Starkville Daily News - - FO­RUM -

Tor­rey says it has now be­come po­lit­i­cally cor­rect to claim that this fed­eral pro­gram failed be­cause not enough cen­ters were funded and not enough money was spent. But that's not true. Tor­rey says: "Al­to­gether, the an­nual to­tal pub­lic funds for the sup­port and treat­ment of men­tally ill in­di­vid­u­als is now more than $140 bil­lion. The equiv­a­lent ex­pen­di­ture in 1963 when Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy pro­posed the CMHC pro­gram was $1 bil­lion, or about $10 bil­lion in to­day's dol­lars. Even al­low­ing for the in­crease in U.S. pop­u­la­tion, what we are get­ting for this 14-fold in­crease in spend­ing is a dis­grace."

The dol­lar cost of this lib­eral vi­sion of de­in­sti­tu­tion­al­iza­tion of men­tally ill peo­ple is a rel­a­tively small part of the bur­den

placed on so­ci­ety. Many in­no­cent peo­ple have been as­saulted, robbed and mur­dered by men­tally ill peo­ple. Busi­ness­peo­ple and their cus­tomers have had to cope with the nui­sance cre­ated by the men­tally ill. The po­lice re­sponse to mis­be­hav­ior and crime com­mit­ted by the men­tally ill is to ar­rest them. Thus, they are put in jeop­ardy of mis­treat­ment by hard­ened criminals in the na­tion's jails and pris­ons. Worst of all is the fact that the lib­er­als who en­gi­neered the shut­ting down of men­tal in­sti­tu­tions have never been held ac­count­able for their folly.

Wal­ter E. Wil­liams is a pro­fes­sor of eco­nom­ics at Ge­orge Ma­son Univer­sity. To find out more about Wal­ter E. Wil­liams and read fea­tures by other Creators Syn­di­cate writ­ers and car­toon­ists, visit the Creators Syn­di­cate web­page at www.creators.com.

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