A persistent theme of this blog is that progressive social programs supposedly intended to solve societal problems inevitably make the problems worse. Of course, few pay close attention while this happens; and the performance of the journalism profession in reporting on the phenomenon is nothing short of disgraceful. But if you look into this subject enough, you will realize that it is not actually possible for a bureaucracy to solve a major societal problem. To solve the problem would be to undermine the very basis for the existence of the bureaucracy, and to put it at risk of cutbacks or even elimination. Bureaucracies have as their fundamental imperative the need to continue and to grow. Therefore, no problem entrusted to a bureaucracy will ever be solved, nor even substantially ameliorated. In fact, the problem will certainly worsen over time, the better to justify a bigger budget and more staff for the bureaucracy. . . .
Recently, the progressive movement has turned some of its focus to the problem of "homelessness." Now here we have a problem that is clearly different -- obviously much less complex and intractable than "poverty," and therefore subject to being immediately solved by well-intentioned and well-funded progressive minions. As super-progressive New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in 2014, shortly after getting elected, "We are simply not going to allow this kind of reality to continue.” After all, homelessness is just an issue of lack of housing. So it's easy: just hire some people, spend some money, build some housing, and presto! you're done. Or at least, that was the fantasy. . . .Read More