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Wealth & Poverty Review The New Untouchables

Seattle policymakers want to provide the city’s underclass with blanket immunity for misdemeanor crime. Continue Reading at City Journal

In October, the Seattle City Council floated legislation to provide an exemption from prosecution for misdemeanor crimes for any citizen who suffers from poverty, homelessness, addiction, or mental illness. Under the proposed ordinance, courts would have to dismiss all so-called “crimes of poverty”—which, according to the city’s former public-safety advisor, would cover more than 90 percent of all misdemeanor cases citywide. In effect, the legislation would create a new class of “untouchables,” protected from consequences by the city’s powerbrokers.

This is the latest and most brazen effort in the city’s campaign to establish what might be called a “reverse hierarchy of oppression.” The underlying theory is that society has condemned the lower class to a life of poverty and stigma, which leads to addiction, madness, and indigence. The poor, in the logic of Seattle’s progressive elites, are thus forced to commit crimes—including violent crimes—to secure their very existence. Therefore, as society is the perpetrator of this inequality, the crimes of the poor must be forgiven. The crimes are transformed into an expression of social justice.

Continue Reading at City Journal

Christopher Rufo

Former Director, Center on Wealth & Poverty
Christopher Rufo is former director of the Discovery Institute’s Center on Wealth & Poverty. He has directed four documentaries for PBS, Netflix, and international television, including his latest film, America Lost, that tells the story of three "forgotten American cities.” Christopher is currently a contributing editor of City Journal, where he covers poverty, homelessness, addiction, crime, and other afflictions. Christopher is a magna cum laude graduate of Georgetown University, Claremont Institute Lincoln Fellow, and has appeared on NPR, CNN, ABC, CBS, HLN, and FOX News.