Paid to Loaf


In San Francisco, a court ruling regarding a voter-approved initiative aimed at replacing cash payments to the homeless with food and shelter has created a perverse situation: A state judge ruled that voters could cut walking-around money (currently $320 to $395 a month) for the elderly, the disabled, and people trying to find jobs but not for able-bodied individuals who refuse to seek employment. The rationale was that the latter payments are state-mandated, while the former were introduced by the county–largely to encourage people to get off welfare. The upshot is a set of incentives that encourages everyone who can work not to. The Board of Supervisors is considering ways to fix the problem before the "Care Not Cash" initiative kicks in on July 1.