And no, regulating these ads isn't in violation of some constitutional right -- as recently as the 1990s, the Food and Drug Administration would only allow these ads on the air if they devoted an equal amount of time to the side effects and risks (which is why you hardly saw such ads before that). So clamping down on them is as simple as, well, standing up to several gigantic corporations who generously donate to political campaigns. Easy!
Free Housing for the Homeless
Homelessness is a difficult problem for society to tackle, because while most of us aren't happy about seeing people living in boxes outside a nightclub, we also don't like the idea of paying the taxes that keep them alive when we have our own rent and bills to pay.
"We can't bus 'em to Canada; that shit costs gas."
Hell, it's hard to even figure out how bad the problem is, since you can't exactly get an accurate count of a population of people who don't have mailing addresses and aren't big on answering surveys.
The Seemingly Obvious Solution:
Okay, we admit that on the surface, this sounds like the same solution a toddler would come up with: "Why not just give them houses?" And we have no intention of turning this into a "free government mansions for everyone!" liberal manifesto. The fact is that it appears giving homeless people a place to live saves taxpayers money.
You see, homelessness is already expensive as hell -- the cost of being a benevolent society that supports its homeless rather than pitting them against each other in hobo arena battles is that each individual homeless person can cost taxpayers as much as $41,000 a year (particularly in cases where said homeless person has severe mental health issues, as many of them do). As a society, we've already decided that "let them die" isn't acceptable, but that means we have to bear the costs of a population with health problems caused by exposure to the elements and eating whatever food the rats have already rejected.
Cathy Keifer/iStock/Getty Images
"This is my Burger King. You can have that bag of Arby's shit."
So as counterintuitive as it might sound, paying to put the homeless in homes is cheaper for the taxpayer than keeping them on the street. This is mainly because people living indoors, with running water, refrigeration, and heating, are much healthier. After all, they're no longer bathing in storm drains, eating dumpster pizza, and using pillows made from duffel bags full of their own poop. Not only that, but they're less inclined to fake illnesses or commit crimes just to get a warm hospital or prison bed on the government's dime.
And a hospital tends to be much more expensive than rent, on account of the fact that your apartment probably doesn't have a team of high-paid medical professionals looking after you 24 hours a day. In areas such as Nashville, where some organizations are trialing the homes for hobos concept, they found that even the chronically ill or mentally unstable cost the government less if they're in a home than if they're on a park bench -- one estimate puts it at $16,281 less per year.
Including $205 on bench pee cleaning alone.
And for people worried about the creepy guy who yells gibberish at invisible gnomes moving in next door to you, the homeless do tend to mellow out when they have four walls and a bed. Sure, it's not like alcoholics immediately pour all the hooch down the drain as soon as they sign a lease, but most people who are granted a second chance tend to put the effort in. Research has shown that around 85 percent of homeless in Philadelphia who are given housing and support are unlikely to become homeless again.
But let's face it: the real obstacle to this isn't the government, it's us. We simply can't stand the thought of somebody staying in a house rent-free while we bust our ass to pay our mortgage every month. So, we'll continue to pay the premium to keep them on the streets, out of spite.
For more answers to problems we all encounter, check out 4 Insane Solutions to America's Biggest Problems and 4 Easy Solutions To Problems We All Complain About.
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