Friday, August 19, 2005

Homeless Panhandler With a Home and a Job?

There's an article about Denver's homeless panhandlers, and how they don't make much money. I read the caption for the picture, but didn't think anything of it until my husband read it to me out loud and stressed two words, which I will highlight.
Robert Smith, 57, of Centennial, panhandles on the sidewalk at West Colfax Avenue and Speer Boulevard Thursday afternoon. Smith, who holds a sign asking for help paying a $479 fine for drunken driving, admits that he spends up to $5 a day on alcohol.

The picture has a caption in the paper, but none online.

The article describes Mr. Smith as being homeless. I'm wondering, does he stay at a shelter or with someone in Centennial and then commute downtown to panhandle like it's his job? He looks very clean and groomed in the picture. If he can be bothered to get up every morning, shower and trim his beard, put on clean clothes, and commute to his panhandling "job" on a street corner with a sign, why can't he do that at a job where he actually contributes to society?

It could be he's a moocher and a bum, in which case I don't feel very sorry for him. Some people really just don't want to work.

But it could be he has a medical condition which prevents him from having a real job. Not that he is incapable of holding down a real job, just that he gets Medicaid that just covers his medical needs, but he'll lose the benefit if he gets any kind of real job, so he pandhandles to get extra beer money and pay off DUIs.

That's the area in which Medicaid and Welfare need to be reformed. Even if someone has a job, they should still be able to get Medicaid and Welfare to help cover basic costs of living. Then the working poor who contribute to society via work and payroll taxes receive supplemental income that they help pay for themselves instead of being encouraged be to total burdens on society by not working at all.

Progressive Women's Blog Ring
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