorney. The doctor is still practicing.

Don’t hurt your leg in TX.

Posted by: RGF at July 5, 2006 4:02 PM
Comment #164995

Would you like to go over how LEGITIMATE the now infamous McDonald’s hot coffee case was for Stella Liebeck? I managed to get multiple copies of the case itself.

I can tell you how she lost her financial ass as well, and never saw a penny of what the jury awarded her (rightly).

Posted by: RGF at July 5, 2006 4:05 PM
Comment #303239

Nothing good took place as a result of the eight year Bush Administration. The U.S. has become a police state that uses torture. Wars of aggression were launched that served no purpose,other than making oil and defense executives a whole lot richer. We have a trillion dollar deficit and a crumbling infrastructure. At the rate of illegal immigration from Mexico alone,they will be the majority. The number of people who are jobless,homeless and in abject poverty has exploded. In New York City alone,the homeless population has increased forty five per cent. If you want to give Bush some credit,go ahead and give Hitler some. He built the Autobahn.

Posted by: JR at July 8, 2010 6:16 PM
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