January 8th, 2009 at 11:47 am
I am going to agree completely with Patriot Paul and Shorebreak here. Those disagreeing maybe need to consider the nuance in what is being said.
I completely support the right of any individual to be out in public marketing their desire to get paid for nothing. I completely support people opting to give directly to charities that support worthy individuals and causes and often have safeguards or qualifications to make sure the money is put to proper use.
To the extent that anyone impedes someones progress or harasses someone though, then they have violated the rights of another individual and that should be actionable as a legitimate role of “the state” is to protect the rights of individuals (from violation by others, including the state [a collection of 'others']).
Obviously, the issue here is that there is money to be made doing this so it is a profitable endeavor [especially given the, presumably, tax 'unreported' status of the earnings]. This income being unreported, also means they likely are qualifying for government assistance/welfare programs as well.
Several things fix this problem right away. (A) don’t give them money and (B) tax consumption instead of income and (C) enforce any existing laws, especially repeat offenses, when they impede the progress of individuals or cause some other problem and (D) scale back the welfare state. Item B would reduce the benefit to operating outside of the mainstream economy. Remember $15 an hour tax free is like making $20 or $25 fully taxable.
States or cities with better (or longer lasting) welfare benefits can become a magnet for people working the system [which not everyone is doing - but some]. Reduce the strength of the magnet and the pull to other places becomes greater.
I hate being bothered by panhandlers as well, but to the extent they do not violate my rights I can make no argument against their activities. One thought, perhaps, is a law barring someone self-employed in the panhandling business from receiving welfare benefits… that might be easier to get behind.
And, regarding a comment regarding frequency of panhandler interaction at gas stations:
January 8th, 2009 at 12:01 pm
Melyssa, when you go out in public it can be argued that you consent to encountering other people. Other people, however, have no right to accost you, impede your progress or intimidate someone.
A gas station owner (or its empowered management) has a right to request someone leave their property. The state has no right to dictate who that property may or may not allow there so long as no one’s rights are being violated.