February 27, 2012

Latest PJ Media Column (Slow ‘Recovery,’ Dire Consequences’) Is Up (More on the Tent-City ‘Obamavilles’ Which Somehow Only the BBC Has Been Able to Locate)

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Wednesday (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.


Obamavilles: The column references and lightly excerpts a BBC report (related narrative where the video isn’t available here; YouTube video of the program here) which notes the proliferation of “tent cities” throughout the U.S. This post will extend what the Beeb found.

These aren’t Occupy encampments, and to a large extent they aren’t hangouts for the solitary homeless by choice.

Read on:

America’s homeless resort to tent cities

Panorama’s Hilary Andersson comes face to face with the reality of poverty in America and finds that, for some, the last resort has become life in a tented encampment.

Just off the side of a motorway on the fringes of the picturesque town of Ann Arbor, Michigan, a mismatched collection of 30 tents tucked in the woods has become home – home to those who are either unemployed, or whose wages are so low that they can no longer afford to pay rent.

Conditions are unhygienic. There are no toilets and electricity is only available in the one communal tent where the campers huddle around a wood stove for warmth in the heart of winter.

Ice weighs down the roofs of tents, and rain regularly drips onto the sleeping campers’ faces.

Tent cities have sprung up in and around at least 55 American cities – they represent the bleak reality of America’s poverty crisis.

… One of the largest tented camps is in Florida and is now home to around 300 people. Others have sprung up in New Jersey and Portland.

Calls have come in from the hospital emergency room, the local police and the local homeless shelter to see if they can send in more.

“Last night, for example, we got a call saying they had six that couldn’t make it into the shelter and… they were hoping that we could place them… So we usually get calls, around nine or 10 a night,” said Brian Durance, a camp organiser.

… There are an estimated 5,000 people living in the dozens of camps that have sprung up across America.
The largest camp, Pinella’s Hope in central Florida – a region better known for the glamour of Disneyworld – is made up of neat rows of tents spread out across a 13-acre plot.

… These tent cities – and this level of poverty – are images that many Americans associate with the Great Depression.

Unemployment in America today has not reached the astronomical levels of the 1930s, but barring a short spike in 1982, it has not been this high since the Depression era.

There are now 13 million unemployed Americans, which is three million more than when President Barack Obama was first elected.

The stark reality is that many of them are people who very recently lived comfortable middle-class lives.

Here’s the video:

Now let’s make one thing crystal clear – The Beeb’s report massively overstates the problem and is relentlessly biased:

  • There are NOT 1.5 million children who are “homeless” (the broadcast actually says they are “without homes,” which includes families in cheap hotels and those who are in “doubled-up” arrangements with relatives, friends, and others because of economic circumstances). The 2012 report from the National Alliance to End Homelessness says that the total number of homeless of all ages in 2011 was 637,000 (page 5).
  • There are NOT 50 million Americans without health insurance at any given time.
  • It also overplays the influence of income and wealth inequalities. The former basically hasn’t budged since the turn of the century, and the latter has lessened because of the recession.
  • It’s also relentlessly hostile to “conservatives,” as if it’s their fault, when they’re not the ones who have ran $5 trillion in deficits (by the end of fiscal 2012) or who controlled Washington completely in 2009 and 2010. Conservatives have (sort of) controlled only one legislative chamber since 2011 began. The Beeb even takes shots at state governors like Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, when they’re not the ones who have been setting national policy priorities which have led the nation to the brink of financial ruin. The report’s commentator asks Michigan’s Lieutenant Governor about the tent cities and “cuts”; why did they interview no one in Washington and ask where the $2-plus billion the Washington bureaucracy is spending per year on homelessness is disappearing? At another point, the Beeb’s reporter gets into a definitional argument with Heritage’s Robert Rector over whether hunger is “widespread” (it’s not). It also treats ObamaCare as a major step in solving dire poverty, which is a sick joke for anyone who knows what’s in the bill.
  • At no point does the Beeb stop to wonder whether the “stimulus”-driven, massive debt-generating “solutions” tried in Washington have led to a worsening in the conditions found.

That said, the Beeb makes some relevant observations:

  • Detroit looks worse than Beirut.” But no connection is made to over four decades of government “solutions” and unspeakable corruption which have brought the city to its knees. The commentator somehow says without laughing that “The President still believes the way forward is spending on social services and infrastructure.” Yeah, more of the same will work.
  • Here’s the biggie: The report notes that homeless shelters in Southeast Michigan are referring those they won’t take in to Ann Arbor’s “tent city.” Read that again. Further: “It seems that tent city has become a semi-official dumping ground for the homeless here.” It goes on: “Panorama has established that public agency and overstretched shelters are referring the homeless to tent and encampments outside several other cities in America. You have to wonder why this point only cryptically made it into the printed report (bolded paragraphs above) and wasn’t present in the Panorama tease.
  • “This is not the vision of America President Obama’s supporters were led to believe in.” No kidding.

The larger point made in my PJ Media column is that the kind of things BBC found, especially the scandalous referrals to tent cities, would be all over American TV and other U.S. media if anyone but Barack Obama were president (I daresay that that no other Democratic Party president would be fully spared as Obama has been).

But we see nothing — because if we did, “Obamaville” would become part of the national vocabulary, and because the growth of the dire poverty problem is to a substantial degree the result of a pathetically and inexcusably slow recovery based on Obama administration “solutions” previously shown not to have worked during the entire decade of the 1930s.



  1. Thankfully, in context 637,000 homeless people, i.e. without shelter of any kind, is rather low for such an national economic situation in a country of 300+ million people. However, I believe something is being missed here, that of the number of people whose temporary residence is in trailer parks & campgrounds. I think this is a rather difficult number to segregate out between those whom are forced to live in camping trailers (not mobile homes) and those who are recreationally camping.

    Looking at the 2010 Homeless Report: http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/10/HomelessChildrenRoundtable/index.shtml

    21% of “homeless children” live in motels, hotels, campgrounds…

    there is no breakdown for the category labeled motels & hotels that includes campgrounds:

    means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence (within the meaning of section 11302 (a)(1) of this title); and
    includes —
    children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement;

    The good news is that due to the economy, used RVs are inexpensive allowing displaced families and individuals to have shelter avoiding a Hooverville situation. The bad news is the use of RVs has masked the growing problem of displaced families crowding trailer parks and campgrounds into the new homelessness which I call Obamaville on wheels. It’s a convenient means to hide the real problem the MSM doesn’t want to confront concerning their liberal messiah, the declining standard of living due to lack of economic opportunity from his/their failed unsustainable policies. One cannot continue to borrow money just to keep people from drowning without facing the fact that discouraging investment (risk taking) by those with the means is a counterproductive strategy.

    Well you know, one must break a few eggs to make the omelette of green ham and eggs.

    Research of anecdotal content:



    The problem of homelessness at home???

    An Increasing Number Of Americans Are Living In Their Homes With The Water And The Power Turned Off



    Comment by dscott — February 27, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

  2. No doubt you raise relevant issues. RVs probably didn’t even exist in the 1930s. And yes, moving between campgrounds is a way to cope.

    The homes without power and water issue is something I missed. My guess is that the water is usually on if the power isn’t, but the point is made.

    I was trying to locate consistent and reliable info on utility shut-offs, which is hard to come by, esp with a starting point of 2008 or 2009. Found some info on Detroit alone and from 2005 on, all from socialists web sites, which may be relaying correct info, but are placing all the blame on capitalism.

    Comment by TBlumer — February 27, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

  3. [...] Latest PJ Media Column (Slow ‘Recovery,’ Dire Consequences’) Is Up (More on the Tent-City ‘O… [...]

    Pingback by Latest PJ Media Column (Slow ‘Recovery,’ Dire Consequences’) Is Up (More on the Tent-City ‘Obamavilles’ Which Somehow Only the BBC Has Been Able to Locate) | PERSUASION IN INK — February 28, 2012 @ 7:36 pm

  4. [...] there’s a lot of hardship out here in the real world, e.g., the “tent cities” no one in the press but the BBC has seen fit to [...]

    Pingback by BizzyBlog — March 5, 2012 @ 1:53 pm

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