The Trump Homelessness Con Job Is Getting Near

Skid row in Los Angeles.Katrina Kochneva/ZUMA

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

The Washington Post reports that President Trump is close to announcing a plan to “crack down” on homelessness in California. As near as I can tell, though, no one believes that he’s serious about helping the homeless. He just wants a big PR victory that shows what a hellhole Los Angeles and San Francisco are. Presumably they will replace “Chicago” as presidential code for liberal cities with big minority populations that are decaying before our eyes.

The main reason to believe this comes, literally, in the very last paragraph of the Post story:

The federal government has limited options when it comes to homelessness because it does not control local and state zoning laws on housing development, said Salim Furth, a housing expert at the libertarian-leaning Mercatus Center who has worked with the White House on housing policy….“I could imagine them declaring a homelessness emergency in seven cities and dedicate federal land” as an area where people could park RVs or install small units, Furth said. “But the truth is, in housing, there aren’t a lot of federal levers.”

Right. It’s not like Trump can round up the homeless and put them in camps. Nor can he send in troops to toss tear gas grenades all over skid row. In fact, federal officials can’t do much at all. Hell, local officials have way more power than the feds, and even they’re so tightly hemmed in by laws that progress is agonizingly slow.

But of course the feds can do one thing: barnstorm around with news cameras in tow, spouting damning statistics. This, I predict, is about all they’re going to do.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate