John Stossel’s War on Panhandlers


There is a difference between an “honest” panhandler who is simply a business person who is exploiting the good will and the latent decency of the American people, and those people who are seriously disturbed, dangerous, and need to be locked up for their own good and for our own safety.

Panhandling is one of the older professions, probably the third oldest, right behind prostitution and politicians. That alone is worthy of social commentary in that panhandlers and prostitutes are probably more honest and honorable than politicians.

Here in Ruidoso, one of the sure signs of spring is the arrival of the panhandlers who make the green at the stop light turning into Wallyworld, their own little home away from home.  In the winter they live in Alamogordo, where they can be seen panhandling on 1st, at Texas Avenue at the stoplight out of Wallyworld. They always have an affinity for Wallyworld.

These specific panhandlers are honest independent business people practicing their libertarian values.  They usually have a very well fed and very well groomed golden retriever with them. They are non-threatening.  When more threatening panhandlers try to push them out of their little homestead in the summer, the cops run everyone off, but the regulars are back the next day.  After all, Ruidoso is considered one of the best resorts in the southwest.  In the summer it is at least 20-25 degrees cooler than Alamo.  Who can blame the panhandlers for wanting to go somewhere nice for the summer?

Everyone who lives here knows they are our friendly local panhandlers.  They are not aggressive.  They don’t threaten.  They simply live off the well-meaning donations of the tourists who have nothing better to do with their money. I even have my doubts that this specific couple lives down by the river where the local homeless population lives during the summer.  I suspect they are pulling in at least a hundred bucks a day, and are living far better, making more money, than the hard-working citizens of Ruidoso.

Ruidoso has a very dirty secret.  Like many resort communities the base pay is so low the average person who lives here, with a family, must work at least three jobs.  These are good jobs that would bring in ten to fifteen bucks an hour anywhere else but here.  Someone with a college degree and twenty years experience is lucky to get fifty cents above minimum wage around here.  Panhandlers, in the summer months, have a better chance of making money that the locals do!

The Pink Flamingo has made no secret of my absolute dislike of libertarians.  They remind me of a few of my dour Calvinist ancestors who had no sense of humor.  This is not a discussion about the Puritans and their sometimes lack of morality and intellectual honesty, and their comparison to libertarians.  Rather this is a tongue in cheek snark about Stossel’s extremism and the ultimate libertarian expression.

John Stossel is the ultimate libertarian.  He is so libertarian he doesn’t even want traffic lights, no matter how many lives they save.  He is now targeting good, old fashioned honest panhandlers and bums.

It is all rather sad.

Stossel does not approve of panhandlers and bums.  One wonders if he is not just a little bit jealous.  When you think about it, panhandlers are the ultimate expression of the libertarian philosophy.

  • They don’t pay taxes.
  • They don’t follow government rules.
  • They don’t follow any rules.
  • They are the ultimate expression of freedom.
  • They don’t live by government regulations.
  • They flaunt every rule there is.

Yep – they are libertarians!

They are pure libertarians, the ultimate expression of every libertarian desire, dream, and ideal – absolute freedom.

One would think John Stossel would be celebrating their good old-fashioned Yankee ingenuity rather than slamming him  I think the real problem is that the ultimate libertarian is jealous because he’s been out libertarianed.