“The Billion Dollar Homeless Scam”

That’s what Daniel Greenfield calls the billions of dollars spent on the homeless in major US cities.

New York City will be spending $2.06 billion on its Department of Homeless Services. There are 61,421 homeless people in the city which is spending $33,539 per homeless person.

That’s only a little short of the starting salary of an FDNY firefighter at $39,000.

More money will be spent on the homeless than on the firefighters who save New Yorkers from burning buildings. The FDNY will have to make do with $2.04 billion, and the health department with $1.6 billion.

That’s impressive for DHS, a department that was only created in 1993 by the disgraced Dinkins administration and is now burning through more cash than agencies fulfilling actual vital city functions.

Two years ago, DHS had over 2,600 employees. That’s 1 employee to every 23 homeless people. Meanwhile 234 New Yorkers get only 1 police officer to serve and protect them from criminals.

Has this vast infusion of cash solved homelessness in the city? Nope.

New York’s homeless population has kept on growing until it now has more homeless people than any other city. New York City’s homeless growth rate is also faster than that of any other city.

Maybe because it spends more than any other city. But Los Angeles is catching up.

Its $4.6 billion package of homeless tax increases are staggering. Los Angeles doubled its homeless budget to $450 million. Los Angeles County plans to spend $374 million. That’s 1 percent of a budget meant to service a population of over 10 million going to just 53,193 people.

As Los Angeles threw more money at the homeless problem, its homeless population increased 26%.

There’s more at the link.  It’s worth reading to realize just how much money is wasted in the US political and administrative system of government.

As Albert Einstein is disputably reputed to have said:

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

That perfectly describes what urban governments are doing to and in their homeless programs.  It recalls Jerry Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy:

Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people”:

First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.

Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.

All such programs are ultimately scams.  They exist more to employ those with sufficient influence to warrant “patronage jobs“, or whose appointment to such sinecures helps to build the empires of more senior patronage job-holders.  Their continued existence depends on manufacturing more and more work to keep those people occupied.  The actual achieving of concrete, worthwhile, desirable results is of secondary importance.

Yes, we should throw out all of them, and the politicians who created and continue to support such programs.  Will it happen?  Not while there are sufficient funds available to buy off the voters . . .



  1. Besides Pournelle's Iron Law there's the simple explanation from basic economics: you get more of the things you subsidize. That money being spent does dribble down to the street and provides things for the homeless. That encourages more homeless to migrate to the places that provide things for them.

    Ben Franklin is said, “I am for doing good to the poor, but…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. ”

    Now here's the advanced question: will New York's coming $15/hr minimum wage help or exacerbate the problem?

  2. Simple test for political ideas in this modern age;

    If a Republican politician had the idea, it's probably bad.

    If a Democrat politician had the idea it's DEFINITELY bad.

    If a Democrat Academic had the idea, it's certain to be an absolute catastrophe.

    There will not be enough exceptions to matter.

  3. Why do I think that probably 25 percent of that $2.06 billion goes to salaries and office space for those 2600 employees, and much of the rest to special projects designed more to reward campaign donors than to benefit the homeless?
    Actually solve the homeless problem? Has there ever been a bureaucrat who ever actually tried to eliminate their job, or even reduce its scope?

  4. Same thing that is being done in education. The bureaucracy expands exponentially while services either stagnate or decrease.

  5. "It's worth reading to realize just how much money is wasted in the US political and administrative system of government."

    South African Airways is ready when you are.

    Once again, all immigration has been bad for the US. We do not need guests in this nation criticizing anything about this nation. Go back home.

    1. All of my ancestors for 4 generations have been born here, as I was. I would reiterate everything Peter wrote and wholeheartedly endorse it, as would the vast majority of relatives. Stuff it, Chris.

  6. Ditto. Stuff it Chris. All our ancestors were immigrants at one point or another. Mine came on a boat called Mayflower. I also agree with everything Peter wrote.

  7. San Fran is doing it's part to spend money on the homeless. Poop Patrol is in the process of working up. Starting salary is $73k+ benefits.

  8. "…all immigration has been bad for the US"

    Well, Squanto, I can see how you'd be a little miffed. But if you guys had gotten your shit into one sock you wouldn't have been overrun by all those Irishmen and things.

  9. No matter the reason an organization is created it's primary function becomes to continue its own existence. Never has an organization declared " we have completed our mission and we are closing down"+

  10. What Larry, Hllbillygirl G, and stencil said, Chris Mallory. BTW, do you understand that life on this planet started in Africa and spread from there? Why don't you get a ticket on South African Airways?

    The analysis of the bureaucratic waste is spot on.

  11. Isn't it amazing how the "homeless" stay north where it gets cold every Winter?
    And isn't it amazing that for about, oh, 8 years there was almost zero news about homelessness.. but that changed about, what, 18 months ago or so? Again.

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