NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Perverse Compassion For The Homeless

April 10, 2002

It is easy to be homeless in San Francisco, due to generous benefits, including cash, given to street people. This is a perverse form of compassion, says Marvin Olasky, that turns caring into government support for self-destructive lifestyles.

  • San Francisco offers its thousands of single, homeless residents $320 to $390 per month, plus food, shelter, clothes and medicine.
  • That stipend, supplemented by panhandling, enables the homeless to stay in misery and -- according to National Public Radio -- helps to "preserve the city's reputation for compassion."
  • A proposal to cut the monthly stipend (often used for drugs and alcohol) to $50 is a "punitive approach," according to NPR.
  • San Francisco compassion means that 183 homeless people died on the streets in the year 2000; Olasky says "they are the victims of drugs, alcohol and what President Bush accurately calls the soft bigotry of low expectations."

San Francisco compassion today demands that anyone can choose any lifestyle he chooses, no matter how destructive, and have taxpayers pay for it.

Homeless individuals who want to change their lives and begin acting responsibly deserve support. Those who are psychotic and unable to change deserve help. And those who disable themselves do not need a road to further destruction paved with a few dollars, but true compassion.

Source: Marvin Olasky, "Bait and switch on homelessness," April 9, 2002,


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