Economic Update: Homelessness in the U.S.

RICHARD WOLFF: Welcome, friends, to another
edition of Economic Update, a weekly program devoted to the economic dimensions of our
lives: debts, incomes, our jobs, those of our children, those looming down the road. I’m your host Richard Wolff. I want to begin today by noting a very old
blame game that is circulating around the major capitalist economies. It’s not a new thing, but it’s important to
realize that it’s an old thing being recycled yet again. So let’s start with the United States, with
Mr. Trump and the Republican Party. Who are they blaming for the difficulties
of the United States? Here we go: immigrants, the Chinese, our trading
partners, and now also African Americans – because they are responsible for the decline of, say,
Baltimore – and also, of course, his political opponents. Notice what’s missing: the capitalist economic
system, no blame at all. Let’s shift then to England. They have a new leader, Boris Johnson. What does he do? Hmm, it’ll come as a surprise. He blames immigrants and other foreigners,
in his case Europeans, with a little China bashing thrown in for good, and his political
opponents. Same story, same blame game, same exemption
– nothing wrong with the economic system. And in the European Union, you basically get
the same thing. Depending on which of the many countries in
the European Union you look at, they either blame the United States-China trade war, or
immigrants, or their political opponents, left or right. In France, the leader, Macron, blames the
yellow-vest movement that has shaken France for the last several months. In Germany, Angela Merkel, on her way out,
blames the far right, the resurgence of a fascism in Germany that is truly scary. In all of these kinds of things, there’s always
a grain of truth. There are problems for these societies that
come from immigrants, and from the Chinese trade wars, and so on, but the really interesting
thing is they’re not facing the problems of an economic system in decline. Capitalism in Western Europe, North America,
and Japan is having more and more troubles as an economic system as it serves a smaller
and smaller, rich minority at the expense of everybody else. But it’s a job of all of these politicians
to point the finger everywhere else but there. It’s a blame game; you shouldn’t be fooled. Then my eyes and ears were caught by a remarkable
piece of reporting done by The Wall Street Journal, to give them credit, and based on
the work of a professor of law at the Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., by the name
of Adam Levitin. Here’s what he did: A simple exercise, but
boy does it tell a lot. He asked how much has the median income of
an American family changed over the last 30 years, counting from 1987 to 2017 – a nice
period of 30 years we can look at. And he said, I want to see how much income
the 50 percent middle of the American distribution of income, how has it changed over those 30
years? And here’s what he found: When you adjust
for inflation, in other words you adjust for the fact that prices went up, the median income
of an American family went up 14 percent in 30 years. That’s less than one half of one percent of
a real increase, on average, for an American family. In other words, very little at all. And then he said, I’m going to look at three
specific other things that American families have to pay for, to see what happened to them,
because it’ll give us an insight. And here’s what he found – and I’m going
to give you the exact numbers: Housing prices, one of the most important things anybody spends
money on, over the same 30 years, 1987 to 2017, went up – ready? – adjusted for inflation, that taking account
of rising general prices, it went up – ready? – not 14 percent, that’s what people’s income
went up. Two hundred and ninety percent. That’s right, triple. So the cost of housing has taken a bigger
and bigger chunk out of Americans’ income. They’re still living in the same place – they’re
sleeping there and eating there – but the amount of their income they have to spend
to be able to do those things has dramatically increased. Then he looked at public – public – four-year
colleges. They’re cheaper, in general, than private. How far did they go up, over the same 30-year
period, adjusting for inflation? And here’s what he found: that those kinds
of costs went up 311 percent. They went up even faster than housing. So if you want to live somewhere, and you
want your kids to go to college, oh boy have you had to cut back on other things to pay
for those things. And finally, he looked at per-person healthcare
expenditures, and they went up 51 percent, compared to the income that went up 14 percent. In other words, those three things – housing,
college education, and personal health care – really took more and more out of people,
leaving less and less for everything else. And that’s the reality people have lived in
the United States. And why? Because our economic system doesn’t produce
housing at a rate that will allow people to live in a home without being gouged this way. And what about college? Because our system doesn’t provide the funding
for four-year public colleges that it used to provide, more and more of the payment for
that education has to come out of the family sending their children to school. And in health care, well, we talk about that
all the time: the medical industrial complex jacking up the prices of your drug, of your
hospital stay, of your doctor, of your medical insurance. And then you can see the squeezing of the
American family, as these three messed-up parts of our economy eat up more of the real
income Americans have. It is something to understand how this system
gets down low into the individual lives we all lead, to cause us the pain and the difficulty
that’s showing up in such anger in our culture these days. I want to turn next to an idea coming from
a number of the Democratic folks looking to be the Democratic candidate for president
in 2020. And they’re talking about co-determination. This comes from Germany. In German it’s called mitbestimmung, and here’s
what it means. That the idea in Germany – and this has
been true in Germany for decades – is that because workers, employees, are affected in
every business where they’re employed, they ought to have a say – it’s a notion of democracy
– in the decisions made in that business. So the way the Germans worked that out, with
their commitment to democracy, was to say that a certain number of seats on the board
of directors of every company have to be filled by workers who are elected to those positions
by other workers. So that in most large German corporations
for sure, a little under 50 percent, less than 50 percent, of board-of-directors seats
are filled by workers who are elected by other workers. And it’s a notion of stakeholders. The workers should be represented because
they have to live with the decisions the board of directors in any company makes, so they
should be there. In the United States, of course, we have none
of that. The vast majority of boards of directors have
never had a worker on them, and those that have had any of it have had one, or maybe
sometimes two. So you see that it’s absent in the United
States, which is why the idea is coming. But lest anyone get too carried away with
the novelty of this idea – now that you know it isn’t a novelty at all; it exists
in Germany, which has been a very successful capitalist economy – let’s remember, this
is a minor reform. Sure, it’s better than having no workers,
but it reminds me of the history of when we got rid of monarchy and kings. When kings used to rule us, particularly here
in the Western world, there were no parliaments. The king did whatever he wanted, and nobody
could do anything about it. People got angry and upset because they had
to live with the king’s decisions, but had no power over them, so they pressed to have
a parliament. The king refused, and when he couldn’t refuse
anymore, he allowed a parliament, but he wouldn’t be bound by anything the parliament decided. So then the parliament pushed for more, and
eventually, you know what happened? The parliament took all the power and eliminated
the king. There are no more kings, except in a few countries
that haven’t made it that far yet. It’s the same story here. The workers, and the community, and the customers
of a business are the ones who care most about it and who depend on it, and they ought to
be the ones making the decisions, not simply the people who bought shares in the company. The idea that they alone should make all the
decisions – which is how it is in the United States and in so many other parts of the world
– is the weird idea. Like kingdom, that ought not to exist in the
larger society, why do we have little kingdoms inside our workplaces? And that issue is being broached, at least
a little bit, by talking about co-determination, the workers participating in shaping what
corporations do. It’s long overdue. My last update, that we’ll have time for today,
has to do with what I think is a lesson given to the whole of the American population, and
maybe even the world, by the courageous and politically active people of Puerto Rico,
who don’t get anywhere near the attention and the credit they deserve. The people of Puerto Rico have been suffering
from decades of the problem of being a kind of colony of the United States, even though
we don’t call it that. Of putting into power there people who are
often very, very corrupt. They suffered terribly and disproportionately
in Puerto Rico from the capitalist collapse of 2008. They suffered disproportionately the austerity
afterward. The Trump administration, particularly, has
been very hesitant to provide the support, to this day, that this society needs. They got very badly hurt by Hurricane Maria
– many of you will remember that – afterwards. And then they finally have this leader, recently,
Rossello, Governor Rossello, who was caught, by good reporters, being misogynistic, homophobic,
and corrupt. The FBI arrested people in the cabinet, and
so on. And the people of Puerto Rico had too much:
too many decades of corruption, too many decades of American domination and control without
the benefits that were supposed to come with that, disaster from the collapse of capitalism,
from the hurricane, and very little help of the sort that was needed, and of the help
they got, many of it sidelined into the corruption that has been endemic there. So they went into the streets. For a week or two. First 50,000, then 100,000, then 500,000. And guess what. After everyone said this would make no difference,
going into the streets, it made all the difference in the world. Governor Rossello is gone. His term wasn’t over, but the people said
yeah, it is over, bye-bye, you’re gone. And they’re now keeping their activity going;
they want to make a fundamental change. The lesson here? Political action in the street made the difference
nothing else has. They made a statement, the people of Puerto
Rico, that others around the world – including on the mainland – might want to think about. And in that final thought about Puerto Rico,
Jeff Stein of The Washington Post pointed out a wonderful statistic. You know, a lot has been said about Venezuela
and how bad the conditions are there, that something like 13 percent, the U.N. says,
of people from Venezuela left Venezuela because the conditions are so poor. And the enemies of Venezuela have liked to
use that number. Mr. Stein quotes the U.N., saying the percentage
of people that have left Puerto Rico, just since 2008, isn’t the 13 percent that Venezuelans
are leaving; it’s 15 percent. The people of Puerto Rico are in worse shape
than the people of Venezuela. Puerto Rico is protected by the United States,
and Venezuela is attacked by the United States. Think about it. We’ve come to the end of the first half. Please stay with us for a remarkable interview
that will follow shortly. Please remember to subscribe to our YouTube
channel, which is an enormous source of support and help to us, make use of our websites,
rdwolff (with two F’s).com and And, as always, special thanks to our Patreon
community for the continuing support you provide, which is crucial for everything we do. Stay with us; we’ll be right back. WOLFF: Welcome back, friends, to the second
half of Economic Update. It is my pleasure to welcome back to our cameras
and microphones a friend of mine, Rob Robinson. He is a very active citizen here in the city
of New York. He works particularly on all kinds of rights
organizations – social rights, economic rights – but with a particular emphasis
on homelessness, on the right to the land, the right to housing. He’s been doing that here in the New York
area, but he also does it all over the United States. He’s worked with the City of New York, he’s
worked with the United Nations, has been active in Brazil, in Spain. He really is a kind of expert who even has
his own personal experience to build on, on working on this question. So I’ve asked him to come today and talk with
us about homelessness in the United States. Rob, welcome very much. ROBINSON: Thank you. Thanks for having me. WOLFF: All right, start by giving us a thumbnail,
your overview of the homelessness problem in the United States, right now, 2019. ROBINSON: I think it’s a huge problem. During the Obama administration, it was a
focus; they identified it as a huge problem in this country. We had, nationwide, when Obama first took
office, about two million homeless people, and a considerable chunk of that was veterans. And it was a focus on veterans’ homelessness,
as they created what is called the Interagency Council on Homelessness – 30 U.S. agencies
coming together to combat this issue and hopefully end it in 10 years, by 2020. I think in some aspects, they’ve attempted
to do a good job, but this is government having to meet each other at different levels – local,
federal, and state – and that’s been somewhat of a problem. WOLFF: Is it getting better? Getting worse? What’s your sense? ROBINSON: My sense is it’s getting worse,
Rick, and there are a number of factors that feed into it. Wages don’t rise as fast as rents. That’s a fundamental issue in this country. There was just a study released that said
wages, including inflation, haven’t grown over the last 20 years. As a matter of fact, rents have grown at five
times the rate of wages over the last 20 years. That’s problematic; people can’t keep up. And it pulls the working class or the middle
class into homelessness, the working class into homelessness. So it’s a big problem in this country. WOLFF: Yeah, it’s always struck me as very
fundamental economics here. I mean, people become homeless because the
relationship between the income they have and what it costs to have a home isn’t working. So it’s like a direct barometer of a dysfunctioning
economy that isn’t creating jobs and incomes adequate to what people need. ROBINSON: Absolutely. And there’s the underlying problem of poverty
never being addressed in this country. There are folks that were born in poverty,
lived through poverty, continue to live through poverty, and will need some type of a subsidy
to maintain a certain level of living, a certain standard of living here. And they just can’t make it on its own, for
some of the reasons that you just labeled. There are no good jobs out there. You know, in this country the job base has
been eroded by manufacturing moving outside of the U.S. and to other countries around
the world, where those companies are exploiting labor in those other countries. WOLFF: Would you say there is or there isn’t
a government program, at any level – local, state or federal – to deal with this? I mean you hear this, that and the other thing,
but is there anything – particularly under the Trump administration – any kind of dealing
with this? ROBINSON: Well, I think under the Trump administration,
there’s no focus on it, but, you know, prior administrations have to take some of that
blame also. You hear the Democrats – there are 24, 25
running now, you know – and none of them are speaking about this issue, right? So it’s going to take a ground-up effort to
bring this into the forefront. I think that’s part of the problem, why people
just aren’t talking about this, because basically we’ve shamed you in this country if you run
into that problem. And if you can’t, you know, you can’t pick
yourself up by your bootstraps in this country, you’re a failure; it’s your fault. But they don’t look at the underlying causes
of it, and I think those are the problems in this country – right? – not being addressed from a fundamental
point of view. WOLFF: Is anything happening among the homeless
themselves? Are there movements developing? Are there efforts? Or is everybody just dealing with it as an
individual problem, living on the street, or living in a shelter. I’m always struck in America that people tend
to think that these problems can be solved individually, each individual can somehow
escape or somehow get out of it without seeing that there’s a social problem when you’re
talking about millions of people. ROBINSON: Right. Well, I think that’s where it has to be addressed,
that there has to be popular and political education, to make people understand the root
causes of this issue, right? Again, we’ll go back to the shaming issue. People don’t talk about it because they’ve
been shamed into it. You’ve heard me say in the past, yeah, I lived
through this, and I understand the social causes, and we try in this country as best
we can to paint this issue with a broad brush, right? You’re homeless because you don’t want to
work, you’re homeless because you don’t have an education, you’re homeless because you
have mental illness, you’re homeless because you have a chemical or an alcohol addiction. So we paint everybody in a corner, and people
are shamed by that and won’t talk about it, don’t want to discuss it even amongst close
family and friends. They just don’t talk about it. I made it a point after I came out of homelessness
to say okay, you’re not going to paint me with that broad brush. But I also have to find others that I can
encourage to share their stories, because when you share those stories, trends start
to develop, and people understand that it’s not their fault and you’re not going to be
able to realize the quote-unquote American Dream in this country if you’re never given
an opportunity from the time you come out of the womb. WOLFF: Is there a movement developing, would
you say, or is that an exaggeration? Is there a movement to do something, in which
the homeless themselves are the players? ROBINSON: Right here in New York, I started
my organizing with a group called Picture the Homeless; that’s where I got my foundations
for organizing. So the quick answer is yes. Is there enough? I don’t think so, but there are huge movements
that are developing. I was in Brazil last year and found a homeless
group of street homeless folks organizing in six states in Brazil. You know, 2009 I got to go to Budapest, Hungary,
as a member of Picture the Homeless, and learned about the homeless problem there. There’s an organization called A Város Mindenkié
that folks are saying is one of the strongest social movements in Hungary at this particular
time. I think on the West Coast, the west coast
of the U.S., there’s the Western Regional Advocacy Project, organizing homeless people
in Colorado, in California, in Oregon, and up in Seattle. There are huge problems out on the West Coast. You look at a city like San Francisco, and
the city is just flooded with street homeless folks. And so our government is not getting at the
root cause of the problem, right? And while you have a city like New York, who
has over 550 shelters, and some folks think it’s a great idea. New York City has a right-to-shelter law,
which argues the point that if I go to the city on any given night and say I need a bed,
the city must provide. Well, that’s good, in a way, but it creates
this infrastructure of shelters, right? You have 550 in New York, right? In other cities, you may have 10, right? So I think it exacerbates an already ongoing
problem. People get stuck in there. It’s serving as a home. A shelter is not a home, right? A home is more than a roof. You know, it’s a sense of community. It’s all these other things that surround
that, right? And I think we have to think a little bit
differently, outside of the box, at getting at the root cause. WOLFF: What do you say to a person who says,
look a home is either an apartment or a house, and we ought to be in a society which says
if there are, as you point out, millions of people without a place, either houses and
apartments that are empty have to be made available, or if they’re not available, they
have to be built. We seem to have a housing industry that can’t
provide housing, even though there’s lots of vacant housing, and doesn’t build enough. What is this, in an economic system, that
it simply can’t solve a fairly obvious problem? ROBINSON: So, is it that we don’t have enough,
Rick, or is it that there isn’t the will to do it to fit the needs of the people, right? I would argue that we’ll never build our way
out of this problem. What we need to do is think a little differently,
and use vacant spaces, right? And I always use the foreclosure crisis during
that time period, because it’s a key indicator on how we operate as a society, right? During the financial crisis there were, in
2010, 14.4 million vacant homes, two million homeless people. So you just put the homeless people in the
people-less homes. Problem solved, right? I don’t think we can build our way out of
this, and I say that because you only have a finite amount of land, and how, you know,
you’re going to start building New York Citys all over the country? Not everybody wants these towers in their
particular states or cities. So there is an organized effort; Picture the
Homeless has started to push legislation within the New York City Council where they would
have to do a vacant census count, which I think is important. And now they’re pushing to find landlords
who keep those buildings vacant for a certain amount of time. I think you have to disincentivize people
from doing the wrong thing. It sounds a little, you know, a little tricky
the way I just laid that out, but I really think you have to penalize people, right? Because it’s what’s our relationship to space? We have to think differently, and then it’s
a little bit difficult in a capitalist society, and a society that bases itself on profit. You know, there are some elected members of
Congress, and particularly four women, who are being targeted now because they think
outside of the box, but I think that’s the direction we need to go. We need to think about giving people who have
a certain income limit a certain subsidy so that they can realize that right to housing
that everybody deserves. WOLFF: Or we ought to have a proper jobs program
that gives everybody a meaningful function in our society, helping one another, and pays
them a proper salary. ROBINSON: Why not both? WOLFF: Rather than giving some people – you
know, I like to pick on Jeffrey Bezos – some people have, you know, hundreds of billions
of dollars . . . ROBINSON: . . . and you give them a subsidy,
right? WOLFF: It’s unbelievable. ROBINSON: And that’s so – the thinking fundamentally
is wrong, right? We have a mortgage tax deduction in this country
to the tune of about $150 billion a year, for people making, with incomes of $250,000
or more. If you took that away and put it into public
housing, you would start to re-create or regenerate public housing the way it should be. It used to be there for a social purpose,
right? So what we’re doing in this country is we’re
subsidizing wealthier people more than we are poor people. WOLFF: That’s been done for a long time. ROBINSON: Absolutely. WOLFF: And American history also gives us
lessons, because after World War II, for the returning veterans who had fought a war, we
created a public education program, the G.I. Bill, helping people pay for college, if you
were a soldier, we created a housing program – public housing was built all over. So the idea we don’t know how to do it, or
we can’t do it – we did it. Now, you can’t do it with the private-profit
system so well, but that’s not what we relied on back then. No one said you have to have private profit. We said the government is going to come in
and subsidize a college education. ROBINSON: I would agree with you, Rick, but
we can’t leave out the racial implications of this, right? So some of those same G.I.s didn’t get access
to some of that housing, and that’s a problem, right? You know, so we have that underlying current
that is always out there, that thing that just exists, that we have to talk about, right? WOLFF: Absolutely. ROBINSON: It’s something that we have to discuss. We don’t often want to do it, it’s challenging,
but those conversations need to happen. You know me, growing up on Long Island, I
saw it with the Levitt houses, when everybody was moving from the city, moving out to Levittown,
the G.I.s that were people of color couldn’t get access to those houses. They weren’t allowed, right? And some of that still is a current that presides
over banking, and how we racialized the housing industry. It’s still problematic. WOLFF: In the little bit of time we have left
– what would you want these Democratic – the 25 hopefuls – what should they be talking
about, in terms of homelessness, that they aren’t? ROBINSON: I think we have to understand that
this is not the true democracy that we claim it is, and we have to understand if the rest
of the world can live by international human rights standards and law, which guarantees
the right to housing, we need to adopt those standards here, right? South Africa – when, you know, when apartheid
was taken down and a new constitution came out in 1996, it guaranteed a right to a home. Actualizing it is something else, they’re
still struggling a little bit, but it’s changing there. Brazil says land has to serve a social function,
right, so people are getting access to housing because that’s a social function. You build housing, you grow food, right, so
these things are related. And I think we have a constitution that was
constructed off of 400 years of good-old-boy language, that just doesn’t work for certain
people. Our constitution probably needs to change
– big task, big ask, but it’s something we need to think about. WOLFF: Thank you, Rob. This is a topic that needs a lot more attention,
not just by Democratic candidates, but by everybody else. A society that leaves millions of people without
a home is a society that isn’t working very well. It’s an economy that isn’t doing what an economy
is supposed to do. I hope you found this of interest, and I hope
you will remember to talk with us again next week.

Maurice Vega

100 Responses

  1. The only people who aren't working are those who dont want to work.
    Really, it's that simple. Oh, you dont have any higher education nor skills? Too bad, so sad. There are immigrants with those skills who will get those jobs.
    Homeless? You need a job einstein. You need a high paying job or two medium wage jobs. Night-shift manager at the local McDonald's ain't gonna cut it.
    But by all means, blame the politicians. They are the ones preventing you from bettering yourself and making yourself more employable. (Snowflake)
    So please, blame everyone else but yourself.

  2. The should be controls on housing prices. There should be proper pay to afford to live in those houses. It's not insane, it's logic.

  3. Horrible…we live in a horrible state of affairs…loaded by contradictions…capitalism staggers like an alcoholic one day and the next day its a blind man crossing a thruway. 
    Its dysfunctionalism operates on blind working averages and behind what makes it tick is accumulation for the sake of accumulation.

    Capitalism does not allow society to move forward, human beings are its primary obstacle…but at the same time we are essential to its existence in the sate of existence we are under…this is a contradiction… when a social system is anti-social in every way that it hates people!

    Perfectly fitting for a 17th century slave owning class that never died out…to turn modern society into a plantation based economy with people once slaves to a master are slaves to the world market.

  4. On top of wages not going up appropriately we are taxed up the ying yang. Land tax, food tax, entertainment tax, goods tax, wage tax, permit tax, licensing tax, family member dies you have to pay tax on house. People don't realise that there are taxes in disguise like dog licenses, recieving a ticket, paying yearly registration on car, permits to build on your house, and so many more. What we need is a FULL AUDIT of our government and what they are doing with all of this. I mean for fucks sake, our government "lost" 23 trillion dollars!! How the fuck do you lose 23 trillion dollars??!! People, we are being fucked from all sides, and you sit there like nothing is wrong and wait for some group to solve your problems. These problems WILL NOT be solved without YOUR participation.

    Edit: 21 trillion

  5. Democracy at work alright. Being communists takes away the incentive to work hard and breeds more useless entitlement parasites. It's a downward spiral. And AI wont replace all the real workers that killed themselves under Obama. Your next

  6. OK well well whatever. But the Left is ridiculous to say that immigrants don't have any consequences socially and economically. It's well documented and its not just a "grain". They are quite significant.

  7. BTW housing is a cost that is and always has been mysteriously missing from government inflation numbers. So when the gumment says inflation is only 2% yet homes or rents are going up 2% a month, it ain't included.

  8. The problem with America is that unbridled winner take all capitalism is RELIGION. To go against it in any manner is heresy.

  9. With our social security disabilty system its really no excuse other than not bothering to fill out the paper wirk to get recieve it. every city has a mental health clinic staffed with councelers and psychiatrist to help guide you.
    walk ti a homeless shelter or public library and call social securty offises and they will be glad to guide you along.
    usa spends 64% of its budget on social programs.

  10. if you add in earned incone credit you will see that essentially only peope making over 80 k and up pay in taxes on what they earn .
    less than $15 k a year and you recieve – 56 taxes which paid back to you at the end of the year.

  11. My suggestion to you is to dig deeper and read G. Edward Griffin's book "The Creature from Jekyll Island." In short the Banks are getting guarantees on the loans made to foreign country leaders (who pocket most of the $) the taxpayers of the USA mostly and other countries are paying the price with inflation. All for a New World Order. Deception & Lies. The banks are making interest on Fiat money via the second and more loans. Under it all is power. Power over foreign countries, power of world people, power over Congress.

  12. 1 Large Sports Stadium Will House and Support Home-Less = We Invest in Thrills for Egos Not Humans or Americans ? We are A Farmed Species = History world wide calls the Farmers = Devils . We Eat and Drink Chemicals That affect = Egos and Emotions . Trained to Kill for Religions and Poison what Gives Life / Earth . Connect with Nature / Earth : Show Reverence Respect and Humility and Enjoy This Miracle = Be-Well and Do-Good

  13. There are not Homelessness in the USA, of course, is it not true is a shame for Our Government ( not for the people ) only the rich is ok?

  14. Happy to be a new subscriber to this channel. Prof. Wolff is a great economist – yes. But also a great humanitarian. ??

  15. After three months, tax vacant houses at the market cost of rents each month, or house the homeless, subsidized by HUD.

  16. That’s why the big three ( housing, healthcare, education ) were free in the Soviet Union, the greatest country on earth in known history. We can do without many things, but not without the big three, and capitalists know that and exploit it to the utmost.

  17. Inequality can without any doubt be blamed for our ever growing social unrest! The streets are
    Overflowing with homeless human beings in this country like I have never seen before in my lifetime!!

  18. The main problem everywhere is that a %age of the people are brain dead fuckwits, lazy, dirty, useless drug crap. But, their one redeeming feature is that they can see there is nothing left to try for. Nothing. So, may as well give up, lie down , shoot up drugs and wait..

  19. Great interview!! As usual, Dr. Wolff. I take issue with only one point, that there are 24 candidates for Democratic nominees.. There's really just 4 credible runners in this race. They are Sanders, Warren, Biden, and Gabbard.

  20. Andrew Yang is running for President and has a platform of $1000/month to each American citizen age 18 years and up that would address this problem, so I do not understand why it was said that no candidate is talking about mending the problem.

  21. Suppose the people of this world were able to move freely? Would then the people with that ability travel to terrorize less?
    Would our population problems right themselves and eliminate homelessness through the evolution of that change.?
    The study of rats has become more relevant every day.

  22. live in a minivan,so you can go where the work is, or at least, go where the heat/cold is not. I did so, not long ago, for 3 years. it only costs 5k a year to live like that and you can sell your plasma for 3k a year. getting the remaining needed $40 a week is nothing. That's just a coup;le of evenings of flying a sign at intersections, or half a day's day labor or work gig on Craigslist. 2 5 gallon buckets of gear, ($500) will set you up to make 5k a year casting bullets out of scrap lead. You make about $20 an hour while you/'re doing it, but you can only sell just so many in any one given area. If you move twice a year, with the weather, you can make 5k in each location, tho. It's not that hard to clear 20k a year, folks, and you can bank half of it if you live in a van.

  23. If you're not grossing 150k a year (as a couple) you have no damned business having a kid in the US. Kids are what ruin your ability to move to where the work is, work the overtime, set up a small biz (like a big old house converted into a lot of weekly rental rooms) You can get going on that with 10k in OK, 20k most extra places. You can save 20k in 2 years of college loans, by living in a van. 2 years of college will make you an RN, which means you can get hired anywhere for $25 an hour and work all the overtime you want in a lot of places, if you'll travel. RN can be a 100k a year job, folks. If you're not doing that, it's cause you're lazy and inept, that's all

  24. WHY dont people see the end of their jobs coming, or just have savings in general and when things go bad, move into an old mini-van to live cheaply? They are in the streets because they're stupid and lazy. When you get down to your last 2-3k, you dont pay rent, car bill and utilities. You sell the car and move into a minivan. You start selling your plasma. It takes 4 hours a week, pays $60 a week. all it takes, dimwit, is to give somebody half a $20 bill, to let you use their addy for the plasma place to send your debit card. They get the other half of the $20 when they call you and give you the card.

  25. there's $1000 or so minivans all over facebook and craiglist. Some are much less, but need work, It doesn't have to run well in order for you to live in it. Get around on a bicycle and the bus, until you can find some shade tree guy to repair it enough to make it reliable. if you can move it half a mile, twice a day, that's enough to stay out of trouble. it can be noisy, rusted-out, have a bad tranny, engine, radiator, bad brakes, all sort of things wrong with it and it will still keep you and your gear out of the weather, away from thieves, dogs and raccoons, which would. otherwise steal or ruin your stuff. If you're not lazy, you can do the same with an old $400 car, too. toss the rear and passenger seats. hacksaw out the metal braces between the rear seat and the trunk. Put a sheet of particle board back there to sleep upon. Keep everthing hidden under the board, or under old $1 each sheets from thrift stores.

  26. Lack of cash isn't a lack of character it's a lack of privlage. Most wealthy families are born into wealth. There is almost no social mobility in our society anymore. Blaming poor people for being poor is not only factually incorrect but also morally wrong.

  27. There's Yet Another New Face Usually a Black Man Coming and Going in Both Directions on the Local Trains MTA Pan Handling. It's Ridiculous. It Makes Me Much More Grateful for My Affordable Apartment. Gentrification and the Pooches are More Important. Dog Walkers are Fundamental. #ADOS

  28. Residential housing as a commodity asset inflation bubble is the precursor to social collapse. All housing should be “rent-to-own” without exception where primary residents can participate in asset value appreciation/depreciation as defacto equity-share owners.

    This one policy change would be equitable to investors while dislocating vulture speculators AND shift the economic incentives towards community growth rather than parasitic wealth extraction.

  29. Property owners believe they have more rights because they own a piece of california while making it to expensive for us true californians to own our own homes….!

  30. Puerto Rico's problem is Puerto Ricans. Ask anyone who's lived or worked there who isn't from there. Constant violence. It's in their "culture", it has nothing to do with being a territory of the US. That's probably to their benefit to protect them from themselves.

  31. All for profit, shelters are generating millions off of the homeless who live in decrepit conditions even with their children. Using the homeless for profit, donations. They take everything, all the donations goes to the staff and security. If only people knew what is going on. Disgraceful.

  32. Thomas Jefferson told us this would happen via central banks and the boom bust cycle, that the country's future generations would wake up homeless one day in the country they created because of central banks destroying the money.

  33. basic life necessities need to be free!!!!!!! one can not do what one used to. grow food, make thare own house, etc. as the land now has a cost! without land, one can not provide for their god-given right to live. even if you own land and can be self-sufficient the property tax forces you in to a capital list system. we need to make housing, food, transit a right! we all so need a new economic system of co op and get rid of of wall street speculation as a source of money for the rich. democracy final frontier is the economy.

  34. Bernie Sanders is speaking out forcefully and consistently about income inequality at the national level. He needs our support.

  35. The FED keeps printing money devaluing our $ to fund our overseas empire. 35,000 troops in Germany? Why? I am sure the Germans can take care of themselves. Troops in S. Korea and Japan, why? That is the real problem. If we had actual capitalism under a real democratic system like when our country was founded we would be OK. We do not have that!

  36. Just found this channel and subscribed … it's interesting to me how other countries are more successful at democracy than we are here. I think we should learn what these other countries are doing in Germany , voting is compulsory. Which I believe is a good thing .it forces ppl to get involved with society , community and the issues it faces.. which is healthier for the community and the individual .
    Here in the USA , we have a government run by the people , for the people .. so I believed voting should be mandatory, like jury duty. Jury duty is mandatory, so that we can have a jury of peers. For the people , by the people.
    And we would have a healthier society with everyone accounted for and each person has a say in votes . It would also make the people more reality based . And more involved with their community ..which would cut down on the number of mass SHOOTERS in this country .
    I just think we w/old be a much healthier country .

  37. It’s going to take a revolution to change the US unfortunately, the super rich are counting on it so they can inforce Marshall law and make a open police state .

  38. You call USA reach country.
    If USA has reach does not make coutry reach.USSR was reach country.None Homeless education the best in the world free Apartment Free.3 most important things .First needs of people

  39. 3 things sepoused to be free.
    If country does not have this 3 thing done.means Goverment and people dont care .talk doed not work. Action sepoused to be done when you open you demokratik ?

  40. I consider Amerika poor country
    It is ilusion of Good life.I can prove you and explaine you how you Hate each other and Gods are your enemies.System kapital is Satana and made by Satana iluzion layer.

  41. What a brilliantly informative interview. I'm from the UK and don't watch all of this channels output but this is the best example to show to the pricks that dismiss the homeless as 'lazy' or 'stupid'. Bless Richard and Rob for this.

  42. Now if he would only #LearnMMT! There is the 3rd International Modern Monetary Economics Conference coming up in NYC in 2 weeks, why don't you join us & rub elbows w/ your other Economic Peers? #MMT


  44. THIS IS DISGUSTING .!!!!!! . HOMELESS & POOR , IN AMERICA .!!!!!!!! . DO U KNOW WHATS THE U.S.BUGET .? . IN THE TRILLIONS ??????????.!!!!!!!. MORE THAN ENOUGH , TO TAKE CARE ANY NATION .!!!!!!! . AND WE DO , FIND OUT THE BUGET FOR , AID FOR ISRAEL ?? .? . SHOCKING .!!!!!!!!! . VOTE ? ? WISELY .!!!!!!!!!!!! . THIS IS PURE GOVT. ??CORRUPTION .!!!!!!!! . ??????☠️??……OFF OUR TAXES . !!!!!!!!!!! .

  45. Medical costs have gone up at least 500% since Obamacare was forced upon us. It's the main reason for bankruptcy in the US.

  46. I don't want to bash immigrants, but they really are used to drive down wages and drive up rents. Right now, we are enjoying a slight labor shortage, because of the harsh immigration policy of this and the former administration.

  47. May God bless us all with the more abundant life promised in John 10:10, and Ephesians 3:20 above all that they can ask or think! Also Malachi 3:10 God wants every single person on Earth to “prove that HE will open the windows of heaven, and pour them out a blessing so BIG that there will not be room enough to receive it!” It’s capitalists that don’t want those promises! They teach us that IF we want food we must get a wage JOB and BUY it from the rich man/corporation or starve! So millions can’t ever get jobs, in America and worldwide, so 36 million do starve to death every year! But Haggai 1:6 says he who earns wages earns wages to put it into a bag with holes, so God hates the evil wage system. But I’m teaching new truths that God hates the wage slave system because it is slavery too! Jeremiah 2:13 says People were doing something wrong, because they were oppressed and we are still oppressed, and God’s perfect way will be like a fountain, and fountains always overflow, and water can also refer to money, so God wants US to end wage slavery worldwide and say that all people OWN ALL THINGS from now on, and then all peoples’ fountains will constantly overflow, and then everything will be free, which communism has tried and succeeded for a while until capitalism has forced them to stop being communist. USA has forced every attempt to fail, as set forth in Wm Blum’s book “Rogue State”. Isaiah 55:1 says everything should be free, like manna from heaven, no one will know how it works, but it will just work, so don’t worry about it. It is the will of God! And it will be perfect someday, soon I hope. We could start today because most money is just numbers in computers, so we can eliminate money in one touch of the delete button! Then we can teach all people how to do everything right at long last! And that means all people will work part time not only building beautiful safe Tower cities connected to maglev Trains worldwide, but also how to help eliminate and recycle everything that shouldn’t have been made/done. No more cutting down trees to build houses. No more huge nets cleaning all things from the oceans with huge ships. By working 20 hours a week (and more if they want) we’ll clean up the Earth’s oceans, rivers, mountains, deserts, forests… We’ll get food to starving people and no food will be wasted ever again! All nations will get desalination plants to get clean drinking water for everyone. We’ll stop people from driving far to get cleaner air. We’ll rescue all men, women and children from all forms of slavery, first of all Sex slavery! And so much more, but that’s all for now! God bless you whose hearts and minds are now changed!

  48. The government (aka the taxpayers) should provide houses for the homeless, food for the foodless, clothing for the naked, automobiles for the carless, etc. etc., right?

  49. Oh the trump has plans…New Concentration Camps for Homeless. After that, the trump will fill Concentration Camps with his next targets. Soon, all the Americans in the lower class (who have a mere 1% of the “wealth” in this “wealthy nation”) will be in Concentration Camps.

  50. We live in Scotland, free health care, paid to go to college, free dental care and eye test and so on,, its wonderful,, But most if not all the money to pay for all this comes from England. Scotland is doing its level best to become separate from England, oops !

  51. This is the weird part of calling millennials spoiled. You call them spoiled, but they have more disadvantages than the baby boomers…?

  52. I got raked over in the 2008 crash. Even though I was employed with just over a six figure salary (the government takes almost half when you factor in all taxes), I had bought I home in FL and within four years more than half of the homeowners defaulted, and this drove down the value of homes significantly (that didn't stop the county from raising property taxes). So in the end, I hired a lawyer and did a strategic short sell of the home. I lost about $120k on that deal when you factor the down payment and lost equity. Then of course the 401k went to shit because the market crashed. And I was a lucky one because I did not lose my job, but my credit went to shit for a few years after the short sale…. to be seen how this plays out. Looks like we are gearing up for another crash, and this one will be worse the previous because the people who caused it were rewarded with a taxpayer bailout. No such option will exist this time, so the market will have to crash and burn.

    Now those without skill in America are the truly screwed people…. how can they possibly afford to live on $10 or $15 an hour? Maybe kids can do it if they have their parents helping them out, but an adult on their own with no safety net… they are fucked.

  53. There should be a law. A bank can only own a certain amount of homes. The rest have to be given away to homeless. This will take away the incentive for the banks to foreclose… they would be more likely to negotiate a new term instead of putting the screws to people having financial difficulty.

    You can't just give away empty homes to homeless, but if they banks are the owners, then it could be ok.

  54. One of the biggest ripoffs of capitalism that all economic professors should be discussing is the fact that workers are not paid interest for their borrowed labor. This is a major contributing factor and element of wealth building by owners and employers. It also gives the worker the same risk as the employer but the worker makes no decisions on how the business is run. So if the business has bad planning and the business has to lay off workers it's the worker that has suffered more than the business owner because the worker no longer has an income. But paying interest for the risk of staying with the employer will compensate the worker for taking the risk with the employer. The US is using 19th century economics in the 21st century.

  55. Capitalism does not need to be scrapped. It needs to evolve and be modernized. European countries have a more modern form of capitalism because they cover most of the ills of capitalism. The US citizens is conned to believe that capitalism, as we use it, is perfect. That is an illusion and lie that people with financial skills have to remove.

  56. The primary reason why wages are stagnant but prices for needed goods increase more is partially the problem of electing business-friendly politicians. The corporations have lobbyist seeing the politicians all the time. The corporations are donating to the politician for their reelections. The politician is more aligned with the corporations than the people. There need to be more AOC type politicians that looking after the well being of the citizens and the worker.

  57. The blame game analysis of capitalism at the baginning is fantastic. Yes, capitalism is never held responsible for all the global chaos we've been going through for decades and decades.

  58. Economic failure lies very squarely with the left. They are the people who fail to operate "the economic system", they are the people who ignore the necessity to build businesses and level taxes and this results in economic failure. It is you, and shit on 2 legs like you, you fucking witless far left pricks, who have brought about economic downfall in the west. Look at the EU soviet system – that is so obviously a political failure causing bad economic management that to deny this obvious truth is the act of a far left fanatic blind to anything but the dictates of your unrealistic far left globalist ideology. So why don't you shut your ignorant blaming others for your own failures mouth.

  59. This is Welfare for the Rich it's just not called welfare. There was and is still welfare for white Americans housing for these people huge tax cuts paying no taxes at all and here I am in California realizing my $1 dollar is really worth ¢10 cent.


  61. Mr. Wolff, I really enjoy your economic update and point of view, but your recent comment at RT about people of Hong Kong's protest for liberty and freedom was very disappointing and was anti-democratic. Now you are praising people of Puerto Rico for their protest and struggle against their government, and rightly you point it out that only through street protest people can make the change they want, I wish you said the same thing about people of Hong Kong's struggle against the ruthless and criminal regime in main land China. It is very obvious that US has done great deal of damage to so many countries, but CHINA AND RUSSIA ARE THE GREATEST TREAT TO DEMOCRACY AND FREEDOM IN THE WORLD.

  62. My husband and I also moved from the US to Costa Rica in 2009, realizing that after working full time since high school and later each becoming self employed, that, we could never afford to retire there….in Costa Rica we CAN live on our combined social security, leasing a beautiful 3 bd, 2ba home with garage on 5 ares of land full of mature fruit trees and plenty of space to grow our own food…even have chickens, rabbits, goats and/or fish ponds if we choose…it even has a creek running all the way down one border, the view is spectacular, we have fresh air and water, safety, wonderful neighbors, and a much simpler, way less hectic and crazy life. We do feel though, that its just a matter of time before our neighboring countries around us, who already have political and economic issues, will result in a huge migration here, which this country is not prepared for….bottom line, we are all probably going to go through unimaginable chaos, strife, and much loss of life and suffering as we go through this transition from the old world to the new….we pray our grandchildren will have a world to inherit (at all) and hopefully where they can not only survive but to thrive….

  63. Problem is, Americans are so brainwashed. They start w/kids in school, teaching them the USA is the land of opportunity where anyone can succeed, as long as they work hard, do all the "right" things, etc. People want to believe that, 'Merican dream myth, so…

    If you're not successful, you must not be very talented, not good at what you do or maybe you're a bad person, a drug addict, criminal or mentally ill. There has to be something wrong with YOU because if there IS NOT something wrong with you then 'Mericans have to admit that something is wrong with 'Merica.

    And we can't have that…

    Nothing to see here. Nothing to see. All is well in the USA… We don't need to make America great again, 'cause we've always been great… Blah, blah, blah…

  64. I was a homeless veteran in San Francisco till 3 yrs ago. This interview was spot on. As usual, kudos to The Maestro, Prof Wolff.

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