Poverty

Homeless man sleeping on a bench
Sofia, Bulgaria - November 4, 2014: Homeless man is sleeping on a bench in the center of Sofia. Years after joining the EU Bulgaria is still the poorest country in the union.

When “Compassion” is Contempt

The Washington legislature is one step closer to legalizing homeless encampments statewide. Last week, Democratic lawmakers passed through committee legislation, introduced by Representative Mia Gregerson, that would usurp the authority of city governments and legalize camping in all “plazas, courtyards, parking lots, sidewalks, public transportation facilities, public buildings, shopping centers, parks, [and] natural and wildlife areas” throughout the state. If passed, the bill, inspired in part by the work of Seattle University professor Sara Rankin, who claims to “advance the civil, constitutional, and human rights of visibly poor people” through “the repeal of laws that criminalize homelessness and poverty,” would represent the most significant extension of “survival crime” theory into American law. Survival-crime theory has been percolating through academic journals …

Go Grow Somewhere Else

Microsoft recently announced an unprecedented three-year, $500 million investment to spur housing development across the Puget Sound region. Since 2011, strong economic growth in the Seattle metro area has boosted overall jobs by 21 percent, but the housing stock has expanded only 13 percent, leading to a massive increase in rental and home prices. It’s a problem reaching crisis levels in all West Coast tech cities. Microsoft plans to devote half the investment—$250 million—to pay for market-rate loans to support low-income housing. Another $225 million will go to preservation and construction of middle-income housing in the cities surrounding the company’s Redmond campus, and $25 million will go toward addressing homelessness. Overall, Microsoft hopes to leverage these funds to create “tens …

Trump Calls for a Reform of Perverse Welfare System. Media (Mostly) Ignore It

On Tuesday, President Trump issued an executive order calling on secretaries in eight federal departments to work on reforming their bloated welfare bureaucracies. They are to spend the next month looking for ways to fix the programs under their charge, and report back. You can be forgiven if you didn’t hear about this. Insofar as the media covered it, they mostly painted Trump as a mean old rich guy who doesn’t care about the poor. Check out this “explainer” piece at Vox for one example. In truth, this move is Trump at his best. Reversing Obama But what can he do by way of executive order? Quite a lot as it turns out. President Obama spent his two terms gutting the Welfare Reform Act of Read More ›