As American politicians and intellectuals are torn trying to fix the country's fiscal crisis with a combination of tax increases and spending cuts, a recent viral episode in New York City may serve to put things in perspective.
When NYPD Officer Larry DePrimo was photographed giving a pair of boots he just had bought to a cold and supposedly homeless man in New York City, America's collective heart melted in a picture-perfect holiday tale of caring and union between an unfortunate fellow countryman and a surprisingly tender cop. However, the supposed homeless man — Jeffrey Hillman — is not homeless according to the NYDN.
According to the Department of Homeless Services, Hillman has an apartment, paid for through a combination of Section 8 vouchers, Social Security disability and veterans benefits. In addition, Hillman's housing — paid, in part, by New York State hardworking taxpayers — comes with other services such as drug, alcohol and mental health treatments.
Hillman, 54, was later seen — as reported by the New York Times — barefoot again despite the brand new $100 boots Officer DePrimo had given him. “Those shoes are hidden. They are worth a lot of money,” Hillman said. “I was put on YouTube, I was put on everything without permission. What do I get? [...] This went around the world, and I want a piece of the pie,” he added.