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December 10, 2012

Liberal NYT Columnist Nicholas Kristof: Gee, Maybe Eternal Government Dependency Isn't Actually "Generous" Towards Its Would-Be Beneficiaries

He writes about the stultifying, soul-draining experience of a life on the dole, and not just a life, but the same life for one's children, and their children, and so on until the Republic collapses.

Barone digests his column.

Kristof is writing from Breathitt County, Ky., deep in the Appalachian mountains, about mothers whose Supplemental Security Income benefits will decrease if their children learn to read. Kristof notes that 55% of children qualifying for SSI benefits do so because of “fuzzier intellectual disabilities short of mental retardation,” far more than four decades ago when SSI was just a new program.

Evidently SSI administrators decided to be more generous to parents of such children. But, as Kristof notes, giving parents an incentive to keep children from learning to read works against the children’s long-term interest.

Kristof’s column makes a point similar to that in my De. 2 Examiner column on the vast rise in people receiving Social Security Disability Insurance payments. As with SSI, one imagines that those responsible for extending benefits to those not previously eligible did so out of a sense of generosity. But as I noted, “there is also a human cost. Consider the plight of someone who at some level knows he can work but decides to collect disability payments instead. That person is not likely to ever seek work again, especially if the sluggish recovery turns out to be the new normal. He may be gleeful that he was able to game the system or just grimly determined to get what he can in a tough situation. But he will not be able to get the satisfaction of earned success from honest work that contributes something to society and the economy.” Generosity that produces “soul-crushing dependency” is not really generosity.

I haven't read Kristof's column (update -- I have now), but it looks like he chooses to avoid the Wedge Issue of the teacher's unions. Poor kids have only one way Up and Out, and that's a decent education, but the Democrats absolutely refuse to reform the educational system.

When the media natters Republicans about intransigence and being held prisoner to their most "extreme" and ideological elements-- how come never a single word is mentioned about Democrats' evil obedience to the teachers' unions?

The incredible thing here is that almost every liberal will admit this, and almost every liberal in the business of politics has seen the documentary Waiting for Superman. They know the current system is more of a trap for, say, poor black kids than Jim Crow ever was.

And what do they propose doing about it? Absolutely nothing. Absolutely nothing.

But no one ever talks about that, eh? You'll never see a single person on the media ask a Democrat about his party's "extremism" and extreme anti-black attitudes when it comes to basic education.

Nope, He Didn't Talk About Reforming Education: And his article actually does discuss education, and private groups which try to help poor kids learn.

But he avoids the Democratic Top Priority of doing nothing to improve education except paying teachers more.

A reformer in Waiting for Superman made this point: If school districts had the power to fire (without the heavy union interference) merely the bottom 6% of teachers, 90% of the problems with public education would be solved.

But Democrats will never permit that. That 6% that is in danger of being fired are the most fired-up members of the Teachers Unions, because their livelihoods depend on the policy of absolutely no terminations for incompetency, and those most fired-up members of the Teachers Unions are in turn the shock troops of the Democratic turnout machine.

So yes yes, let's continue talking about "extremism" without ever mentioning the Democrats' extremism and crucial reforms blocked by ideologues -- nay, not even ideologues, as there's no "idea" here worth discussing. This is pure partisanship only, pure power politics. It's entirely thoughtless and reflexive.

It's the ultimate Cult of the Old -- we do this because we have always done so before. Not a single Member of the Herd of Independent Thinkers ever demonstrates all this "courage" they're always complimenting themselves for to question this demonic policy.



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posted by Ace at 10:45 AM

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