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Jul 12 2013

The Worst Person in the World

If Keith Olbermann wasn’t such an egotistical asshole and still had his nightly show, Andy Kessler would be a shoe-in winner of the Worst Person in the World segment. Kessler, a staggeringly rich hedge fund manager, actually claims that homeless people are only homeless because shelter volunteers feed them. This is in a Wall Street Journal op-ed behind a paywall, so here’s the money quote:

My 16-year-old son volunteers with an organization that feeds the homeless and fills kits with personal-hygiene supplies for them. It’s a worthwhile project, and I tell him so—but he doesn’t like it when our conversation on the way to his minimum-wage job turns to why these homeless folks aren’t also working. Perhaps, I suggest, because someone is feeding, clothing and, in effect, bathing them?

I bet it’s true that he doesn’t like it. He shouldn’t. Because it’s a just plain vile and ignorant thing to say. Homeless people aren’t just lazy and shiftless. A huge percentage of them are veterans, many of them suffering from PTSD and other leftovers from the wars Kessler likely cheers for while carefully avoiding either putting his ass on the line or paying for them.

And what’s with the doubletalk? If he really believes that feeding and clothing homeless people creates more homeless people, why does he say he thinks it’s a “worthwhile project”? I want to scream “fuck you” at this asshole so loudly right now.

35 comments

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  1. 1
    Trebuchet

    Sounds like some guy I recall talking about 47%….

  2. 2
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    So stop feeding them and being charitable and watch them die? Is that truly the goal of the right-wing?

  3. 3
    vicvanity

    Yep , I stayed homeless for the free food and cloths . the harrassment from the police, or abuse from random folks . the being degraded and talked down too . the fear of being mugged, beaten or killed constantly on my mind were all worth it just for freebies

  4. 4
    slc1

    What else does one expect from something on the WSJ editorial page, which was insane before fuckface Murdock bought the paper and is now batshit insane. And it should be noted that Murdock has designs on the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune and has been quoted in the past as saying that he would like to buy the New York Times and the Washington Post (another candidate for the former two papers is the Koch brothers; I don’t know who is worse)..

  5. 5
    dogmeat

    “Are there no prisons, are there no workhouses?”

  6. 6
    Aliasalpha

    Well at least it sounds like his son has managed to scrounge up some human decency from somewhere

  7. 7
    jaxkayaker

    “Shoo-in”, not “shoe-in”.

  8. 8
    John Pieret

    I’m sure his son doesn’t like the fact that his father is a simple minded asshole.

  9. 9
    dingojack

    Didn’t Keith coin ‘Better they should die to relieve the surplus population’ ?
    Dingo

  10. 10
    sawells

    “As I drove my son to the hospital, I suggested that maybe the reason people were getting ill was someone was caring for them.”

  11. 11
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    They’re like pigeons! If you keep putting out seed and breadcrumbs, they’ll just keep coming back.

    Asshole.

  12. 12
    Akira MacKenzie

    Typical capitalist bullshit. I remember hearing Limbaugh back in the early 90s saying that eliminating welfare completely would end homelessness. Fear of starving to death would motivate them to find jobs.

    Nothing original, but always disgusting.

  13. 13
    karmacat

    About 40-50% of the homeless have a mental illness. There also has been an increase in homeless families since Wall St and mortgage industry screwed the country over. I bet he didn’t object to the government bailout of banks

  14. 14
    dingojack

    Has anyone suggested to Keith the only reason he’s alive is because other people providing him with:
    Foodstuffs
    Clothing and footwear
    Appliances and other labour saving devices
    Transport
    Accommodation
    Household refrigeration
    Climate control
    Entertainment and information services
    Electricity services
    Water services
    Sewerage services
    Police protection
    Medical care
    and so on and so forth….

    Perhaps we should cut them all off and see just how long he can last?

    Dingo

  15. 15
    David Marjanović

    I don’t get people who believe jobs grow on trees.

  16. 16
    jamessweet

    I prefer an alternative take on this, although yours is accurate as well (i.e. that most homeless people have serious shit screwing up their lives). My take is: Some fraction of, maybe not homeless people, but certainly people in severe poverty, are as “lazy and shiftless” as this guy makes them out to be. I think it’s a relatively small fraction, but they exist (I’m related by marriage to at least one, and it causes me no end of stress). The question is, what do you want to do about those people who are simply unwilling to take care of themselves? History has shown us you don’t get very far by cutting off their safety net. They either suffer, or they turn to more illicit ways of keeping themselves alive. There seem to be virtually no people whatsoever who are like, “Well, I won’t get a job as long as I can still have a really shitty life of poverty, but if I can’t even have that then I guess I’ll knuckle down!” It just doesn’t work that way.

    As I say, I know from personal experience that at least some people who rely on the social safety net do fit the conservative caricature. They are probably fairly rare, but they do exist. And on a personal level, they are very frustrating. On a societal level, we have to decide how we are going to deal with this people. And historical experience seems to suggest that if you provide them with basic support, maybe that’s not entirely “fair” in some rarified conservative ideal, but it works out to the net benefit of everyone.

    So what fraction of poor/homeless people have legitimate issues preventing them from finding work, and how many of them are lazy shits like this certain person in my life I am referring to? Well, I don’t really care. It doesn’t matter what the breakdown is, because the solution is the same in either case. Even if poor people were predominantly “lazy and shiftless” (and I think that’s more of a rare exception than anything else), removing their safety net is a case of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. It might satisfy some juvenile conservative conception of justice, but it hurts everybody in the long run.

  17. 17
    sigurd jorsalfar

    So stop feeding them and being charitable and watch them die? Is that truly the goal of the right-wing?

    No. What Kessler is espousing is the neo-liberal (i.e. ‘conservative’) view that if we just stopped giving help to people (i.e. charity, unemployment benefits, welfare, etc) then they would have no choice but to find jobs, and then, magically, they would find jobs.

    But if they did die I doubt Kessler or his ilk would give a shit.

  18. 18
    dingojack

    David Marjanović (#15) – so you’re not au fait with the forestry business?
    ;) Dingo

  19. 19
    velociraptor

    I don’t have enough middle fingers for that guy.

  20. 20
    savagemutt

    There’s a really cynical part of me that thinks his son is just doing the project to pad his college applications. I know its unfair, but given what an asshole the father is, I can’t help it.

  21. 21
    yoav

    No. What Kessler is espousing is the neo-liberal (i.e. ‘conservative’) view that if we just stopped giving help to people (i.e. charity, unemployment benefits, welfare, etc) then they would have no choice but to find jobs, and then, magically, they would find jobs.

    That’s why I’m sure he’s also in favor of eliminating workplace safety regulations, just think of all the new job openings you’ll get every time a poorly maintained valve release toxic gas into an unventilated factory floor with no emergency exits.

  22. 22
    raven

    About 40-50% of the homeless have a mental illness.

    True.

    One kid I went to school with ended up occasionally homeless for a few decades.

    That was after he was banged up riding in the back seat of a car that had a head on collision. The people in the front seat weren’t banged up, they were killed.

    It turned out he ended up with a lobotomy, damage to his prefrontal cortex. Why it took 25 years to diagnose this is a mystery. It should have been obvious. He was in a coma for weeks.

  23. 23
    markmcglone

    Anyone who is willing to work and is serious about it will certainly
    find a job. Only you must not go to the man who tells you this, for he
    has no job to offer and doesn’t know anyone who knows a vacancy. This
    is exactly the reason why he gives you such generous advice, out of
    brotherly love, and to demonstrate how little he knows the world.

    B. Traven, Treasure of the Sierra Madre

  24. 24
    magistramarla

    This reminds me of a letter to the editor that I read in my local paper a couple of days ago.
    The commentary section is inhabited by TP people.
    One guy quite seriously suggested that the problem of childhood obesity could be solved by cutting all food stamp provisions in half and ending the free school lunch program.
    He has obviously never attempted to teach a hungry child.

  25. 25
    Modusoperandi

    Dear Andy Kessler,
     
    France, 1787.
     
    Yours truly,
    Modusoperandi

  26. 26
    Nemo

    I miss Keith. There’s nothing else like a Special Comment.

  27. 27
    stever

    The obvious answer to the “Let them work or starve!” crowd is to point out the occupation of last resort: small-scale crime. If you succeed, you acquire the resources to commit larger crimes and may wind up quite prosperous. Even if you fail, you won’t starve.

  28. 28
    petrefax

    “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist.”
    – Hélder Câmara

  29. 29
    D. C. Sessions

    Well at least it sounds like his son has managed to scrounge up some human decency from somewhere

    And it sounds like Dad is being very clever in his campaign to snuff out that decency.

  30. 30
    D. C. Sessions

    He has obviously never attempted to teach a hungry child.

    Teaching them is another waste of time and money. They should be working.

  31. 31
    John Hinkle

    My 16-year-old son volunteers with an organization that feeds the homeless and fills kits with personal-hygiene supplies for them. It’s a worthwhile project, and I tell him so—but he doesn’t like it when our conversation on the way to his minimum-wage job turns to why these homeless folks aren’t also working. Perhaps, I suggest, because someone is feeding, clothing and, in effect, bathing them?

    I sent that through the translator:

    My 16-year-old son – God, what is his name again? – volunteers with an organization that feeds shiftless lazy bums and does some other shit. It’s a worthless project, and I tell him so, though he doesn’t seem to recognize me when I talk, but he doesn’t like it when I mention I’m so rich and he’s working for minimum wage. I tell him they’re happy someone is feeding, clothing and, in effect, bathing them, and he puts on this big pouty face, like I’m out of touch with the peasants. I tell whatisname, I have a gardener, you know!

  32. 32
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    but he doesn’t like it when our conversation on the way to his minimum-wage job turns to why these homeless folks aren’t also working.

    But some of them do work, you ass-brained baboon.

    Perhaps if clueless rich motherfuckers like you didn’t insist on making absurd profit margin in every venture you invest in and degrade their working conditions so badly they can’t afford both a roof and decent meals, they wouldn’t need to be fed by your vastly morally superior son.

    I don’t have enough middle fingers for that guy.

    You can borrow mine.

  33. 33
    neonsequitur

    The entire human race doesn’t have enough middle fingers to properly salute this douche-rocket.

    Now with that out of the way, I’d like to know how many of the homeless would Mr. Andy “job creator” Kessler be willing to hire if he really gave a fuck about whether they were looking for a job?

  34. 34
    vmanis1

    Well, if they really wanted to work, they would. They’d get jobs as nuclear physicists, or as concert pianists, or as, hmm, hedge fund managers. What? the only job they can get is 19 hours a week at that store whose HQ is in Arkansas? That pays them something like $170 a week, or $680 a month…sure, you can rent a nice place for $250/month. What? they want to live somewhere without rats and cockroaches? They can save up for a condo!

    What crap. And yes, some of the homeless have jobs, they just can’t afford to live somewhere.

  35. 35
    exdrone

    So when Kessler’s son had colic as a baby, did he tell his wife, “He keeps crying for attention because someone keeps feeding, clothing and, in effect, bathing him.”

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