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

Return to article »

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

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Cottonwood Heights, UT

But whom have we embraced, rather than the poor?

"Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy." Ezekiel 16:49

Logan, UT


Instead of coming up with catchy new slogans to run your fellow countrymen into the ground, why don't you propose a solution? I thought your other 'great' Democratic President, LBJ, declared war on poverty. Why hasn't it worked? Are we not socialist enough? Help me understand why people come here from the poor Asian countries with nothing and end up doing so well. Don't buy into the politician-generated hype of class warfare. United we stand, divided we fall.

Provo, UT


You said that America is the most charitable country in the world. That is simply not true. As a percentage of Gross National Income, the US's governmental development assistance ranks 20th, behind virtually all of Europe and Scandinavia. As measured by % of income donated to charities by individual citizens, we're ranked #8.


How is it that creating policies that hurt the poor is okay, but when the poor or their advocates complain about it, only THEN is it called "class warfare"?

While greed and unkindness have always existed, it seems that hearts have truly waxed cold in the last several years.

The religious scriptures I believe in make two things very clear:

1) one of the clearest signs of a corrupt society is a widening gap between rich and poor,


2) We're all beggars, and it's morally wrong to withhold from the poor because we think their poverty is self-inflicted. "It is unworthy of us as Christians to think that those who suffer deserve their suffering."

So many of the poor have serious mental health issues and other challenges we can never know; wo unto us if we judge them harshly.

Provo, UT

""If you're lying on a sidewalk, whether you're homeless or a millionaire, you're in violation of the ordinance," said Joseph Patner, a city attorney who represented St. Petersburg, Fla, in 2099 when six homeless people filed a lawsuit against the city."

This attorney's statement is both heartless and mindless. How many millionaires does he see lying around on the sidewalk? That's like defending segregation by saying "This policy isn't discriminatory. Any person, black or white, who ranks lower than 20 on the van Luschen skin-pigmentation scale is allowed to eat at this restaurant."

This is the 21st-century version of "Let them eat cake."


The U.S. is NOT the most charitable according to amount of foreign aid per capita.
Who is? Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Japan, Belgium, Ireland, Germany are the top 10 (2004 figures). The U.S. comes in at #15.

As for criminalizing homelessness? Yup, we don't have enough prisons or prisoners, so let's fill them up with the homeless.
What a joke.

the truth
Holladay, UT

False and misleading title.

THe left the liberals, while their hearts may be in the right place, have it all backwards as ususual,

You do NOT help the poor by forcible taking from another,

If that was the right way wouldn't Jesus have done that? or any of God's prophet?

Would the axriptures be full of "take from wealthy",

No. it is about free aganecy, it is about love, it is about personal charity,

Many great government programs and systems were created to help the poor, bring "social justice", revolutions and world wars were fought, millions upon milluions have been murdered, their stuff taken by governments,

ALL of them, without excption, have been failures,

Forcibly taking from another doesn't work.

Juesus showed they way,

you change people's heart so they are desirious to give and to help.

The laws mentioned in the article were created to create a more safer and healthy environment for all,

We can help the poor, the right way, but not by enabling them,

and certianly history has shown not by taking from others.

A voice of Reason
Salt Lake City, UT

The legal issues:

'Camping in public places'

'loiter in front of a business or residence'

'begging for money'


Consider the following,

Imagine a person loitering or begging for money; they camp out in a public place all day.

Now, instead of the picture you drew in your head- imagine a clean-shaved, showered, well-presentable person wearing a well-kept 3-piece suit- doing the very same things.

Such a man would not have faced the legal recourse given to those without homes. Such a man is not trespassing on the property of said businesses or residences, he simply stands in front or near it doing nothing but standing. Most people would have walked by without even noticing him. He asks for money and less people would probably be disgusted with him.

The problem people have is moth eaten clothes and a lack of showering. I know college students who fit that description. So what justifies them having less rights than any of us?


I'm all for wanting a clean society and no more poverty- but taking away rights so we can simply pretend there isn't a problem is not the way to do it.

Better laws, please.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Be kind to people in need. To criminalize poverty is wrong. Those who advocate such are mean spirited and moraly wrong. Do what you can to help the poor. Only you know what help you can provide, use your resources wisely. Sleep well at night knowing that you did what you could. Peace.

Eugene, OR

To the people who say that those who receive welfare need to be drug-tested: Does that include the CEOs who have been bailed out by the government?

Brigham City, UT

If the parable of the rich man and Lazarus has universal application---Luke 16--- (and I don't know if it does)......in the next life it will be better to have been a homeless beggar than to be rich and to have enjoyed every day of life. Fifty years ago people lived in tents in our country-----we should return to that with no shame.

Sugar City, ID

Good point.
My suggestions
1) Repeal the Bush tax cuts for the top 5%;
2) Adopt the budget ideas of the gang of 6;
3) Promote home ownership by giving no or low down payments to borrowers with ability to make payments and who intend to occupy;
4) Promote incentives to states to provide a system of health care for all of its citizens;
5) Appoint T Boon Pickens to cabinet;
6) Request and implement input from Warren Buffet, Jon Huntsman and Ben Stein and others like them.
7) Do away with the primary system and implement instant runoff elections;
I have tons of other ideas but I'm running out of room.
I'm still waiting on the inventor of the internet to get back with me before I comment on your previous post, but Al is sleeping it off.

Provo, UT

thetruth@5:27 said:

"Many great government programs and systems were created to help the poor, bring "social justice", revolutions and world wars were fought, millions upon milluions have been murdered, their stuff taken by governments,
ALL of them, without excption, have been failures."

This statement has no basis in fact whatsoever. The GI bill was a failure? The CCC and WPA programs that kept my ancestors alive during the Great Depression were a failure? Baby Your Baby, which provides prenatal counseling and help to poor mothers, is a failure? WIC, which feeds children and pregnant mothers, is a failure?

The social safety nets in Scandinavia are failures? You might not agree with them, but that certainly doesn't make them "failures."

If leaving it up to charitable folks to solve all the world's ills was adequate to save the desperate from terrible circumstances, it would have worked already. Some problems are just too big to be addressed by individuals or even churches. Some people have no voice with which to make their needs known, and have no advocates. You cannot preach poverty away, and it is a gross perversion of the New Testament to say that you can.

Henderson, NV

Author Barbara Ehrenreichs tribute to socialism, aka Nickel and Dimed (mentioned in this article) is now being used by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for incoming freshman. I know. What a surprise to learn that our college-age kids are being indoctrinated by the left.

Heres a heads-up for all. The book Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream by Adam Shepard is the answer to her rhetoric. Get a hold of this book for the college-age kids in your life.

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The frequency that blatant liberal propaganda appears in this paper is astonishing!

"Poverty" is not being criminalized, but harmful behavior is.

The myth of the "homeless vet" is unfounded, as many of the mentally ill, who make up the majority of the truly homeless (often by their own BAD choice) dishonestly claim to be vets as it makes generous suckers more likely to give.

The real problem is that we have, through several generations of liberal handouts, created a permanent underclass or dependent people who are unable or unwilling to function on their own to support themselves. Many prefer handouts to a hand up. Work is for suckers when government programs will provide for most needs.

The truly unfortunate, hard working, temporary homeless people are appropriate recipients of charity from private individuals (all you folks above- write checks!) and religious groups.

It is telling that several people above try to denigrate the amount of charity giving by Americans by measuring only government programs.

Poverty does not relieve anyone of their responsibility for their own actions and doing what they can to support themselves and get off the welfare/handout lifestyle.

Hard work fixes poverty, not government programs.

Henderson, NV

BobP wrote: 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.

Bob, Id like you to meet a Salt Lake City women who holds a sign and begs for a living; since, hey, people just stop and give her money. A camera crew follows her to her home, from which she emerges dressed regularly to go to her other job. This is a must-see.

Go to youtube and search for John Stossel-03/25/11-A and watch the special entitled Freeloading.

Forest Grove, OR


Putting your comment in a proper context, Joseph Smith said in effect that he would rather temporally assist 9 imposters rather than turn away one truly needy. In any case, now-days I would surmise that there truly are many more "truly needy" than there are "imposters" -- just look at the unemployment rate to discern this.

Salt Lake City, UT

My latest homeless drunk patient yet again called an ambulance for the millionth time (on your charitable tax contributions) and spent the night getting expensive tests in the ER (again paid for by your charitable tax contributions). And like all homeless drunks manages to have enough money for a cell phone (general assistance checks paid for by your charitable tax contributions) and has been pregnant at least a dozen times (all paid for by your charitable tax contributions) to raise criminals who are institutionalized (all paid for by your charitable tax contributions)... you get the idea. She told me she uses the money she panhandles to buy as much beer as she can get. You are not doing any of them a faveor- you are enabling them and bankrupting our community.

My father said "poor men have poor ways." I'm starting to see he is right. Yes sometimes someone gets laid off, or has an unexpected illness, but 90% of the time poverty is self inflicted. And it breeds itself rampantly.

Henderson, NV

Nosea: Thank you for mentioning Joseph Smith, who learned (D&C 104:16) and then taught that helping the poor is to be done in mine own way.

So, when you're unsure of imposters or the truly needy, you'll never go wrong by donating to the Church's welfare efforts. That is the Lords way.

Forest Grove, OR


You miss interpret the scriptures here -- the "Lord's way" spoken of in the D&C you quote is referring to living the Law of Consecration, not the current welfare system as you imply. Maybe if we had more members with real charity, not the phoney variety, as Joseph Smith had, demonstrated by a real desire to assist the poor, we could actually live in the "Lord's way," consecrating all we have to be a Zion people. So, let's be clear on this single point -- we are not now living the "Lord's way" collectively as members, and I would surmise from what I have seen that the welfare program is a very poor substitute as poverty has actually increased in and out of the church.

Provo, UT

At the day of judgment I would much rather be deemed a sucker than a scrooge.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments