Thursday, November 18, 2004

More on welfare

Jane Galt has a good post on welfare reform. She praises to the heavens the new book American Dream by Jason DeParle, the same book that was discussed and praised in the "Slate" dialogue that I mentioned yesterday. I guess I'm going to need to read that book. She also gives some of her own thoughts on the problems of welfare:
it's clear to me from the research I've done to write about poverty, and from reading books like DeParle's, that the poor suffer from three main problems: their own poor impulse control or decision making; a culture that encourages poor decision making; and limited means, which give them no buffer against the results of their poor decision making.....

But it's not enough to say to these women "Get married" or "Ignore your friends and pay attention to school". Some extraordinary people do, of course, but we all tend to overestimate how easy it is to be that extraordinary. Most of us reading this blog, after all, went to college and/or got nice steady jobs because we had enormous social and familial pressure on us to do so. How many of us were strong enough to overcome our environment, drop out of high school, and sell drugs?


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