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We want to begin by noting something obvious. If you live in the United States, you may have noticed that many of our public spaces have become permanent homeless encampments. You see trash-filled tents blotting out what were once green and tidy public parks. You step over vagrants drooling, unconscious on the steps of train stations on the way to work. You watch as junkies smoke meth without any embarrassment at all, and then yell at pedestrians on the sidewalk, maybe at your children. 

At every intersection, there are beggars. It's what we used to imagine India was like, but this is not Calcutta. This is New York and San Francisco and Austin, Texas. So the question is what happened? And the short answer is: Our leaders did this. No matter what they tell you, homelessness is not an act of God. It's not the result of economic collapse in this country. America does not run out of housing. 

Instead, a determined group of well-funded ideologues decided to make it easier to live on the streets in this country while doing drugs. Therefore, many more people now live on the streets while doing drugs. See? Not complicated. 


In 2005, an unemployed alcoholic called Basil Humphrey enrolled in a rehab program in Boise, Idaho. When Humphrey refused to stop drinking, the rescue mission kicked him out. Those were the rules, and he spent months sleeping outside, as so many do. Eventually, local authorities ticketed him for camping on public property. That was the law. 

The story would have ended there, except that a huge corporate law firm in New York City called Latham & Watkins took an interest in the case on the other side of the country. Now, typically, Latham & Watkins represent Wall Street banks and prominent Democratic officeholders. But the firm wanted to change vagrancy laws to increase homelessness. Why did they want that? We don't know. But the firm filed a lawsuit on Basil Humphrey's behalf against the city of Boise. 

Homeless woman Tara Lowe hauls her belongings after street cleaning came through to clean Willow Street in the Tenderloin on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 in San Francisco, California.  (Gabrielle Lurie/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

That suit made it to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2018, the court declared that cities have no right to criminalize homelessness. In fact, the court ruled, cities have an obligation to provide free housing to the homeless at public expense. The Supreme Court later upheld that ruling. 

The case was known as Martin vs. Boise, and it had exactly the effect that Latham & Watkins intended. City officials across the country no longer had an obligation to protect the public and public spaces from drug addicts who decided to live in them. 

At the same time, politicians suddenly had access to a massive new source of cash. Taxpayer money, many billions in taxpayer money, for something called homelessness prevention. Now, what is homelessness prevention? Well, of course, it's the opposite of what they call it, as always.

Here's Seattle's interpretation of homelessness prevention: 

REPORTER: A handful of Seattle's more than 12,000 homeless will soon be going from the street to a new apartment with stunning views of the Space Needle and Puget Sound. Using part of the share of the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package, the city bought three brand-new apartment buildings for $50 million for 165 homeless, a price of $300,000 per unit. … In Los Angeles, Skid Row is about to get a new neighbor, a 19-story-high rise for homeless, costing taxpayers $160 million, or $580,000 per unit, that they're part of an expensive push to get the homeless off of sidewalks and out of city parks and into government-subsidized housing, even if it means buying new buildings at market rate from developers. 

Oh, stunning views of the Space Needle and Puget Sound. Do you have one of those? Well, crack heads do. More than half a million dollars per apartment to house drug addicts at public expense, at market rates. So you can see why real estate developers would strongly support a program like that. And of course, they strongly do. 


But luxury apartments are just the beginning. Seattle's most recent municipal budget allocated more than $150 million to other so-called homelessness programs just this year. Now, keep in mind, Seattle has fewer than 750,000 people living there, so that's an awful lot of money per bum. It's certainly a lot more than anyone else is getting in Seattle. 

At the same time, it was giving overpriced condos to drug addicts with stunning views of Puget Sound, Seattle allocated just $10 million total for its Small Business Stabilization Fund, designed to keep family businesses from going bankrupt during the COVID lockdowns. 

So the city's priorities could not be clearer than that. You lavished money on the least productive, most antisocial parasites in our society, and then you punish Americans who work for a living. Got it? And it's hardly just Seattle. 

The latest city budget in San Francisco proposes spending $667 million dollars on something called the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. And yet, at the very same time, San Francisco's Department of Children, Youth and Families gets less than half that amount. A city program designed to help low-income families pay college tuition gets just $16 million total. That's about 2 percent of what the homeless get. 

So in San Francisco, it makes sense, in fact, it pays to get high on the sidewalk. Don't bother to get an education, nobody cares. That's the message from the city. Couldn't be clearer. 

In Austin, Texas, the city's budget for homelessness assistance was $68 million last year. At the very same time, the city of Austin spent just $3.5 million dollars in new loans for struggling small businesses, and only $7 million for "mission-critical infrastructure and deferred maintenance at city facilities." Like the things that matter. And at the same time as this was going on, the police department, the city of Austin got an $11 million budget cut. 

So what happened to the homelessness in Austin? The problem they were trying to solve? Well, to no one's surprise, it has grown by 10 percent in just two years. You get what you pay for. When you pay for homelessness, you get a lot more of it. See how that works? 


In Los Angeles, politicians have spent billions "fighting homelessness." This has been accompanied, of course, by a massive increase in the number of people who are homeless. Four years ago, the city spent $440 million on what it called solutions to homelessness. That was supposed to fix the problem. Did it? Homelessness in Los Angeles jumped 15 percent just last year. So this year, L.A. will spend more — close to a billion dollars on the homeless in 2022. 

As for the small businesses crushed by the city's lunatic COVID restrictions, you ask what will they get? Well, they get $62 million total. The city's gang reduction program gets about half that. 

So politicians in Los Angeles are, at the very least, very clear about their priorities. What has this done to L.A.? We don't have to look far to see the answer to that. Last week, a homeless man walked into a furniture store in the west side of Los Angeles and murdered a graduate student who was working alone there. He stabbed her to death for no apparent reason and then walked out. He's still at large. She was 24. Now she's dead. 


Today, her father told "Fox & Friends" that he holds city officials responsible for the killing. 

TODD KUPFER: What's endemic in our society right now is that everybody seems to be oriented on giving back rides and bestowing favor on people that robbed others of their rights. We should be celebrating the good in people and trying to recognize that that's the job they have is to try to elevate that, to make communities better, to make people care more, to not tear down communities by exposing them to people that’re falling out the bottom that really don't care about the other human beings and just think they can do whatever they like in our society and they are doing it more and more in every community. 

Pretty composed for a man who just lost his child, but he's absolutely right. Focusing our attention and our money on people who contribute nothing, who only detract from the project that is this country, don't help their communities or anybody's community, who hurt other people, who live solely for themselves, who are a danger to the rest of us, that's insane. And so that girl died, and she wasn't the only one. 

Last month in Los Angeles, a man called Kerry Bell murdered a 70-year-old emergency room nurse. She was on her way to work. One of the people we should be celebrating now, she's dead. Who's the man who killed her? Well, Bell had a long criminal record, you know, prior arrest in L.A. he had arrests in other states as well. But authorities let him go and kept letting him go. Bell was homeless. He was a victim. He was part of a protected class. And then he killed somebody. 


REPORTER: Days after a brutal attack at a Union Station bus stop, a beloved nurse lost her life. Sandra Schell's worked at L.A. County USC Medical Center for decades, where she was highly respected and revered. Shells was allegedly assaulted Thursday morning by a homeless man, now identified by police as 48-year-old Kerry Bell. They say he hit shelves for no apparent reason. The force knocking her to the ground and fracturing her skull. Police say they found him sleeping nearby about 90 minutes later and arrested him without incident. 

She was an emergency room nurse walking alone to work, and now she's dead. Another woman murdered by the homeless. And don't lie to yourself, no one in L.A. is ever going to do anything about it. Probably going to hear outraged noises for a few days, but politicians will quickly get back to showering the unhoused community with another billion dollars. 

What you're watching here is civilization collapsing in real-time, and it's not new. Video our producers shot in Los Angeles in the spring of 2019, almost three years ago, show homeless encampments downtown on three separate blocks. It starts at fifth and San Pedro, and then it goes west seemingly forever. So in January 2020, the L.A. Times reported that "California's railroad tracks are now lined with men and women sleeping in tents or under cardboard boxes." In America, by the way. Well, in response to this, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced another $12 billion in state funding to "fight homelessness." How'd that work? Well hear the results. 

REPORTER: From SkyFOX, the images are startling. Thousands of empty or damaged packages lining the tracks along the Union Pacific L.A. Railway, Amazon packages UPS boxes all meant for delivery to customers along the West Coast. They're opened by cargo thieves who take advantage of the trains stopping or slowing down to break into the containers. Union Pacific officials saying they've had a 160 percent increase in cargo thefts in the L.A. County area, with over 90 containers broken into every day. 

So I guess they didn't clean up the railroad tracks $12 billion and disorder got worse, but of course, allowing people to live outside and defecate outside in public places and use drugs outside in front of our children is both the cause and a symptom of growing disorder and chaos. It's the degradation of what holds us together as a civilization. 

Our producers are back in L.A. right now shooting a documentary for season two of our "Tucker Carlson Originals" series on Fox Nation, it's going to be out soon. They shot video on Skid Row in L.A., a 50-block neighborhood east of downtown. It's hard to overstate just how dystopian it is. You should go for yourself sometime and drive through. Roll your windows up, but watch. You will not believe this is America, the country you grew up in. 

This is what California got for $12 billion, not fewer homeless, just better funded homeless, and thousands more of them. So like COVID and Oxycontin and virtually everything else that's wrecking the country our ancestors built, this is a manufactured crisis. It didn't happen by accident. People paid for it. 


In New York, officials have given drug addicts priority over virtually everyone else in the city. A lot of working poor in New York, we ought to be celebrating them. The city isn't. It's ignoring them. 

In 2015, the annual budget of the New York City Department of Homeless Services was $950 million. This year, it's double that it's about $2 billion. How much is that? Well, what they're spending on the homeless in New York City is more than the city's entire public university system. More than they get, to educate far more people. So the homeless are getting more per student to live outside and smoke meth. 

Is that creating fewer homeless? Probably not. In fact, New York's homeless population is now at its highest level since the Great Depression. 

So where's all this money going specifically? Now, we could talk about this for hours, but here's just one example. That money is going to an overdose prevention center. Preventing overdoses, which in fact means helping the homeless get high. 

REPORTER: Officially called an overdose prevention center, it's a place where users can snort, smoke, swallow or inject illegal drugs in a controlled environment. Two centers in East Harlem and Washington Heights are the first in the nation to allow supervised drug use. The head of an East Harlem community organization says the facility and a nearby methadone clinic have led to an unwanted influx of addicts. 

RESIDENT: They all come here from different areas of the city. We never had this around here. No matter how bad it was through the '60s, we never had this around here. 

It's pretty funny watching people look confused as they see this. What's going on here? I don't remember this. It's not complicated at all. It couldn't be simpler. Politicians are making it much easier to be a homeless drug addict in the United States, and much harder to be a law-abiding member of the middle class. What's the effect? Well, let's see. The middle class is dying, and we now have record numbers of drug-addicted vagrants. 

What does that tell you? It tells you that incentives work. If you destroy the nuclear family, which they have; if you decriminalize drugs, which they have; if you hand out tents and needles to addicts, what do you think's going to happen? You're going to get more addicts living in tents. 

Again, it's not complicated. This is not a vexing public policy question that requires the Brookings Institution to investigate. It's not like fixing Social Security. 

And the solution is as simple as the problem. Here's a solution: Stop putting up with it. Say no. No, you can't smoke meth in the park. You're not allowed to crap on the sidewalk. Pull up your pants and get the hell out of here. Go somewhere with lower standards. Head for a place where politicians don't care about their people because we do care. And that's why we're hauling your tent to a landfill and cutting off your checks today. You are a drug addict. Get a job or leave. This is our city. You are not allowed to wreck it. You didn't build it. 


Now, that’s not hard. That works. We know it works because that's how societies function for about 2,000 years. If you're an unmarried man with no job, you were not allowed to destroy things. It wasn't your right. 

By the way, this is how successful families still operate to this day in the privacy of their own homes when the NGOs aren't watching. Parents reward good behavior, and they do not tolerate bad behavior. Why? Because if you let your kids smoke weed at the breakfast table, they will. So you don't let them. So why not apply the same standard to the drug addicts at Penn Station? Because what we're doing now isn’t compassionate. It's an attack on civilization. 

This article is adapted from Tucker Carlson's opening commentary on the January 18, 2022, edition of "Tucker Carlson Tonight."