Jan 10, 2005
A homeless man sleeping in a dumpster in Ann Arbor, Michigan, barely escaped being crushed to death in a garbage truck – apparently saved by trash too hard to compact.
This man is just one of a growing army of homeless people in this country.
About four million people in the U.S. were homeless at some time during 2004, on average for about eight months each – a monumental social failure, considering the amount of wealth generated in this country.
There are people who explain away homelessness pretending the homeless are simply alcoholics or drug users. But that's just wrong. One-third of all the homeless today are people who have jobs. They are the poorest of the working poor, with jobs that pay so little that they can't even afford a house to live in! Whole families are homeless, while the parents try to feed them on jobs that pay minimum wage.
As for people who are drug or alcohol addicts, many of them are on the streets today because local and state officials have closed down treatment facilities – just as they have closed down most state mental facilities – literally throwing many helpless people onto the streets.
The homeless man who almost lost his life in a dumpster is a sickeningly accurate symbol of this society's priorities. Bent on producing billions of dollars for a few, it's content to throw millions of people on the trash heap.