22° Good Morning
22° Good Morning

Letter: Paying the bills, but a Forgotten Man

Greta Guarton, right, executive director of The Long

Greta Guarton, right, executive director of The Long Island Coalition for the Homeless, talks to Terry C., left, of Rockville Centre, as she conducts their annual homeless census count. (Jan. 22, 2014) Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

With all the hand wringing about "young people" leaving Long Island and the lack of affordable apartments for the poor and unemployed ["Counting the homeless," News, Jan. 23], has anyone stopped to consider the plight of the Forgotten Man (or Woman)? This is the homeowner struggling to pay the outrageous property taxes that support the philanthropy of society's do-gooders.

In case you don't know, to paraphrase William Graham Sumner, an early libertarian, the Forgotten Man is the average man who doesn't belong to a special lobby or civic group that gets taxpayer-funded parks.

Neither does he qualify for subsidized housing because of his income. He is stuck somewhere in the middle.

He doesn't go to town hall to complain or grandstand with a self-righteousness that borders on delusional. He doesn't lobby and suck up to the local politicians to keep a zone change away from his property and closer to another's.

He doesn't start phony civic organizations that falsely claim to represent neighborhoods that never heard of him.

The Forgotten Man is none of these. He is, however, the victim of his own apathy, brought about by a political system that keeps him at arm's length, and which only allows him closer when either votes or donations are needed.

He is too disgusted to care, too tired to complain and too broke to move.

Peter Nichols, Melville