Friday, May 23, 2008
This cartoon was inspired by a recent State Journal article on State Street panhandlers. The figure $10-$15 an hour was reported in the story.
When I heard that these bums can rake in $10-$15 an hour I got livid. What the heck is anybody's motivation to work at McDonald's if they can pull down more asking naive college kids for money.
Heck, I don't make that much as a cartoonist, maybe I should go shake a cup for a couple of hours everyday to supplement my income.
But here in Madison one has to be careful about complaining that we shouldn't be supporting transients addiction problems a couple of the nickels at a time.
More annoying than the panhandlers are those Madison liberals, like my Alder and neighbor Brenda Konkel pictured in the cartoon, who complain that those of us who don't like being aggressively pestered for money or object to loud outbursts of profanity in public, are somehow intolerant.
I'm a pretty compassionate person, but I have little sympathy for the panhandlers on State Street. First of all, many of them are not homeless, and in fact, live in my near-eastside neighborhood. Secondly, there are a plethora of public services available to those in need in Madison, dutifully paid for by tax dollars and private donations. And we're not talking about prisons and workhouses.
Especially in Madison, there are all sort of groups that provide those who want to get back on their feet, with housing, food, and job training. Considering the services available, I have no reason to believe that throwing some spare change into a cup is anything but enabling someone destructive addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Furthermore, the dollars in that ends up in a paper cup, are dollars that won't be going to groups likes the United Way, Good Will or the YWCA, that are truly trying to help people who are down on their luck, and willing to help themselves.