What if I told you that reducing or ending homelessness would save more money than it would cost?
What if I told you that treating drug addiction would save more money than it would cost?
What if I told you that treating the leading causes of violence and many other social problems would save much more money than it would cost?
This isn't a fringe conspiracy theory; it's the truth and there's evidence to prove it, although neither the media or the political establishment pays much if any attention to the best research that shows how to solve these problems and many more. The best research is usually reported in academic journals or alternative media, with an occasional article from mainstream media that usually is relatively low profile and quickly forgotten; while propaganda pushing ineffective ways to address these problems are repeated over and over again in mass media and by politicians.
This makes no sense if we live in a democratic country with diverse media, some of which at least tries to report on the best research so voters can make informed decisions. It makes perfect sense if, on the other hand, we live in a Machiavellian oligarchy with, at best, the illusion of a democracy where elites only cover corrupt candidates ensuring honest ones can't get name recognition, and they intentionally rig the economy to keep the masses poor so they can control them better.
But don't take my word for it, at least not without looking at the evidence, including the following article describing how Finland reduced or eliminated homelessness and saved more money than they spent doing it:
15,000 euros comes to about $17,628. If we implemented the same programs in the United States and save the same amount per homeless person in the United States, with an estimated 552,830 homeless people (2018) that could eventually come to a savings of 9.7 billion dollars per year; and as the homeless population drops the savings will grow even more. This doesn't mean the savings would come immediately, since it would take years to teach people how to start these programs, and it may actually cost more while they're beginning them, which probably happened in Finland as well. Furthermore, there may be other contributing causes to homelessness which also need to be addressed; if so, there's almost certainly more research on those as well, and if all the contributing causes are addressed then the savings might be even bigger, although it will be difficult to tell whether it might happen sooner or later.
Even if the savings aren't quite that high it's still far more cost effective to address the problem in ways that have been proven to work, instead of those that are proven failures, which is happening in the United States, although some parts of the country are worse than others. In Kansas City Missouri a couple years ago Police were caught on video pouring bleach into food that was being handed out to the homeless. This program may not have been as effective as the one in Finland, but it was far better than what the town was doing, which actually made the problem worse.
Spending taxpayer money to make things worse is a clear indicator that the claim that our government often acts in a Machiavellian way, following his recommendation that rulers "keep the citizens poor," presumably so they can control them. This isn't limited to one isolated incident; there are so many cases where police raid homeless camps often taking their few belongings so they have to go to charities for more or spend money to replace them keeping them in poverty longer, Border Patrol has a history of dumping water or food left for migrants, possibly leaving to starve or die of thirst and there are many more incidents where towns or businesses harass the homeless, instead of trying to help them, often leading to higher crime and other expenses, including, in some locations like Britain or China putting down spikes so homeless people can't sleep in locations under bridges that provide them shelter, which may increase the deaths of the homeless.
Numerous other studies or researchers have also provided additional evidence showing how helping people get out of poverty is less expensive than keeping them in it, including Jonathan Kozol author of "Rachel and Her Children" 1987 He cited several programs to allegedly help the poor by housing them that were run be people with political connections, that were clearly scams; they charged the government an enormous amount of money for atrocious housing and the homeless were kept in poverty so some of these hotel owners with political connections could continue collecting massive profits, or corporate welfare that is far more outrageous than the false "welfare queens" that Reagan said were riding around in Cadillacs. Kozol also cited more effective programs that got people out of poverty without the corruption. This was over thirty years ago; and most of the scams were exposed and stopped; however, people with political connections have an amazing knack for coming up with new scams once the old ones are exposed.
For those familiar with Finland's efforts to reduce homeless almost everyone agrees that it's been successful. If you Google "Finland ends homelessness" you'll find numerous sources including 'It’s a miracle': Helsinki's radical solution to homelessness 06/03/2019; The city with no homeless on its streets 01/31/2019; and Wikipedia Homelessness in Finland, some that disagree on the details; but all agree that it's a major success, implying that it should be replicated elsewhere, including in the United States. However, the vast majority of Americans have probably never heard of this and don't realize that effective solutions are available and being ignored by our politicians.
One of the rare occasions that mainstream media reports on good research is a CNN article about a Canadian experiment, Researchers gave thousands of dollars to homeless people. The results defied stereotypes. 10/09/2020 which says, "The preliminary findings, which will be peer-reviewed next year, show that those who received cash were able to find stable housing faster, on average. By comparison, those who didn't receive cash lagged about 12 months behind in securing more permanent housing." Unfortunately I haven't seen anything about this on Cable news, and I've been watching CNN regularly. This isn't unprecedented, some of their best articles about good research are pointed out to me on the internet or in books from researchers, including an article by James Garbarino and a brief appearance for Stacy Patton, which she mentions in her book. Repetition is an important tactic for propagandists; they repeat the appeals to emotion and bad research over and over again while rare good research is quickly forgotten.
The reason for this is our mainstream media practically never mentions it at all, instead repeats demagoguery or false claims over and over again. Many other social problems follow similar patterns of behavior, including drug abuse. The following article about Portugal's decriminalization and drug treatment efforts, shows how effective solutions have been available for years, yet most people haven't heard of them:
Like the reports on Finland's homeless programs there are some slight differences, but once again virtually all the credible ones I found agreed that it's an enormous success. Another report, Want to Win the War on Drugs? Portugal Might Have the Answer 08/01/2018, indicates that we might be able to cut our fatal overdoses by as much as 98% as indicated in the following excerpt:
Seventeen years on, the U.S. is suffering its worst addiction epidemic in American history. In 2016 alone, an estimated 64,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses—more than the combined death tolls for Americans in the Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq Wars. In Portugal, meanwhile, the drug-induced death rate has plummeted to five times lower than the E.U. average and stands at one-fiftieth of the United States’. Its rate of HIV infection has dropped from 104.2 new cases per million in 2000 to 4.2 cases per million in 2015. Drug use has declined overall among the 15- to 24-year-old population, those most at risk of initiating drug use.
This isn't a guarantee, of course; like the problem with homelessness, there may be other contributing factors and we would have to address them all to get these results and do it on a much larger scale. However, most reports indicate that we're going in the wrong direction including a NYT article, In Shadow of Pandemic, U.S. Drug Overdose Deaths Resurge to Record 07/15/2020, which says that the total number of deaths from overdoses has gone up almost every year since about 1995 rising significantly to four times the annual rate from 2000, and the largest increases appear to be between 2014 and 2017 before declining for the only time in 2018 then breaking another record in 2019. As our death rates continue to go up and there's go down the potential saving will dramatically grow if we implement rational drug treatment programs instead of criminalizing it and relying on courts and prisons, which are clearly making it even worse.
Another major concern that has been overrated is the belief that decriminalization will make crime even worse; but most reports indicate that it has done the opposite including this article, Drug decriminalisation in Portugal: setting the record straight. 05/21/2020, which says:
A widely repeated claim is that, as a result of Portugal’s decriminalization policy, drug-related homicides increased 40% between 2001 and 2006.29 30 But this claim is based on a misrepresentation of the evidence. The 40% increase (from 105 to 148) was for all homicides, defined as any ‘intentional killing of a person, including murder, manslaughter, euthanasia and infanticide’31 – they were not ‘drug-related’. In fact, there are no data collected for drug-related homicides. ......
Despite claims to the contrary,34 decriminalization appears to have had a positive effect on crime. With its recategorization of low-level drug possession as an administrative rather than criminal offence, decriminalization inevitably produced a reduction in the number of people arrested and sent to criminal court for drug offences – from over 14,000 in the year 2000, to around 5,500-6,000 per year once the policy had come into effect.35 The proportion of drug-related offenders (defined as those who committed offences under the influence of drugs and/or to fund drug consumption) in the Portuguese prison population also declined, from 44% in 1999, to just under 21% in 2012.36
There's little doubt from this report that it has lead to a reduction in crime, in general; however, some might not be so certain about the potential connection to the increased homicide rates, without data on drug related homicides, although they went back down even lower after 2006. By 2018 they were down to 81 homicides, which was a reduction of homicide by 23% compared to 2001 or 45% compared to 2006, instead of an increase. Even at their worst, in 2006, their murder rate was less than one third of the rate in the United States, and in 2018 it was less than one sixth, so there's little doubt that they're doing something better than us, although other contributing factors to homicide also have to be taken into consideration, including early child abuse and corporal punishment.
In 2007 Portugal also banned the use of corporal punishment on children in the home and everywhere else, which is another major contributing cause for violence later in life which I went into more in several previous articles including Evidence Is In; Corporal Punishment Should Be Banned! which explains that states still allowing corporal punishment in schools have higher rates of murder as well as some of the reasons why this leads to escalating violence alter in life. It's unlikely that either the banning of corporal punishment or reduction of drug addiction were the sole contributing factor; but it's almost guaranteed that both of them possibly combined with other factors helped reduce their murder rate. Unless there were major reforms for other factors they might be the two leading causes for the reduction in murder.
Previously I reported that the murder rates have always been higher in states still allowing it in schools; however, the longer they ban it the more the difference grows. They were at their closest in 1992, when the murder rates were only a couple percent higher in states allowing it than those not allowing it, and presumably using it less at home as well; this grew to over 22% each year for the last ten years or so and in 2018 they broke a record with the states allowing it having murder rates just over 32% higher. The FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2019 (Published Fall, 2020) just came out within the past few weeks, and they broke another record with the states allowing it having murder rates 36% higher. The 19 states still allowing corporal punishment in schools had a murder rate in 2019 of 6.07, compared to 4.22 in states banning it. I went into the details and how I calculated them in Research On Preventing Violence Absent From National Media
These are just a handful of the leading contributing causes of violence. In some cases, like Finland there are hard statistics to prove how much money can be saved and homeless housed; Portugal, that shows large reductions in overdoses and declining murder rates; or corporal punishment and child abuse also showing large reductions in murder rates as well as many other related social problems, which are available from a variety of sources. If you look into the best research for many other social problems there's almost always evidence to show we can partly solve them, at least, and it almost always costs less to solve them than to ignore them.
I went into many other contributing causes of violence or other social problems in several articles including Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation Should Become a Priority Again! and a series of articles that ended with Politicians increase crime; Grass roots efforts reduce crime; Politicians steal the credit. With one contributing cause of violence after another there is always much better research in the academic world or in alternative media outlets than there is in mainstream media, and politicians routinely ignore the best research on each subject.
Furthermore, there's almost always, if not always, a financial motive for wealthy well connected people to suppress the research. Some of the biggest contributing causes of violence or other social problems include poverty and income inequality, as well as other economic issues, like outsourcing, which contributes to this. This is a direct result of corporations corrupting both the government and the media. Other contributing causes of violence include gambling, which does get reported on, although not in in a high profile manner, and insurance, which is almost never researched honestly, at least not by big institutions, even colleges. However there's enough evidence scattered throughout the news, including stories about people killing for insurance or committing fraud, although they're not put in perspective, or the internet to conclude this is a major contributing factor to fraud and violence, as I reported in Insurance Executives Profit By Inciting Murder Occasionally Paying Killers.
If the for profit media wanted to report on this good research they would have done so long ago! The fact that they refuse to do so shows they have no intention in serving the public's best interests. The most likely reason obviously seems to be maximizing profits. Apparently helping to educate the public so they can look out for their own best interests. Over 95% of the national media is controlled by six corporations and the next dozen or so media outlets are controlled by billionaires or multimillionaires.
These oligarchs routinely rig elections by only covering candidates they support so honest ones can't get name recognition. If you're a regular reader of mine, you might be sick of hearing me repeat that; but, the mainstream media indoctrinates the public by repeating their propaganda or outright lies over and over again; so one of the most effective ways to expose this is repeating accurate and important principles over and over again.
It's not unreasonable to assume these oligarchs are far more concerned with controlling us than they are with looking out for our best interests. The closer you look at the best research from obscure locations that the media refuses to report on this the more obvious it is that the evidence supports this assumption!
American Psychological Association: How Portugal is solving its opioid problem October 2018
Wikipedia: List of countries by intentional homicide rate
The Global Initiative to end corporal punishment: States prohibiting all corporal punishment of children, including in the home
Somerset woman serving five years after leaving kids at Columbia Ky. Walmart 10/14/2020
These anti-homeless spikes are brutal. We need to get rid of them 07/23/2015
Well that's one solution to people sleeping rough! China puts down concrete spikes to stop beggars dossing under city bridges 07/03/2012
The disturbing anti-homeless architecture you see every day but don't notice 02/01/2018
Health department poured bleach on food meant for the homeless 11/12/2018
KCMO Health Dept. defends pouring bleach on food intended for homeless 11/05/2018
US border patrol routinely sabotages water left for migrants, report says 01/17/2018 Humanitarian groups report agents routinely destroy supplies left in Arizona desert, condemning people to die of thirst.
Anti-homeless spikes: ‘Sleeping rough opened my eyes to the city’s barbed cruelty’ 20/18/2015
Months after the city sweep, heroin camps now scattered across Kensington | Mike Newall 10/27/2017
Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Learning from a Health and Human-Centered Approach 02/20/2019
Drug Decriminalization in Portugal Learning from a Health and Human-Centered Approach 02/20/2019
United States Coups & Entrapment of Immigrants
Portugal’s Path to Breaking Drug Addiction Spring 2019 While the U.S. and Italy have struggled with addiction, Portugal has crafted one of the most effective set of drug programs in the world.
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