Column, 331 words

Wall Street’s Fix for Homelessness

A former hedge fund manager believes that charity causes poverty.

Jim Hightower

It’s so great — truly heartwarming — to see billionaires devoting their deepest thoughts to finding solutions for eradicating poverty.

For example, I can’t begin to tell you how grateful America’s homeless people are going to be once they hear about Andy Kessler, who has been thinking long and hard about their plight. Kessler is a former hedge-fund whiz, which means he was in the business of making…well, money. Beaucoup bundles of it.

Hightower-Wall Street-Ed Yourdon

Ed Yourdon/Flickr

Having seen his 16-year-old son volunteer at a homeless center, this champion of the rich was motivated to develop a plan to solve homelessness. Here it is: Stop dishing out soup to those people and shut down all the shelters.

Yes, the problem is “all this volunteering and charitable giving.” These homeless folks ought to be working, he told his son. But, Kessler lectured in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, they’re not, “because someone is feeding, clothing, and in effect, bathing them.”

Gee, Andy, I recall that Jesus said something about our Godly duty to feed and clothe the needy — and even to wash the feet of the poor.

But apparently, Jesus just didn’t grasp the essence of true morality. Blessed are the Rich, is Kessler’s spiritual mantra. “Where does money come from…to help the unfortunate,” he asked? And yea, I say unto thee, the Holy Hedge-Funder answered his own deep question: It comes from “someone [who] worked productively and created wealth.”

Thus, he sagely concluded, the answer to poverty, to truly helping the poor, is not to pamper the takers, but to provide more tax breaks for the makers of wealth (like him) — the ones who produce “good old-fashioned economic growth.”

Wow, what a role model this guy is for his son — and for all of America’s youth!

Wouldn’t you like to buy him for what he’s worth…and sell him for what he thinks he’s worth? That surely would fund a whole lot of homeless services.

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown. OtherWords.org