The plain facts are shocking. Nine thousand families are currently homeless in New York City, the highest number on record. Indeed, homelessness is rising across the country as jobs vanish, incomes shrink and families are forced onto the streets. Meanwhile, George W. Bush is spending the astounding sum of $4 billion a month in taxpayers’ money to keep 146,000 U.S. troops in Iraq-troops who are being murdered on a daily basis, with over 70 dead American soldiers since the war ended on May 1 and no foreseeable improvement. This confusion of priorities is an embarrassment to this country and Mr. Bush’s Presidency. If Mr. Bush had true courage instead of bravado, he would direct the $4 billion a month to poverty programs throughout America. And he would be looking at a very different legacy. As it is, he’s losing the battle both overseas and here at home.
Many New Yorkers may be stunned to learn that homelessness has again edged its way into crisis mode. As The New York Times recently reported, there are nearly twice as many homeless families and children in the city as there were just five years ago. Altogether, more than 38,000 New Yorkers-including over 16,500 children-are spending this summer sleeping in shelters. On the bright side, the city has taken legal steps to move homeless families into permanent housing more quickly. The Times reports that in the first three weeks of June, 435 families were placed in housing, a 61 percent increase from last year. But bolder steps-and bigger dollars-are urgently needed. More and more, New Yorkers who are actively employed are nevertheless tumbling into homelessness: 20 percent of homeless families currently have a working head of the household, compared with 10 percent in the 1980′s.
In addition to the suffering endured by single adults and families who find themselves without a home, an epidemic of homelessness can have a profound impact on the city’s public image and hence its economic base. Tourists are less likely to visit, and residents more likely to move to the suburbs, when confronted by the sight of people sleeping in the streets and subways. Some of the homeless may resort to criminal activity in an attempt to better their plight. It’s not just a New York problem-cities across the country are becoming collection points for the homeless, yet there is no federal effort to ameliorate this problem .
The Bush administration is clearly failing in its effort to stabilize Iraq, while succeeding in destabilizing the condition of the poor in the United States. How about this: Just the interest on the moneys spent in Iraq over the next four years would provide housing for a million homeless people .
Al Sharpton: Tax Cheat, Presidential Candidate
Imagine if Richard Gephardt had been indicted on income-tax fraud. Imagine if Bob Graham had pleaded guilty to not filing an income-tax return. Imagine if Senator John Kerry, or any legitimate candidate for President, admitted that he or she hadn’t filed tax returns for several years running.
They would, of course, be disqualified instantly from this year’s Presidential campaign. They’d be forced to resign their offices amid a clamor of outrage. And, naturally, they would suffer the worst humiliation of all: They would be laughed at.
Oddly, nobody is laughing at Al Sharpton, although he is worse than a laughingstock. Nobody is demanding that he drop the absurd notion that he is an authentic candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination. Nobody has asked that he resign from his position at the so-called National Action Network, an alleged social- service organization that exists to provide Mr. Sharpton with the means to buy those nice suits he’s been wearing lately.
And yet Mr. Sharpton has the exact tax history outlined above: He was indicted once, he pled guilty once and, yes, he casually admitted to not filing taxes from 1998 to 2000. Now comes word that the Internal Revenue Service is investigating his tax record, or lack thereof. It’s about time.
According to his federal election report-which he did manage to file, no doubt because without it, he can’t get public campaign dollars-Mr. Sharpton made nearly $400,000 last year in various enterprises, all of which ample justice to the adjective “dubious.” The election report doesn’t tell us who paid him honoraria last year because, darn the luck, a fire at his headquarters destroyed his records. Apparently, Mr. Sharpton doesn’t keep an extra set of records just in case. We may never know who he really works for when he’s not in Liberia or Vieques.
Al Sharpton is the beneficiary of a despicable double standard in American public life. He is considered exempt from the rules that would apply to any other candidate in public life. Why? The answer is obvious.
His candidacy is more than absurd; it is an affront to the very community he claims to represent. The nation’s African-American community has given us leaders like Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Congressman John Lewis. In New York, black leaders like Brooklyn’s Major Owens and Manhattan’s Charles Rangel are serious, engaged people who have earned the respect and admiration of the community.
But it is Al Sharpton, confessed tax cheat and pal to anti-Semites, who presumes to speak for the nation’s black men and women as a Presidential candidate.
It is more than absurd. It is pathetic, and sad.
Women Are Better Bosses
If you want to improve the productivity, morale and skills of your company’s work force, new research indicates there’s an easy solution: give the top job to a woman. A wide-ranging study conducted by psychologists at Northwestern University found that, in equivalent management positions, women are better, more effective leaders than men.
As reported by the American Psychological Association’s Monitor on Psychology , the research indicates that there tend to be three types of leader: “transformational” leaders, who inspire workers and raise their skill levels, thereby creating a happier, more productive office; “transactional” leaders, who use reward and punishment as a management technique; and “laissez-faire” leaders, who basically let things run on their own, with predictable results. It turns out that women are more likely to be transformational leaders, while men-perhaps because they’re less comfortable with human interaction-tend to be either transactional or laissez-faire leaders. And even when women bosses have a transactional approach, they tend to be better at rewarding employees for good work, which fosters productivity. The researchers speculate that women may be better bosses because they’ve had to work harder to get there, and so have developed a greater variety of interpersonal strategies.
Of course, none of this is new. Every married man knows who the real boss is.