Comments about ‘Criminalizing poverty: During economic crisis, new laws crack down on America's poor, homeless’

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Published: Saturday, Aug. 13 2011 10:00 a.m. MDT

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Sugar City, ID

We need changes in some of our icons to reflect our changing attitudes.
Lady of Liberty
2)Change from:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Give me your elite, your wealthiest, your brightest, the rest of you: Go to the nearest eugenics clinic for further directions.


@FDRfan, I am confused.

Are you a fan of FDR? Because didn't FDR order the illegal detention of Japanese Americans and confiscation of their property? Wouldn't that be counter to what you are believing in?

I would agree that we have an elitist problem here in America, however, it is not, nor should it be, the governments problem to take care of anyone. Freedom has a price, and that price is self sufficiency.

With freedom, also comes personal responsibility. That means that you take care of yourself first, your family second, your friends, third, your community fourth, and your country fifth and last.

In all of that, Charity is paramount, and that comes in the form of friends, then community. After you have taken care of yourself and your family, then you must do what you can to help friends and community.

If we decide that country comes first, in that the government has the responsibility first to take care of everyone, we lose our freedoms as we become slaves to our government for this perverted form of charity.

The US is the most charitable country in the world. Let's keep it that way.

Burlington, WY

Good point FDRfan. That wonderful philosophy at the base of the Statue of Liberty doesn't seem to have much relevance anymore to the political rhetoric of the day, including poverty, mental health, immigration, prison and tax policies.

Empthy, it has been said, is the next highest law to charity - the pure love of Christ. Unfortunately, we have little of either. Too often caring, sharing and burden bearing (or the lack thereof) are both institutionalized and legislated.


The lawmakers better be careful, for one day they may be homeless!

South Jordan, UT

They should have also mentioned public urination laws, where the indigent and homeless can make it to the sex offender list because they have no private place to urinate.

Tooele, UT

Re: "Criminalizing Poverty"


There is no such thing as criminal poverty. And everyone at DN knows it. Yet we see a headline proclaiming this socialist "community organizing" blather as if there were actually some substance to it.

This is so typically indicative of liberal disdain and disrespect for poor Americans, the writer should be ashamed. To suggest that the poor do not have the capability of conforming their conduct to the requirements of the law is to establish them on some rung of the ladder below humanity. It demeans both them and our Nation of Laws.

If writers want to advocate increased benefits for the poor -- do so. But do it honestly, objectively, decently.

Articles like this one simply prove the socialist bias of the "mainstream" media.


Everybody, and I mean everybody, should be very careful of whom fingers get pointed. For one day in the blink of an eye or a beat of a heart, you could be homeless, literally. No family to lean on, nor church, nor community. They only thing you will have to rely on is your self sufficiency. A novel idea lawmakers don't grasp. Where will the lawmakers and the greedy go to get fed and sheltered? From those who have and are living on the streets, and know how to survive. Lawmakers and the greedy are living, the rest of us are surviving. Survivors will survive, the living will perish.

Layton, UT

Agree with part of this article, but not all of it. I do think that we should help the poor, but I do believe in drug testing if you are getting government help. Hopefully, it would discourage drug dependency. I know that many drug addicts use their welfare checks to get money.

San Diego, CA

What a terrible and misleading headline.

Boise, ID

So many of the homeless and drug addicted are veterans. We send our sons and daughters to enforce our foreign policy and so many come home physically and/or emotionally destroyed. And then we criminalize those whom we have neglected. Is it cheaper to house them in jails then to provide assistance? So many raise the "personal responsibility" banner but refuse to be responsible for those who serve the policies they support.

A voice of Reason
Salt Lake City, UT


Did you read the artcle?

"Since 2006, there's been a 7 percent increase in laws prohibiting camping out in public places" and "a 6 percent increase in laws prohibiting begging and a 5 percent increase in laws prohibiting aggressive panhandling"

You said, "There is no such thing" and I say, yup... well at least the rest of us see the Elephant in the room.


Begging for money isn't protected speech under the first amendment? That's a problem by itself.

Is there a way out? Yes. Is enough of the right form of assistance readily available and widely known? No.

There are clear problems with this issue, however illegalizing things in this regard is a counter-intuitive approach. Not only does it neglect any attempt to do something productive about this issue, it belongs in a category of human treatment that I will never support. There are those today who feel that people of 'filth' (as they view it anyway) don't belong around everyone else. I can understand the mentality in one very slim way- sometimes peace requires separation. But with homelessness? No. With unjustified force, mistreatment, no aid? Such things are simply wrong, evil, immoral, and illogical.

no fit in SG
St.George, Utah

This country has gone through such a change in the last few years, many of us no longer even recognize it.
What has happened to it is sick and wrong. It's every rich man for himself.

Forest Grove, OR

While I make in the six figures, I remember reading this book by Barbara years ago, and I am intelligent enough to understand and acknowledge that the poor now-days are getting a very raw deal. As Isaiah prophesied, the rich "do grind upon the face of the poor," especially after the financial collapse (which ironically the poor had very little say in, and rich in fact instigated). I would recommend this book to any who are so easily duped by trite talking points so fashionable in today's rhetoric and diatribe. "Nickeled and Dimed" is an insightful look into just how unjust our economy is, and how difficult the burdens of poor are. No wonder the scriptures also warn of quickly approaching day when only the "poor of my people will trust in Zion," Zion being the ultimate "socialistic, liberal" program ever devised to care for the poor. It will be interesting to see these prophecies fulfilled, in the face of so rampant and strong countervailing opinion of our day. I do feel to plead the cause of the poor -- ironically, those most opposed are often those only a pay check away from the streets themselves (clueless).

Bountiful, UT

I am saddened to see class warfare reflected in these comments. The political climate in our great country is fostering this class resentment. The rioters in England reveal the disdain young Brits have for the propertied and business class. They are the product of Socialism, and are nothing more than spoiled, cradle-to-grave-entitlement-addicted hoodlums wanting their fair share of other people's property.

Sego Lilly
Salt Lake City, UT

to:Linus | 1:23 p.m

personally I'm waiting for the LDS church leaders to ask the members to live the law of consecration(sp)

Henderson, NV

Hillary Clinton, in true liberal fashion, proposed that what America needs is a federal Department of Poverty. That, she claims, will end poverty in our nation. Um...wasnt the creation of the federal Department of Education going to end our nations education ills?

When will we realize that problems (like the two above) are best solved at the local level, where the most impact is felt? Theyre best solved by the individuals/families/groups that have the most skin in the game.

Principles of economics teach us that money is best spent by him/her whose labor is traded to earn it. He/she is the one who cares most that that money is spent on the best/highest use.

Our bloated, off-track federal government is headed for a crash, which, I hope, will cause us all to re-evaluate our current system, and to start anew.

Port Alice, B.C.

I have never in my life, nor will I ever, pass a street beggar without giving money.

There but for the grace of God go I.

South Jordan, UT

Ineresting that ACLU claims it wrong for the poor to sit in jail while the rich write a check and get out. Their first reaction is to want to sue. How about they spend that money spent on lawers and instead pay to bail for the poor.

Sugar City, ID

While we are at it we need to change our preamble to the constitution to reflect a recent factor point:
Preamble to Constitution
Change from:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
We the Wealthy of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect government that protects Laissez Faire and Caveat Emptor freedoms, and provide for our defense, and the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, and protect our property from the masses, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Santee, CA

It should be illegal to camp in public places that are not designated campgrounds. It UNSANITARY.

It should be illegal to loiter in front of a business or residence. What about the property/business owners rights?

Of course aggressive panhandling should be illegal. What about my right to walk down the street without being accosted?

Of course we should screen welfare applicants to make sure that they're not playing the system or using the money to buy drugs. That takes resources away from people who really need and deserve our help. There are numerous private and government groups that are working hard to help the homeless, but many homeless people don't want help. They'd rather beg and do drugs or drink than take responsiblity for themselves.

It's not illegal to be poor.

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