Gov't Incompetence

Should America’s tent cities be called “Obamavilles”?

As the economy continues its downward spiral, some Americans are starting to seek refuge in modern-day Hoovervilles, communities of people living in makeshift shelters.

Shanty towns during the Depression era were christened Hoovervilles by DNC publicity chief Charles Michelson, who aimed to depict President Hoover, and the Republican Party in general, as the cause of the Great Depression. However, Michelson and history books failed to acknowledge the role of a centralized bank. It’s widely believed that the creation of the Federal Reserve, which was approved by President Woodrow Wilson, directly caused the Great Depression. Even former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke has owned up to the Fed’s responsibility for the stock market crash.

While authorities did not officially recognize these vagabond communities, Hoovervilles were largely left alone unless they encroached on private land. After the economy “improved” in 1940, the Hoovervilles were demolished. Since then, homelessness obviously hasn’t been eradicated, but the number of decent people falling on hard times has been increasing. As a result of decades of abuse at the hands of the Fed, the economy is causing homeless encampments to appear once more.

“[T]here have been increasing reports of homeless encampments emerging in communities across the country, primarily in urban and suburban areas and spanning states as diverse as Hawaii, Alaska, California, and Connecticut,” states the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. During their study the organization estimated that 100 tent communities currently operate in the United States, and the number is increasing.

This is due in part to the fact that homeless shelters are overcrowded, and have rules which separate families and keep people from employment opportunities. Tent cities allow for much more freedom, with voluntary associations enabling some of the communities to thrive. Other tent cities are breeding grounds for drug addicts and other sordid characters

This was cited as the reason for demolishing a tent city in Camden, New Jersey this month, but Javier Nunez disagrees. A tent city resident before his eviction, he stated to CNNMoney, “Not everybody here is a drug addict. There are some good people here in bad situations.”

Now that the only shelter they’ve been able to find has been demolished, the community has scattered, with most wandering the streets of Camden.

Documented media accounts of tent cities show that their growth spurt occurred between 2008 and 2013, the duration of Obama’s presidency. Should we take a note out of Michelson’s book and call these tent cities “Obamavilles” since he was president when this trend began? Although it’s tempting to blame the situation on Obama, we can trace the rise of tent cities back to the Hoovervilles of the Depression. The NLCHP stated in their study that the root of the homeless problem is unaffordable housing, but the organization fails to acknowledge what made housing unaffordable to begin with.

The housing bubble burst as a direct result of the Federal Reserve’s expansionary monetary policy, which supplied the means for unsustainable housing prices and unsustainable mortgage financing. Subprime mortgages and shadow bailout programs crippled the middle class and caused thousands to lose their homes.

Instead of pointing the finger at a particular politician, Americans need to take in the bigger picture and see that history is cyclical. The real source of America’s economic decline can be traced directly back to the Fed. A return to a free market in money would the first step in creating a more stable economy, and should in turn lead to the decline of tent cities.


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