Reagan's legacy: Homeless death


The headline on sfgate is about as brutal as you can get: "The coming homeless die-off." But the brief story points to an alarming set of statistics: The median age of homeless people on the streets of US cities is now 53. The life expectancy for homeless people is 64. You get the point.

But here's the key political element:

Social scientists say the median age has been steadily increasing for many years, supporting the “big bang” theory that many of today’s street people hit the gutter back in the 1980s era of recession and slashings of social programs.

Having lived through the Reagan Era, and worked with homeless people in the early 1980s at the Haight Ashbury Switchboard, I can tell you that makes perfect sense. Vast libraries of books have been written about the Reagan Era, but one of the things it represented was the end of major federal support for low-cost housing in cities -- and the end of any concept of linking welfare payments to the cost of housing.

There were a lot of people living on General Assistance and SSI in San Francisco in the late 1970s, and most of them had homes. That's because public assistance programs provided enough income to cover the rent on a cheap place. Between GA and food stamps, people who were, for whatever reason, unable to work wound up in crappy apartments and sometimes crappier SROs, but they weren't on the streets.

Yes: Some of those people had serious substance-abuse issues. Yes: SSI and GA checks were going, in part, for drugs and booze. But even ignroing the notion that it's much better for a drunk to have an SRO room than to be homeless, it's also cheaper. San Francisco spends a fortune on homeless services, and if the feds (and the City and County) had indexed public assistance to the cost of housing (which happened pre-Reagan) the toll on the local taxpayers would almost certainly be lower.

So Reagan's policies are now killing people on the streets of San Francisco. All these years later.




solid, theoretical basis for it, i.e. there is a "sweet spot" for the marginal rate of income tax that maximizes incentives to invest and work, and minimizes the incentive to evade and avoid taxes, or invest in other locations.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 9:15 am

Guardian trolls? Serious economists have long ago discredited the Laugher Curve, because it has been proven to have no bearing on reality.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 11:37 am

not just Reagan's adoption of the Laffer curve that led to benefits. He didn't just lower tax rates, but thereby garnered more revenues as well as simplifying the tax code.

A win-win-win for everyone who isn't a bifter failed socialist.

Posted by anon on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 11:53 am

The tax code wasn't "simplified" in 1986 under Reagan. That was a ruse so that politicians could eliminate deductions for student loan interest and consumer interest (ie, car loans) that were mostly deducted by the middle class. Now Congress is talking about "reform" and "simplification" again, which are code words for eliminating the home mortgage deduction and state tax deduction, also used by middle income groups, but not eliminating the similar deductions used by wealthy landlords and property speculators, not surprisingly.

And the "many nations" that lowered tax rates in Europe and Japan are in the same situation as the US - overvalued assets that need to stay overvalued so that banks don't go bankrupt, and billions fo dollars of governemnt debt that will lock future genrations into a system where only the economic elites are rewarded, while most of society falls further behind paying high rents, high taxes, high mortgage costs, and price inflation that makes the cost of living of everything else go up while wages are essentially stagnent.

Deflation and stagflation are the new buzz words being used by economists and central bankers in every country, precisely the same buzz words being used back in Jimmy Carter's day. The stock market loves when the government takes on more debt to keep the system afloat, even though the taxpayers and future generations will end up paying the bill.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

markets work and so constantly decry them and claim it's all a racket.

And yet there are millions of millionaires in the US, refuting your claim that we are all doomed. And rather than respect them for their success, you enviously hate them for their skills.

Reagan enabled millions like me to achieve the American dream, and a few losers like you whining from the peanut gallery because you didn't take your chances are of little concern to us.

Posted by anon on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 2:02 pm

The laugher curve has been incorporated into libertarian Randian scripture.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 11:53 am

And existed widely before Laffer conceptualized it.

When the Beatles wrote the song "Taxman", UK tax rates went as high as 98%. Is it any surprise that they and the Stones started to live elsewhere. Even rockers obey the Laffer rule.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 12:07 pm

Kennedy lowered taxes too, not loathed for some strange reason by the left.

Tax exiles like various musicians and actors was just a coping method, not really a statement of economic philosophy.

Posted by matlock on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

98% tax - it was anyone who was wealthy. They coined a phrase for it - the "brain drain". At one point, one third of all University graduates from the UK were going overseas, mostly because of taxes.

Now the French wealthy are moving to London to escape France's 75% taxes.

Posted by anon on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 2:06 pm

Mostly far right republican economics.

I would guess that the republicans pick it up second hand mostly from CATO or Heritage Foundation press releases. Few people even know who Laffer is these days.

Posted by matlock on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

True, few people pay any attention to Laffer these days, because his ideology has been discredited. But apparently the trolls on this site still worship his dogma as the word of god. And frankly I don't see a difference between libertarians and Randians and the trolls. Rand was a libertarian. Nor do I see the difference between their philosophy and yours. You rarely express any positive philosophy at all. Mostly you confine your posts to trashing progressives. But where you have, you've expressed only agreement with the trolls/libertarians/Randians. Correct me if I'm wrong (perhaps you can link to something), but I don't think you've ever written a single word in disagreement with the libertarian Randian trolls.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 1:19 pm

has refused to raise marginal tax rates to above what would have happened under W anyway, and only then for the very wealthiest.

You can claim to disagree with Laffer, but his curve has driven tax policy in the US, UK and many other western nations for the last 30 years.

Nobody believes that 1970's level tax rates are a good thing, with the possible exception of President Hollande of France, and you can already see the problems there.

Heck, even Scandinavia reduced their tax rates.

Posted by anon on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 2:09 pm
Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 2:34 pm

It's a real place and we weren't talking about the word.

Actually taxes can be 60% in Denmark, or so someone I know who lives there tells me. And they did reduce their taxes, while also reducing their benefits.

See, Greg, even in socialist Scandinavia, they accepted the Reagan/Laffer wisdom. Only you are left bereft, as nation after nation adopts policies that you hate.

Oh where, oh where, can poor little Greg go. All those nice socialist countries keep moving to the right, or being overthrown. Where does an American hating leftie like Greg move to?

I'd suggest Asia, oh but wait . .

Posted by anon on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 3:21 pm

when wealthy residents like the members of Abba often faced tax bills which exceeded their entire income, causing many to flee to Monaco.

No, they've adopted much more reasonable tax policies under more right-leaning governments and yes, they've also reduced benefits. Denmark's unemployment benefits are more stingy than the United States and come with greater strings attached.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 4:54 pm

They think raising taxes will create prosperity.

The Laffer says less taxes is always the answer, the progressive says more taxes is always the answer, neither can say where the exact correct spot is.

Another of the countless cases where the left mirrors the right.

Posted by matlock on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 12:02 pm

Tired troll repeating the same mantra.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

Hate Asians
Hates success
Hates the Mayor
Hates cops
Hates America.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 12:23 pm

Pulled out of your ass. I've been critical of US policies, police practices, and the mayor, though I think my criticism can hardly be called "hate." As for Asians and success, I doubt that you can even find a single example where I've said anything against Asians or success. These are figments of your imagination.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 1:12 pm

Lucretia, Matlock and a host of Guests and Anons have all verified your prejudice and intolerance.

Posted by anon on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 2:03 pm

You just keep repeating the same lie over and over again... under different handles, but never with a quote.

"Lucretia, Matlock and a host of Guests and Anons"... most of whom are the same person.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 8:08 pm

It's your job to disprove the allegations. Speak clearly - lay out the facts! Otherwise you have proven yourself as a true racist and misogynist.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 8:25 pm

"Not anyone's job to provide you with "citations." It's your job to disprove the allegations. "

Of course not. Who needs a factual basis for allegations? It's not the job of trolls to provide facts and back up allegations. The job of a good troll is to keep hurling the baseless smears until discussion degenerates into a flame war.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 10:29 pm

Way to totally demolish Lucrecia, nice work.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 11:39 pm

abuse does not get him off the hook here. He routinely abuses those here who disagree with him, and shows intolerance towards the police, the mayor, anyone who isn't a left-wing bigot.

And of course he routinely criticizes our nation.

So yes, do something enough and you will be found guilty by a jury of your peers.

Posted by anon on Mar. 31, 2013 @ 5:34 am

Revolutionaries in service to the people, like myself, armed only with revolutionary thought, abhor these constructs. We do not allow ourselves to be distracted by this kind of anti-worker miasma. All belief is a social construct - we seek to smash social constructs, not to engage them.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 31, 2013 @ 10:50 am

combined with misogynistic comments about Rose Pak say it all. Don't try smearing gold paint on your face to appear a benevolent Buddha Greg - the eyes of the masses are bright and clear as snow.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 2:21 pm

attacks against the Asian power bloc in SF politics give away his barely concealed racial prejudices.

It's funny how progressives love non-whites but only when they are failing. As soon as Asians gain power and wealth, or Obama becomes President and doesn't introduce socialist policies, that white guilt and shame comes right out after all that suppression.

Posted by anon on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 2:42 pm

what you think the exact tax rates should be to promote the greatest amount of success across the board. Not what further your interests in creating penalties, but for the actual greatest chance of success across the board. In % form please. If thats beyond you, just put "more" next to all of them. You can break it down by, income, country of origin for good, etc...

Income Taxes:
Capital Gains Taxes:
Estates Taxes:
Corporate Taxes:
Business side Taxes in relation to Payroll:
Import Taxes:
Fuel Tax:

Income Taxes:
State Sales Tax:
Capital Gains
Corporate taxes:
Business side Taxes in relation to Payroll:
--------Unemployment for example.
Fuel Tax:

County = you can use SF County for this field.
Property Taxes:
Sales tax:
Payroll Taxes:

Then there are fees, use SF County Here if you wish
Parking Tickets:

Posted by matlock on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 12:30 pm

Because our resident troll can only bicker from the sidelines, and not contribute substantially to pragmatic policies.

The left carp but, when given a chance, always fail.

Posted by anon on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 2:05 pm

All Reagan did in the early 1980's was to goose up asset prices by giving investors phony tax write-offs like short depreciation recaptures (ie, 19 years for real estate). When the ponzi scheme imploded 6 to 8 years later - like they always do - the taxpayers were on the hook for over $3 trillion of bad debts from loans of the S&L's and other financial institutions. The Fed's subsequent easy money policy to mitigate the inflated real estate loans that began under Reagan have now made the national debt $17 trillion instead of the measly $6 trillion (or thereabouts) when Reagan left office.

The higher asset prices (mostly real estate) have stayed in the economic system for the most part, with the US Federal Reserve, Bank of Japan, and the European Central Bank trying their hardest to keep these asset prices inflated to prevent further bankruptcies of their banks and the world's financial elites who own most of the real estate assets. Banks in Ireland, Spain, Greece and many other places are destined to continue to fail since they made high value real estate loans that can't be bailed out with "easy money" from central banks any longer. The Cyprus solution is the new norm - let some of the banks collpase and make the larger despositors eat some of the losses. (It wouldn't be my total solution, but the world's central bankers are stuck with unsustainable bank loans that can never be repaid unless there is massive inflation to make the debts more manageable.)

Asset deflation is the best cure for what ails the lower and middle classes. Higher land taxes on landlords and speculators, offset with far lower taxes on working families, will help encourage asset deflation, which will benefit the vast majority of society. Houses will become more affordable, landlords and speculators will exit the real estate market, and banks will make loans to businesses that produce goods and services that increase GNP for everyone rather than loans that inflate asset prices that only benefit the wealthy elites.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 10:42 am

SF properties prices are at an all time high.

More Americans have become millionaires thru property and equity investments than any other means.

If you think that is a failure, give me failure every time. reagan made my prosperity possible, and for millions more as well. It's the American dream.

Posted by anon on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 10:54 am

Monetizing the debt and flooding the RE market with freshly printed money will inflate asset and equity bubbles. But that does not make it real, as once the training wheels come off, once the oxygen supply is removed, the economy chokes and falls.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 11:06 am

long as you take your profits at the right time. Some people make a great deal of money in down markets, because that is where the opportunities lie.

Gold and treasuries for security, property and equities for property. Balanced, diversified investors have little to fear from QE, and much to gain from it.

Posted by anon on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 11:57 am

Unhijacking, the point being that asset and equity bubbles that Reaganomics set up are not sustainable economics.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

can make money in all cycles of the market, both up and down. So it doesn't really matter if markets are going up and down - there is always opportunity.

Posted by anon on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

Sustainable economics is all about short term profit in your sick twisted mind.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 5:33 pm

short-term profits.

Markets move around - it's what they do. Smart people predict that and respond to that. Dumb people become victims of it. Your choice.

Posted by anon on Mar. 31, 2013 @ 5:27 am

Compared to the Obama era of supercharged finance and gentrification of cities, the Reagan era was a quaint peaceful chucklefest of easy and bountiful living.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 14, 2013 @ 9:12 pm

I can't read most of the SFGate article. It's behind the pay wall. How is the pay wall going to affect the SFBG articles? Seems like half of your stories are prompted by, and link to, stories written by someone else on SFGate (which stories are now truncated)

Posted by The Commish on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 11:25 am

I had written a long-ish post in response to the "Guest" below who said that the comments were worthless. I'm not going to bother rewriting it at this point but the gist of it was that
1) I agree with Guest that the comments here represent the usual panoply of hate and smugness, but Tim lets them comment probably because they generate clicks and traffic (therefore all you trolls are unwittingly helping out the SFBG, even as you render the site unreadable for the rest of us)
and (this is the part you'd actually agree with, Commish)
2) Paywalls are worthless. I posted multiple links on how to get around them. I think this is where I ran afoul of something. Whatever. Just google it. There are lots of bloggers and even some conservative business publications where the information can be found.

BTW, Tim. I have nothing against paying for good content. I just pledged to support KPFA this year, again. But the Chron? The Chron can go to hell as far as I'm concerned.

Seriously Tim, why do you keep hanging on every utterance that comes out of the mouths of such pieces of human garbage as Ken Garcia and Chuckie Nevus? You're really demeaning yourself when you do that.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 29, 2013 @ 8:36 pm

most of us never do. Reading comments here and posting do not generate any revenue, although SFBG statistics of such use, in the aggregate, to try and sell ad's at a higher rate.

But yes, there are ways around paywalls.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 8:18 am

An unfortunate choice of words indeed - dehumanization is a legacy practiced by the Nazis and one we really don't need a repeat of Greg. You really need to be more careful with your screeds - they betray strong elements of fascism and racism and it's deeply concerning. It's frightening how many progressives show this kind of thinking once the veil is lifted, even slightly, on the masks they use to hide their real beliefs.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

Considering who it refers to, actually the term seems quite appropriate.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 8:14 pm

Now it's Reagan. Who hasn't been for office in 28 years.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 11:45 am

late 70's, most obviously Prop 13 and the emergence of Reagan - the most popular President of their generation.

They never forget. They never forgive. The world moved on and passed them by.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 12:06 pm

Right, because government policies don't have long term effects. Everyone knows that the effect of whatever a President does stops the instant he's out of office, right? Oh yeah and he's dead, so he couldn't possibly have been part of the cause.

Posted by Shannon on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 5:14 pm

his predeccesor. Obama can no longer blame W as he has had time to end the wars and fix the economy, and he has not. In fact, he has extended the wars, the deficits have grown far worse, and we are now saddled with a complete abortion of a mess that is ObamaCare.

Gay marriage might end up being Obama's only success, and of course he had nothing to do with that anyway.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 5:36 pm

Obama makes Reagan look like Carter.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 29, 2013 @ 9:05 pm

But when a hopey-changey half black President is right-wing, it is clear that progressives have nowhere to turn in this nation.

Posted by anon on Mar. 30, 2013 @ 12:27 pm