Homeless in America

Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thanks for watching us tonight.

Now, here's how naive I am.  I thought I'd come back from Christmas vacation and things would have calmed down a little.  You know, The Factor's been getting an enormous amount of press.  But I figured, hey, enough's enough, I'll get back, things'll be calm.

Wrong.  All kinds of articles are coming out about us, most of them calling me names, which is fine.  My thought is, if you can't out-think us, you'll out-name-call us.

I guess I can understand the passion surrounding The Factor.  Last night's program was a good example, and that's the subject of this evening's Talking Points memo.

At issue, homeless people sleeping in the doorways of expensive neighborhoods.  A federal judge has ruled that's OK.  We interviewed Presbyterian minister Thomas Tewell, who is working one on one with the homeless.

Jane Reeb, who lives in Atlanta, did not like that interview.  "Bill, I thought you were a gentleman, but now I see you as an insensitive, unkind elitist.  Mother Teresa would be sickened by your arrogant disrespect for victims of unnoticed tragedies.  So am I."

You know what makes me ill, Miss Reeb?  Foolish public policy and watching the taxpayers' money being wasted.  I get real queasy about that.  The homeless problem, and indeed the poverty situation in America, will never been solved when people -- until people like you who care realize that sympathy does not turn lives around.  Discipline and well-thought-out remedies do that.

Americans who choose to act irresponsibly will most likely fail in our competitive system.  The problem is, their children suffer right along with them.  If the government really cared about the poor, which it does not, it would require people who cannot feed and house themselves, for whatever reason, to enter into therapeutic facilities paid for by the taxpayer and confront their problems under professional supervision.

If the citizen refused to do that, then the vagrancy and public nuisance laws should be applied against him or her.  No American has the right to intrude on the public safety or the public good.  Fouling the streets is not a right.  Public intoxication is not a right.  Using government assistance to buy drugs or alcohol is downright criminal.

America's a great country, and hundreds of thousands of immigrants come here each year and immediately join the workforce.  The tens of thousands of people who can't do that, again for whatever reason, deserve a chance to turn things around.  But if they refuse to embrace the public good, refuse to help themselves, then the government has a right to isolate them.

That's not touchy-feely, it's not what the pseudo-intellectuals want to hear, but it's fair and humane.  And the sooner Americans realize that, the sooner something might be done about persistent poverty and addiction.

And that's the memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day."

CNN loses one of its big guns, Greta Van Susteren, who will take over the 10:00 p.m. slot here on the Fox News channel.  It's ridiculous for CNN, good for us.  And we wish Ms. Van Susteren much success here at the Fox News Channel.

— You can watch Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points weeknights at 8 & 11p.m. ET.  And send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com