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License To Beg

By Matthew Yglesias  

"License To Beg"

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(cc photo by Dear Edward)

Montgomery County’s not run by neoliberal sellouts, that’s for sure. They’re true friends of the working man:

Montgomery County panhandlers such as Garnes would have to apply for permits to ask drivers for spare change under legislation [County Executive Isiah] Leggett is requesting from state lawmakers. Leggett said panhandlers often stand in the median strip of county roads — which is allowed under county law — but that many approach drivers by walking into the street, which is not.

This business about where the beggars stand is a microcosm of one of the most prominent conceptual problems here. If the issue is people violating traffic laws, then devote more resources to enforcing the traffic laws. Why devote resources to creating a beggar licensing scheme and then devote more resources to enforcing it?

At any rate, laugh at this idea if you will. But even under Leggett’s plan it will be considerably easier for a poor person to get permission to beg in the street in Montgomery County than it will be for a poor person to get permission to rent a basement/attic/garage apartment from an empty nester couple that doesn’t need so much space anymore.

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