For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. ---Ephesians 6:12

"The age of casual Catholicism is over; the age of heroic Catholicism has begun. We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead must be Catholics by CONVICTION." ---Fr. Terrence Henry TOR, Franciscan University of Steubenville

Monday, July 6, 2009

Quite Possibly America's Fastest Growing Profession

In these uncertain days of rampant unemployment amidst the overt lack of stimulus in our economy, there is a vocation that seems to be getting more and more lucrative. It requires a certain skill in its execution but little more preparation than scrawling on a sign. Sunscreen is helpful, but not required. And if you don't wish to get ants in your pants, then bring your own chair. I am talking about the fastest growing profession in most large cities, particularly at interstate off-ramps: Panhandling!

Matt Kaufman, a writer for Dr. Dobson, emailed me a link to an article in the St. Petersburg Times by Lane DeGregory that brings to mind the welfare queens President Reagan warned us about in the 1980 presidential campaign, but deals primarily with the growing numbers of panhandlers in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area and how it has become a profession. Though, as a trucker who drives all over this great nation, I can personally attest to scores of major cities where this runs rampant.

I have given in on many occasions and dropped a few bucks in the grubby hands of appreciative hobos, most of whom blessed me more profusely than any priest has so far. But after reading this article I cannot help but feel a sense of rage at those who ply this avocation who do not possess the need. One would think it takes a sense of desperation and a little bit of insanity to sit in the blazing sun, eg. Oklahoma or Florida, and collect what may turn out to be only $1 to $5 per day. But according to DeGregory, some claim to fetch as much as $800 a week, and that it all depends upon a person's sales pitch -- what you scrawl on your cardboard sign. Most do not live on the streets, but in homes or even motels. You have to read it to believe it...

Read the whole story by clicking HERE.


Anonymous said...

If you read the article linked to, it says 'all have criminal records' -- that means none of these people will ever get hired. Reason? All employers do background checks. All landlords do also. That's why they 'live in motels' -- that's so much more expensive than, say, a small studio apartment, that alone should tip you off. Once you have a problem with credit or run-in with the law, your choices are limited. At least these people are trying to do something other than commit crime, which would cost society so much more $$ in paying for their jail cell.

Anonymous said...

So criminals are victims...and because of that we should give them money for doing nothing?????

Most correctional institutions at least try to rehabilitate their inmates and try to teach them a trade. Then upon release they set them up with an employer so they have a steady income.

Frank said...

Actually I believe many of the panhandlers not only have criminal records, but are also on the lam from the law for current misdeeds. That would explain why they live in motels. Only the high-end apartments keep ex-cons out, and usually only those who are registered as sex offenders.

Yes, choices are limited when you screw up. But you do have choices other than panhandling or transient living. So spare us your bleeding-heart notions.