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With an estimated 1.5 million people homeless, on the one hand, it’s understandable why the president wants to reach out and touch. But, on the other, Uncle Sam should pull back.

Sometimes, I wonder whether Mr. Obama is channeling Mitch Snyder, the irascible activist who was the media face of America’s homeless in the 1980s.

Snyder had crusaded against the war in Vietnam and against what he considered a disengaged federal government. He gave President Reagan the blues and the upshot was a government giveaway in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol. For $1, a former college building was turned over to the Community for Creative Non-Violence shelter, and Snyder and hundreds of homeless called it home.

Unfortunately, 20 years ago on July 6, Snyder hanged himself there in the shelter, where people still come from all over the nation waiting for a government giveaway.

The Bible tells us all hearts should bleed for the less fortunate. But nowhere in the Good Book does it say that hand should be Uncle Sam’s.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at