Stossel: Homeless People are Faking It

Fox News’ John Stossel presented his latest bit of vile “reporting” to tweedledum, tweedledummer and tweedledumbest (the Fox morning show team of Brian Kilmeade, Steve Doocy and Elizabeth Hasselbeck) and revealed just what a horrible human being he really is.

He dressed up as a homeless person and begged for money for an hour. One hour. And he got a little over 10 bucks, so he extrapolates that out and says, “If I did this for an eight-hour day I would’ve made 90 bucks. Twenty-three thou for a year. Tax-free.” Well yes John, if your extrapolations are correct, you could sit outside all day every day, freezing in the winter and boiling in the summer, risking death in any number of ways and publicly humiliating yourself and make “23 thou.” And on that incredibly flimsy basis he says that most homeless people are just faking it and therefore you shouldn’t give them money. He offers not a shred of evidence for this, of course. In fact, the only person here who is faking it is him. Seriously, you’re pretty much a failure as a human being.

33 comments on this post.
  1. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!:

    In fact, the only person here who is faking it is him. Seriously, you’re pretty much a failure as a human being.

    Only pretty much?

    I’d say totally personally!

  2. zmidponk:

    Interesting. This is the same John Stossel who reckons raising the minimum wage, and even having such a thing, is completely wrong, yet, if what he says here is accurate, you can make much more begging than minimum wage workers do by working.

  3. Pen:

    For his next move, he needs to go and try to rent an apartment on the basis of his projected income. No doubt, the bank with whom he tries to open an account will waive their requirement for an address when they realise how much he’ll be making. Or his prospective landlord won’t be that bothered about a bank account initially, for the same reasons. No doubt he can get a reference from one of the people who gave him money. If he promises to be out there working an 8 hour day that is.

    Obviously, if he wants to change careers he’s going to need the address, bank account and 8 hour days as a pre-requisite (+phone and internet access). Then, in his spare time, he can start looking for a different kind of job*.

    *I haven’t quite been there, but near enough to know how these things work.

  4. dogmeat:

    Wow,

    Government shouldn’t be relied upon to help the poor, but charities shouldn’t be trusted either? It’s as close to “fuck the poor” as I’ve seen them actually say.

    I love how he extrapolates an hour into an entire day. What hour of the day was he “working?” Was it part of rush hour? Wouldn’t that skew his numbers? Was he in a wealthier area? Wouldn’t that also skew his results? This guy is allegedly a numbers guy, but he throws these numbers together with no real effort to make them meaningful. He then slams charities without any evidence presented whatsoever and presents his own charities that he “trusts” except the one cleans Central Park… a charity? The last comment where he talks about being a homeless person means you make more than minimum wage is especially enlightening. He doesn’t take away the idea that perhaps minimum wage is too low, which again shows he’s a rather nasty human being.

  5. myeck waters:

    “Donors should be weary of who they give money?” Does FNC not even bother hiring people who are literate?

  6. D. C. Sessions:

    Remember, people: before giving money to panhandlers, always run a credit check on them.

  7. scienceavenger:

    Holy crap, where to start. He decided one group was legit because they had a “spring in their step”. Yeah, that’s scientific. He sees it as bad that people still gave when the sign said “Why lie, I need a beer”?! Even in my hardcore Objectivist days I once bought a guy with such a sign a beer. I figured honesty should be rewarded. Most homeless are fake? On what is this based? Or is this just another wingnut “fact” yanked from their ass?

    Finally, getting $23k a year proves what exactly (assuming for a moment his 1-hr extrapolation is remotely reasonable)? That’s not jack shit, especially in a city like New York. And yeah, if you can collect more on the street than the minimum wage, the minimum wage needs to be raised. In fact, I’m thinking that wouldn’t be a bad way to determine the absolute floor of what the minimum wage should be.

  8. beezlebubby:

    I usually don’t engage in violent fantasies, but I’d love to kick him in the ass so hard that I can use him as a snow shoe.

  9. tfkreference:

    And they also said it was horrible that bonuses were going to be denied to people who make $250,000 per year, because that’s basically poverty line (you remember those people – the ones who ruined the economy a few years back).

  10. reasonbe:

    wow. Stossel has really got his Fox bona fides in order. But he’s masquerading as a journalist in a company masquerading as a news organization. A rational person in his position would feel oh-so-slimey. “I feel slimey deep inside, but the pay and exposure are great!”

  11. reasonbe:

    …and a statistician, too!

  12. velociraptor:

    @8

    Where is David Schultz when you need him?

  13. raven:

    He dressed up as a homeless person and begged for money for an hour. One hour. And he got a little over 10 bucks,…

    Think that really happened? Remember lying is one of their main sacraments. I wouldn’t believe it without documentation.

    Not too long ago, I accidently caught 5 minutes of Fox News. Some guy named N. Cavuto was just flat out lying about something. He even looked like he was lying. Wouldn’t even look straight at the camera.

  14. Modusoperandi:

    Are you self-centered? A sociopath? Ignorant? Vicious?

    Congratulations! We’ve got a channel just for you!

  15. caseloweraz:

    Scenes I’d like to see:

    Responding to viewer comments, John Stossel repeats his imposture as a homeless person. Only now, instead of spending one hour in a prime downtown spot at rush hour just a few days before Thanksgiving, he waits for the Christian holiday season to pass.

    Instead, he sets up in January on the city’s south side, in a place where the homeless outnumber potential donors at most times of the day, and most of the donors avert their faces and hurry by with their coats wrapped more tightly around them. He starts on a heating system vent, but is soon ousted from this prime location by a big smelly guy with bad teeth. As a result, his take for the hour is a mere $1.20: far less than the ten dollars he got in his first run.

    Stossel, reporting on this outcome with heavy makeup to hide a bruise* on his cheek, said only, “I guess I was wrong.”

    *Yes, I entertained thoughts of having him accuse the homeless man of faking it and getting an “Is that real?” slap.

  16. caseloweraz:

    Of course there’s the all too obvious riposte:

    Fox News warns against giving money to the poor because this leaves less for the rich.

  17. caseloweraz:

    In fairness, I note that Stossel also cautions against giving cash because this might support a drug or alcohol habit. He’s right about that, and many advocates for the homeless say it’s better to take the homeless person to a fast food place and buy them a hot meal.

  18. Modusoperandi:

    Too bad [homeless] John Stossel didn’t meet John Stossel. Maybe then John Stossel would realize what an asshole John Stossel is.

  19. Donnie:

    @4 dogmeat: Are you crazy? Panhandling in a wealthy area? that would get you arrested, sir and put in jail. See, a home…..there is not homelessness in America – just unarrested poor people.

    Interesting, he did just advocate that all minimum wage workers should quit and start begging if they wished to earn more money.

  20. Nemo:

    Minor point, but he doesn’t seem to understand tax law, either. Just because income tax wouldn’t be withheld in this situation doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be owed, and it’s perfectly possible even for a homeless person to file a returm. (Granted, I’m real life, they probably wouldn’t make enough to be required to file. But I don’t think that’s the sense of “tax-free” that Stossel had in mind.) He just presumes they wouldn’t pay taxes, because he sees them as criminals.

  21. Nemo:

    I’m = in

  22. Mr Ed:

    Do you smell that, I smell Pulitzer prize. All John has to do is take it the next step, go 30 or 90 days as a homeless person. Just like in Supersize me, get a baseline and then send him out on the streets with nothing but the clothes on his back and a GPS tracker. No ID, no money nothing, if he takes a regular prescription let him get it himself or find an alternative. The GPS can be used so his film crew can find him and get periodic footage and updates. Then at the end of the test another round of test to see how much more healthy he is. I bet 90 days just panhandling will reduce his stress levels and he will be twenty years younger.

  23. theguy:

    “And on that incredibly flimsy basis he says that most homeless people are just faking it and therefore you shouldn’t give them money.”

    Not to mention the approximately 40% of homeless people who are LGBT:

    http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/07/12/515641/study-40-percent-of-homeless-youth-are-lgbt-family-rejection-is-leading-cause/

    I’m going to assume Stossel has no sympathy for them, either. Oh, but I guess they don’t need money either? They’re just rolling it in after being forced out of their homes.

    /sarcasm

  24. Gretchen:

    In fairness, I note that Stossel also cautions against giving cash because this might support a drug or alcohol habit. He’s right about that, and many advocates for the homeless say it’s better to take the homeless person to a fast food place and buy them a hot meal.

    Because god knows, the last thing we want to give a homeless person is the choice between a hot meal and a temporary mental escape from the hell of living on the street.

  25. Abby Normal:

    There’s a fun scene in With Honors with Joe Pesci playing a homeless man. He’s in court on charges of vagrancy and trespassing. From memory:

    Pesci: As I taxpayer I demand trial by jury.
    Judge: And when pray tell was the last time you paid taxes?
    Pesci: Four times last week.
    Judge: You paid your taxes four times?
    Pesci: Yes Judge, there’s a federal, state, and local tax on wine.

  26. adobo:

    Ah, the Libertarian ethos in its majesty. You can smell the psychopath a mile away!

  27. kacyray:

    Question: How can you tell the difference between a con man hustling a buck and a person genuinely in need?

  28. dingojack:

    kacyray – The former looks a lot like John Stossel….
    Dingo

  29. foolish wolf:

    “Of course there’s the all too obvious riposte:

    Fox News warns against giving money to the poor because this leaves less for the rich.”
    caseloweraz

    I’d probably have gone with a line about the “con” that is wealth redistribution…

    Also, here’s my favourite comic on the subject of extrapolating: http://xkcd.com/605/

  30. democommie:

    @17&24:

    Conversely one might buy a breakfast or other sandwich and a beverage and hand it to that person they meet on their way out of the commuter rail stop or standing on the median/ttraffic island AND a buck or two.

    John Stossel apparently realized, much like Dennis Miller did back about twenty years or so, that there was a lot more money in being a noxious assholelapdog for the MurKKKan ReiKKKwing than there was in being a decent human being.

    I wouldn’t be satisfied with footage of him in Couture Salvation Army; I’d need to see people avoiding him because he reeks of livin’ rough. I wonder if he had a de-manicure before he went out on the street.

    I don’t know when he got smacked by the wrestler (yeah, that looked “fake”, Johnboy, no blood!) but maybe he’s suffering from delayed onset cerebral injury. Otoh, maybe he’s just a fuckin’ crackhead.

  31. dingojack:

    Fox seems to think The Man with the Crookd Lip is a hard-hitting documentary on fakers in Victorian London.
    @@
    Dingo
    ——-
    I wonder how much Benny Hinn gets per hour? Musta missd the Fox exposé on him.

  32. kacyray:

    @28 dingo – Good point.

    I guess I just felt, reading this blog post, that while Stossel is a tool and his entire bit on that segment was freaking stupid, I personally quit giving money to people who asked for because, in my younger years, I had so many people take advantage of my generosity.

    Growing up in Miami, I encountered so many street hustlers that I began to realize that hustling is a bona-fide way of life for many. They devise a script that is intended to disarm their target and make them seem somehow different that all the others out there doing it, then they assure you that they hate to ask you what they’re about to ask you, then they hit you up for money.

    A lot of times the embellish it with assurances that they’d like to be working and that if you offer them a job, they’d take it. 20 years ago I was working at a recycling plant, and we hired temp workers all the time. I would encounter these guys as I was going around picking up the bins at night, and I’d tell them “Look, here’s something for now – be here tomorrow morning at 8 and I’ll pick you up in this truck and you’ll have a job.” They’d always give me the grandest assurances and of course, they’d never be there.

    Over time I began to realize how naive I was being. These guys were not out on their luck. They were doing exactly what they wanted to be doing. Hustling is a way of life for them. In fact, it is part of their game to make themselves appear as though they are an exception – a person who is genuinely out on their luck – and not a hustler.

    I resolved never to give another penny to anyone who ever asked for it.

    And that’s why I asked…. how can you the difference? As far as I can tell, you can’t.

    (There is one exception: My friend and I once found ourselves stuck. We needed gas money or we weren’t getting back. My friend did go and try to ask for some gas money from someone. He offered his watch in return for a little gas money. The guy he asked gave a couple bucks and refused the watch. If I ever encountered someone who made such an honest attempt to offer something in return for help, I would help them [if I could] and likely refuse whatever they were offering.)

    Again, Stossel is a tool… but I think that to presume everyone who is out on the street is there because they were kept down by “the man” or because they didn’t choose to be there is a bit naive. Many of them will have it no other way.

  33. democommie:

    @32:

    ” resolved never to give another penny to anyone who ever asked for it.”

    Add “cheap, judgmental prick” to your resume, Racy.

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