The Trump Homelessness Con Job Is Getting Near

Skid row in Los Angeles.Katrina Kochneva/ZUMA

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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.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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