November 22, 2013

With the holiday season near, this Fox News segment is probably the most surreal experience you'll have this year. Watch as four rich white people have a morning chat about the evils of giving to the homeless...

Wearing a fake beard, Stossel sat on a New York City sidewalk with a cardboard sign asking people for help. “I just begged for an hour but I did well,” he said. “If I did this for an eight-hour day I would’ve made 90 bucks. Twenty-three thou for a year. Tax-free.”

Elizabeth Hasselbeck, who recently purchased a $4 million home in Greenwich, gasped in horror at the prospect of poor people earning $23,000 a year. Some people asking for money “are actually scammers,” said Hasselbeck seemingly oblivious of the irony that the only panhandling “scammer” Fox News identified was Stossel himself.

Because compassionate people gave him money even though he is not homeless, Stossel surmises that they should not have compassion for people who actually are homeless, because some people (like John Stossel) are disgusting liars.

Stossel implored viewers to stop giving money to poor people because if you do, “you’re an enabler.”

Think Progress has a good run down on the fallacies about the homeless promoted by the Fox News hacks in this segment. Stossel spent just an hour on the streets and was given approximately $11 by people who wanted to help out someone in need. He concludes that means that he would earn $23,000 per year.

"First, one of the only scientific surveys of panhandlers found that the vast majority made $25 per day or less, annualized at just over $9,000. Second, $9,000 — or even $23,000 — is difficult to survive on, especially in a city like New York where the median apartment rents for more than $3,000 in Manhattan and more than $2,500 in Brooklyn."

Hasselbeck's claim that the homeless “are actually scammers” (Implying that panhandling is some sort of "get rich" scheme!) is proved false by an actual study of beggars, that found that 82 percent were homeless, two in three were disabled, most earned less than $25 per day, and nearly all used the money for food.

Stossel warns that well-intentioned people are actually enabling bad behavior because poor people will just use the money for drugs and alcohol. But again, that’s not what the data shows. "While some do use the money for drugs and alcohol, most don’t. What did a survey find 94 percent of panhandlers used the money for? Food."

Pretending to be poor and homeless is an annual tradition for Stossel. Here’s his 2011 segment, his 2012 segment, and now his 2013 segment.

Next time you see John Stossel pretending to be homeless in NYC, give him a good kick. For America...and Jesus.

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