This is painful for a liberal to admit, but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America's safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency. Our poverty programs do rescue many people, but other times they backfire. Some young people here don't join the military (a traditional escape route for poor, rural Americans) because it's easier to rely on food stamps and disability payments.You have to understand that he came to this conclusion after talking to ONE guy from Kentucky, and an American Enterprise Institute "Scholar" who believes that all social welfare programs should be block granted to the states, so the money can be given to rich people.
You see, he thinks that the money spent on kids who get SSI, most of whom actually need the support, should instead be spent on should be spent on early childhood development.*
Somehow Mr. Kristof thinks that overpaid people with cushy jobs, like New York Times OP/ED columnists, shouldn't pay a bit more in taxes, or pay a bit more to have their lawns manicured, or their tables bussed, or their clothes cleaned, or their floors swept. Somehow, that suggestion is simply gauche.
I do not have the words to express my level of contempt for Kristof as a failed human being.
Fortunately, Charlie Pierce does have the words.
*BTW, when Michelle Rhee went to war with the teachers' unions in Washington, DC, she never had a plan for early childhood development. This is typical of people like Rhee and Kristoff. They are less interested in finding solutions than they are in demonizing the least amongst us.