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« Beyond Awful | Main | Overthinking Hillary vs. Sarah »

May 04, 2010


You know, he's right about the "spending money" part of it, that if you double the amount there's be a disappointingly small outcome. Poverty is partly economic, but over time it's increasingly a state of mind as well. It's a sense of despair that anything will ever change, that things will always be shitty so expect to be shat upon and live for this moment right now don't even think of planning for anything beyond sundown. I get his point.

But as you point out, he completely loses me with the implication that you just walk away. It's the core of conservativsm, that sense that you're on your own. It's just stunningly callous. Here's something else I quoted Sunday (sorry for all the block quotes today):

The stupidity of the tea partiers has nothing to do with innate intelligence or with acquired intelligence. It has nothing to do with smartness or brainpower or where anyone falls on the bell curve of Stanford-Binet test scores. It is, rather, a moral stupidity, a moral imbecilism that produces simple imbecilism — the inevitable intellectual consequence of a selfish refusal to listen to what empathy is shouting from all sides.
People like Brooks will never put themselves in another's shoes, never try to figure out what to do with intractable social problems after the immediate and easy path has been tried. In practice his preferred organizing structure for humanity is not democracy or some kind of Randian utopia but a state of nature.

I didn't read it as an indictment of all public policies. I read it simply as a word of caution. Maybe I'm just not as prone to hyperbole as some.

I read it as I read every bit of shit that Bobo flings "I've got mine, fuck you!" and "Poor people suck so why waste the money."

Oh,and the ever-popular "Poor people will just spend the money on drugs so don't give them any." Yo asshole, if you lived the depressing, degrading, boring existence that most poverty-level people do, you'd be a fucking drug addict too!!!

"Bad policy can decimate the social fabric, but good policy can only modestly improve it. "

This assumes there is a no policy option. There is no such option. Ignoring a problem is a policy, most often a bad one.

Just so you know, I'm in low income housing, working full time when I qualified, supporting my kid.
Poverty is being poor. Nothing else. Come back when you want to talk about finding me a way to earn enough money to live on. Don't talk to me about my state of mind.

A must read for everyone -- John Scalzi's essay on being poor.


k, I didn't mean to imply it was an across the board thing. But I've seen people have opportunities put right in front of them, pointed out, and generally been all but ushered to them, and have them remain inert. It struck me as something more than just not having enough money, but having some kind of permanent sense of despair that anything can be done to make things better. I shouldn't have implied it was uniform, but I do think it's a very real phenomenon.

The laissez-faire capitalism Brooks so much enjoys (and is the wingnut welfare beneficiary of) creates the poverty about which he displays so much cynicism.

But, hell, I don't expect Brooks or his ilk to either connect the dots or link cause and effect, or be sorry that they are unwilling to do so.

Sometimes, an asshole is just an asshole.

That isn't poor, that's depression, or if you want, poor self esteem.
Reduced circumstances make you very afraid. What happens if my car breaks down? I can't afford a new clunker, let alone a decent used car. And if you make one wrong move, your security net gets cut right out from under you. Cripple yourself at your job? Oh, well. Die, then.
It wears on you, always having to watch out. And I'm relatively new at it.

life isn't fair, but we can may it better.

Posted by: k | May 04, 2010 at 18:57

And there are whole families who spend years, even decades living like that. Day to day, week to week, etc.

On top of that, they have to breathe the same air as asshats who think that pointing out the gravity of their situation is engaging in 'hyperbole'.

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