Dear Tell All: I don't think the letter writer who called himself Panhandling for Salvation needs to feel guilty for not giving a handout to a downtown panhandler ("Can You Spare a Dime?" 4/6/2012). All of us who pay taxes are already helping such people, given that we fund local social service agencies. Social workers are the ones best equipped to help the homeless and the indigent, not those of us who might give them a dollar or two for who knows what purpose.
I think the people who should feel guilty are conservatives obsessed with cutting taxes. This leads to cuts at social service agencies, which leads to disaster for those poor panhandlers. No, Republicans, the government isn't simply stealing this money from you. If used wisely, the money creates the kind of humane civilization most of us want to live in.
Sunny & Share
Dear Tell All: I just read the letter from Panhandling for Salvation. I too have wondered about this. I don't always give cash, but sometimes I decide just to stop waffling and do so. I look at it as a matter of karma. If I give cash and the panhandler is scamming, it's his/her karma. If I don't and they aren't, it's mine.
Dear Tell All: The person begging money, described in your column, is a well-known crackhead who has been downtown for over a decade. People have tried to help him many times and he just goes back to the crack pipe.
Living downtown 25 years, I can say many of the "homeless" and "panhandlers" are not homeless, and many receive Social Security or other benefits but choose to spend the money on crack or alcohol. For this reason, I do not give any money to the panhandlers except the old black guy by Walgreens who uses his money for food.
Just the Facts