- Politics and Social Issues
America in Crisis - Homelessness
Homeless At Rest
Homelessness In America
How can we curb America’s continued downward spiral? America has close to 10 percent of its work force without jobs. There are drugs, gang activity and other crimes running uncontrolled though the streets of cities both large and small. Homeless is on the rise all across our country. What can be done to curb these terrible trends?
With increased government spending for our military and police force, we will have a chance to fight these terrible cancers attacking the health of America.
Let’s first look at the unemployment problem. Unemployment currently stands at a very high rate of 9%. That is almost a tenth of our country unemployed. One major factor contributing to unemployment is the end of the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan. We have eliminated the majority of our troop deployment in Iraq and moved only a portion of them to the conflict in Afghanistan. As with the end of the Vietnam War this created an influx of soldiers coming home to find their jobs were taken by others and the returning soldiers are beginning to have problems locating employment. This trend was not really evident during the World Wars of the early 1900’s because the women who filled the factories left those jobs and the servicemen were able to fill them upon returning. This is not the case after the Vietnam and Iraq wars. Unemployment is becoming a huge issue for America as in the late 70’s and early 80’s when it reached into the 10+ percentage of Americans unemployed, and it is holding close to that record point yet again. This influx of soldiers combined with current unemployment problems caused by our weak economy and difficultly for large scale hiring by our larger companies is causing a dreadful problem in our country.
To make matter even worse, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is proposing a multi-billion-dollar cut to the military spending including the removal of 47,000 military jobs (Cassata). This number would be incredible enough but when you take into consideration the “ripple effect” that a massive cut like this would do. The Congressional Research Service stated in their report, “Military Base Closures Socioeconomic Impacts”, that with each position eliminated by cut backs, 2.5 to 3.0 non-service jobs are affected. If this is accurate with a conservative 2.5 ratio our country would be looking at a total 117,500 jobs lost due to these cuts (“Military Base Closures”). Clearly this is not the answer our country needs at this time.
Next let’s look at the current problem with crime. According to the FBI, across the country in 2009 there were 13,636 murders committed, 186,996 people were arrested on drug crimes so far this year. This does not take into effect the countless thefts, domestic disputes, traffic violations and other calls that police officers are called to every year. According to the United States Department of Labor, the United States has roughly 883,600 police officers in the whole country. That is one police officer for every 351 private citizens. It was once joked “It is quicker to get a pizza delivered then to have a police officer arrive at your door.” Unfortunately in a lot of cases this is true. Our police are overwhelmed. The response times are slow and non-violent crimes are not receiving high priority. (“Police and Detectives”)
I recently had a personal experience with this. I arrived home to find my house had been burglarized and called 911. I was told that I should inventory what was taken and they would mail me a police report to fill out. They were not going to stop by. I could do the inventory myself. There was no severe damage, so they were not going to do any further investigation and would let my insurance handle it. If any of the serial numbers from my stuff showed up in pawn shops they would let me know and see how I wanted to go forward with it.
Last, let’s take a look at homelessness. Homelessness is on the rise in the United States. There is a severe homeless problem and it is worse then it has been in years. A recent poll of homeless people, taken in 2005, listed 744,000 people homeless (“Study: 744,000 Homeless People in U.S.”). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, that is roughly equal to half the population of Idaho (“State and County”). 41% of homeless are families, fathers and/or mothers raising their children on the streets of our nation. There are a few places in our country where school buses have stops at hotels because the school district considers the hotel the student’s permanent residence (Few).
This is an after effect of the two problems: Unemployment and less of a police force. With fewer and fewer jobs available, there are more people with no other choice but to live a life on the streets. For those who are unable to find jobs, some are finding they have to turn to crime as a way to support their families. This puts even more strain on our overwhelmed police force.
What, if anything, is the solution? Some may call for higher government spending on more government sponsored construction like during the Hoover administration. Others may call for less tax relief for companies who are outsourcing jobs to other countries. But I call on our country to continue this war on terror, to enhance the war on crime and drugs both overseas and at home. Increase spending on our military and police forces, which will give more of our young men and women stable jobs. This will provide less competition for the remaining jobs, increasing the chances for those who are down on their luck to locate and keep stable employment. With this they would be able to properly provide for themselves.
At the time when our country is fighting record unemployment the government should not be closing down military bases or cutting jobs, this is a time when we need to protect ourselves at home and abroad. Recently, our news has been broadcasting terrorist attacks and riots overseas, and even an assassination attempt within our own boarders, and the war on terror is far from over. It is not too late to curb these troubling problems facing our world today. Our soldiers stand on the front lines in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places around the world. It is our duty as Americans to provide them what they need to survive and to complete the missions we have called on them to do. It is time to expand our efforts, support our troops, and better our world. Our brave soldiers protect our freedom, our way of life, and even our lives. This is not a time to be eliminating their positions, nor is it a time to turn our backs on the efforts made around the world to stabilize countries, rekindle the economy and make our streets a safer place to live.
Cassata, Donna. “Pentagon Officials Defend Proposed Military Cuts”
www.news.yahoo.com. Associated Press, 26 Jan. 2011. Web. 17 Feb. 2011
Few, Janel. “Student Homelessness on the Rise” http://savannahnow.com. Savanna
Morning News. 23 Jan 2011. Web. 17 Feb. 2011. Http://savannanow.com/news/2011-
“Police and Detectives.” www.bls.com. United States Department of Labor, 26 Jan. 2011.
Web. 17 Feb 2011. http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos160.htm.
“State and County Quickfacts.” U.S. Census Bureau. 04 Nov. 2010. Web. 17 Feb 2011.
“Study: 744,000 Homeless People in the U.S.” MSNBC.com Associated Press, 10 Jan.
2007. Web. 17 Feb. 2011. http://msnbc.com/id/16564208/ns/us_news-life/