The Only Thing Subsidies Get You Less Of Is Money

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BLUE STATE BLUES: What A Deal! San Jose To Pay Homeless To Clean Up Their Mess.

Granted, a 25 person workforce isn’t all that large in terms of getting the homeless off the streets, but this phase of the project is only a pilot program and it could be expanded later. A couple of challenges the plan faces come to mind immediately, however. First of all, how are you going to pay them? In cash? Most of the homeless probably don’t have bank accounts or the ability to cash a check without going to one of those short-term loan outfits and being charged outrageous fees. Will they have taxes withheld?

Beyond that, there’s the basic question of motivation. As the Gate article notes, the places they want to pay the homeless to pick up trash are the same spots where the homeless congregate and create the trash problem to begin with. Once word gets around that the city is handing out cash to clean up trash, well… isn’t that sort of like paying someone to pick up dead birds in the park and waiting to see if they don’t start shooting a bunch of birds? It just seems like you’re going to create an incentive for people to create more garbage.

It’s like paying vandals to tape up broken windows. And as I’ve been saying here lately, the only thing subsidies get you less of is money.

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h/t SG


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