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Homeless need not always be with us

Marion Syrek Oakland
Thursday November 29, 2001


I see by your account of Ann Fagan Ginger’s recent speech that when she asked if any member of the audience knew how to solve the homeless problem, no hands went up. Every social problem has a rational solution. Ending homelessness is mainly a matter of closing the gap between incomes that are too low and rents that are too high. For starters, we could roll back rents by 10 percent and raise wages by 10 percent. 

Of course, some people will complain that every landlord has a God-given right to raise rents, and every employer has a God-given right to reduce costs, including wages. Well, there was a time when kings and emperors claimed a divine right to rule their subjects any way they saw fit. But monarchs are now almost obsolete, except for Britain and a few other backward countries. 

And there was a time when some people felt they had the God-given right to own slaves. But chattel-slavery is now virtually extinct, although wage-slavery is still widespread. But some of us are working to eliminate it. 

You would think that people who claim God-given rights would feel some obligation to present some evidence that their god actually exists. But they never do. 

But the “right of the people to alter or abolish” undesirable conditions does exist. If we are organized to make use of it. 

Marion Syrek