Dennis Campbell
March 3, 2004
Are liberals all hat and no cattle?
By Dennis Campbell

There is an American custom called putting your money where your mouth is. If one is not willing to do so he is guilty, according to the citizens of the great state of Texas, of being "all hat and no cattle."

In light of that, here is a challenge to liberals: Put your money where your mouths are and show us your cattle by eliminating hunger and homelessness in America forever. You have the resources, if you but have the will.

Of course, we know liberals care more about the poor and downtrodden than do conservatives, because, well, because they continually tell us so.

Liberals loudly complain that President Bush's administration has put people out of work and onto the streets, that we face a near exponential increase in homelessness, and that the number of children going hungry increases daily.

The challenge to them is this: Rather than looking to our cumbersome and monumentally inefficient federal bureaucracy to use money confiscated from others to solve these problems, use the considerable assets of liberals to do it.

The math is simple. We start by assuming there are about 3 million homeless in America. Now, there are those who say this number is wildly exaggerated and that it really is less than 10% of that. But we will go with the larger number, especially since the number of homeless dramatically increases the day a Republican is inaugurated as President.

Here is how it can be done:

There are about 96 million registered Democrats in America. Let's assume half are too poor to contribute anything to anyone in fact, many most likely would be the primary beneficiaries of this campaign of compassion.

The remaining half would contribute $2 per day to our imaginary effort. The top 1% including the super-rich celebrities of Hollywood and such luminaries as Theresa Heinz Kerry would kick in an average of $12,500 per month, a paltry sum indeed for those known to drop $400,000 to rent a luxury yacht for a week, or high-roller gamblers like Larry Flynt who gamble away a couple of million in a night in Vegas.

Maybe the kindly and generous George Soros could be persuaded to momentarily interrupt his multi-million-dollar campaign to oust Mr. Bush and toss in a few hundred million dollars of his reported billions of personal wealth.

Our grand total of about $15 billion per month would exceed the monthly charitable giving of all individual Americans just over $13 billion. Clearly, a lot of good can be accomplished by this kind of bankroll, and even a liberal politician would have to admit it is "real money."

This money would be used by compassionate liberals to establish a Corporation for the Elimination of Poverty and Homelessness. If we allow a reasonable 40% to cover salaries, facilities, insurance, government regulations and other overhead, we are left with about $9 billion. With a fund this large, our liberal corporation could:

Construct 1.25 million homes annually, based on the average cost of a Habitat for Humanity home of a bit under $50,000.

House all 3 million homeless every night at hotels and motels, allocating an average of $165 per night for a family of four.

Provide 6 million meals per day, based on the cost by private rescue missions of about $2 for a meal.

Give $400 per month to 6 million working-poor families for food, rent/mortgage payments, etc.

Have $600 million left over to locate and identify the needy, and party hearty.

The result: The end of poverty and homelessness.

Of course, there is a big problem in all of this. It would not be done by the government, and if it is not done by the government, it is unacceptable to most liberals. They prefer the government, regardless if fewer are helped at a greater expense.

And there is this equally horrendous consideration: Raw materials, food, shelter and a variety of other goods and services would have to be purchased, which means someone would make a profit. Other than those liberals who are in business (yes, they do exist, as extraordinarily difficult as that may be to understand), most of those on the left are appalled by that evil known as the "profit motive." That dislike, of course, does not extend to their own paychecks.

So, in spite of the nobility of feeding, clothing and housing the poor, the hungry and the young, this is altogether a bad idea.

And it is fantasy, to be sure, but fun.

© Dennis Campbell


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)


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