The New York Post is very concerned about homelessness and poverty. So concerned that it has dedicated wall-to-wall coverage involving 16 reporters to shaming a mentally ill homeless man. So concerned that it has declared costumed Times Square hustlers and fake Buddhist monk hustlers "the new squeegee men." So concerned that it found its annual squeegee man working a Crown Heights intersection on Saturday—though to be fair he just had some rags—and declared him the last nose-wrinkling sight in "a week of rampant quality-of-life problems exposed by The Post."
So far, the tabloid has at least one notch in its belt to show for the shrieking political campaign: getting police Commissioner Bill "Broken Windows" Bratton to clamp down even harder on the low-level offenses that keep the New York criminal justice system full of fresh bodies. But what, aside from electing a Republican, does the Post propose for a long-term solution? The paper's catlady-in-residence Andrea Peyser's latest column, headlined "Bums are running amok in New York City and it needs to stop," provides a clue.
The scourge has grown intolerable. Emboldened vagrants all over the city terrorize mothers, frighten children and erode the quality of life for everyone. The official neglect that perpetuates these offenses to our senses is not just a form of neglect—it is cruel to avoid forcing people to move inside.
"Forcing people to move inside" is the closest you'll find to a prescription in the Post's ravings, but what does it mean? Should we move them into an apartment subsidized by the city, with accompanying mental health, addiction, and job training and placement services? Or should we straight up criminalize poverty and send New York's homeless to labor camps? Surely there must be some way to force people "inside," end the affordable-housing crisis, and save the government resources that would be required for a block-by-block erasure of the unsightly poor.
That way is to make the whole island of Manhattan a prison.