If you’re of the pessimistic (or realistic) variety you probably can’t stop dwelling on 2 of America’s greatest problems: the credit crunch and global warming. Besides war, these are the hot-button issues on everyone’s mind as the election approaches. Many Americans want a sound approach to economics and the environment in the oval office in the years following inauguration 2009.

Perhaps you’ve taken the high road and done things to combat global warming and increase enviro-friendliness on your own instead waiting for the government to take action—doing things like recycling, shutting off unused lights/electronics in your home to conserve energy, not flushing pee to save water, and driving a hybrid to save gas and curb carbon dioxide emissions.

And maybe you’ve begun fighting the debt crisis at home by preaching financial responsibility to your friends, paying your credit card bill in full each month and electing to stay in your humble 4 bedroom home instead of financing a 6 bedroom/ 6 bath cape cod behemoth with an adjustable rate mortgage. Possibly, you’ve even made plans to vote this November for a presidential candidate who claims he/she will balance the budget once again.

Perhaps your progressive consciousness is so far-reaching that you also think America’s next president should address the aforementioned problems and, among other things, fix the problem of homelessness in America once and for all.

Well my friend, if you answered “yes” to all of the above, you may want to review your stance on homelessness and pretty much every thing else, for that matter, because your acts of conservation and financial prudence are downright trivial when compared to the lifestyle of your neighborhood bum.

That’s right, the typical homeless person, or bum, has been living with negligible environmental impact and a virtually non-existent carbon footprint for centuries now. Bums don’t need to drive hybrids because they don’t care to own cars. As a matter of fact, they didn’t own cars before global warming was a widely accepted-as-real phenomenon. Bums don’t own electronics, much less homes to house them, so their energy consumption is a drop in the ocean compared to yours even if you turn off your lights in the daytime and have solar panels on the roof of your home. If a bum needs to read in the dark, they use the nearest street lamp, which is, ironically, lit all night long not for reading purposes but to make ordinary people feel safe and protected from, among other undesirables, bums.

These days many bums earn humble living recycling cans, bottles, and paper discarded by non-bums. In addition to recycling trash, many bums recycle food (a concept that has yet to be adopted by even the most dedicated greenie) by eating leftovers in trashcans discarded by non-bums. A typical bum’s overall level of consumption pales in comparison to those“productive” members of society—it’s truly staggering when you think about it.

As for the debt crunch, most bums—with near zero net worth—are actually wealthier than the average American, who carries a credit card balance of many thousands and a mortgage principle that is much, much larger. That’s right, there’s a good chance the guy driving down the street, blackberry in hand, in a convertible AMG Benz is more destitute than the bum on the street corner holding the “accepting donations for wine-tasting foundation” sign. In fact the bum may be rich by comparison because a guy with zero debt is a baller compared to a guy who bought a million dollar shack in some trendy, gentrified neighborhood in 2004 and now owes 20% more than the home’s present value.

Bums, with their phenomenally low levels of consumption, environment-friendly lifestyles, microscopic carbon footprints, and responsible spending habits are the true heroes of 21st century America. They, unwittingly, have set the standard for responsible urban living. Perhaps, if bums were more greedy and had more pride they’d get it together and start showering every other day (to save water), get a job (to pay for clothes made with natural fibers), buy a car (a hybrid), and buy a house (so they can turn off the lights in the daytime).

Maybe homelessness isn’t that much of a problem after all.

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