Fill-in-the-Blank Would Be Rolling Over in His Grave!

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In regards both the Incarceration Nation blogapalooza yesterday, and Brian Doherty's second thoughts on William F. Buckley, I just came across this neat encapsulation of at least some of the modern conservative movement, in the form of the National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru writing at washingtonpost.com:

when I see a headline about a record incarceration rate, I'm glad. Aren't you?

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  1. What can you say? Of course conservatives love it when more people suffermfrom state power, since conservatives have no problem with the state, but only with a state that does not enforce conservative values…

  2. MNG,

    Troll much?

    Jeremy Bentham won’t be rolling over in his grave–and not just because he isn’t in one.
    That progressive utilitarian puke would be in full agreement with Ponnuru on this. We can strike Mr Panopticon from the fill-in-the-blank list.

  3. Ironically, even though if Levitt is proven accurate, Ponnuru wouldn’t feel the same way if he read about record abortion rates. Even though the abortions would lead to lower crime rates as well.

    Killing a clump of cells. Evil.
    Locking a person in a cage. Excellent.

    I wonder what his response is to the studies that showed NY’s crime rates went down far more than other states, even though its incarceration rates went up less than those states.

  4. Out-of-control legal system and over-crowded prisons, yet more infringements on our rights by the gov’t. Add it to the ever-growing list of violations:
    They violate the 1st Amendment by opening mail, caging demonstrators and banning books like America Deceived (book) from Amazon.
    They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns during Katrina.
    They violate the 4th Amendment by conducting warrant-less wiretaps.
    They violate the 5th and 6th Amendment by suspending habeas corpus.
    They violate the 8th Amendment by torturing.
    They violate the entire Constitution by starting 2 illegal wars based on lies and on behalf of a foriegn gov’t.
    Support Dr. Ron Paul and save this great country.

  5. My old girlfriend used to believe in reincarceration. I thought she was a little spacey, but she was cute and I was young.

  6. “Even though the abortions would lead to lower crime rates as well.”

    Hmmm, technically aren’t fetuses incarcerated? Wonder how that affects the calculations.

  7. Jesus fucking christ…

    Those conservative fucks are twisted beyond belief.

  8. “My old girlfriend used to believe in reincarceration.”

    I don’t know what the appeal of heaven or hell is. I’d rather not be incarcerated in either place for eternity.

  9. SIV
    Jeremy Bentham won’t be rolling over in his grave–and not just because he isn’t in one.
    That progressive utilitarian puke would be in full agreement with Ponnuru on this

    Who’s really the troll, SIV? I’m a utilitarian and I completely disagree with Ponnuru.

  10. Ironically, even though if Levitt is proven accurate, Ponnuru wouldn’t feel the same way if he read about record abortion rates. Even though the abortions would lead to lower crime rates as well.

    I think y’all would do well to apply some of the good ol’ libertarian skepticism to that study, rather than quoting it as gospel. I know the mention of abortion turns off the logic circuits on both sides of the argument, but give it a try.

  11. sure. Why don’t you start by pointing out some flaws in the study?

  12. While the study may have been true, thats not the reason I’m pro-choice and anyone who is pro-choice for that reason would creep me out.

  13. Cesar,
    Agreed, but you’d think someone that’s happy when they read about record incarceration rates would be.

  14. SIV
    I’m not sure what you’re getting at. Bentham did come up with incaceration ideas, but did he want to see many, many people incacerated? I think like a lot of the progressives of his day (over here in the states liberal christian groups like the Quakers) that urged incaceration he considered it superior to the physical punishments (branding, whipping, etc) common back then. I don’t think that implies they wanted to see incaceration used a great deal, just that it was better than physical punishment.

    BTW-as Brian pointed utilitarian need not mean liberal. Obviously you’ve never heard of James Fitzjames Stephen (but then it’s always struck me you don’t know a whole lot about the classics of the conservatism you profess so strongly). Here’s his classic:

    http://oll.libertyfund.org/option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=572|

  15. Context really does matter on this one, so here’s what RP wrote in full:

    “More Americans than ever are in prison. We incarcerate a higher percentage of the population than any other country. It’s too bad we have such a high rate of criminality–but given that we do, I’m glad we have been putting more people behind bars over the last generation.

    “It isn’t an ideal solution. It may be that we need to find other ways to deal with nonviolent offenders. We should surely address the appalling problem of prison rape. Hiring more police officers and putting them on the street might help, too.

    “But increased rates of imprisonment have helped to bring about falling rates of crime. Given the alternative of the way we treated crime in the 1960s and 1970s, when I see a headline about a record incarceration rate, I’m glad. Aren’t you?”

  16. Mo:

    While the study may have been true, thats not the reason I’m pro-choice and anyone who is pro-choice for that reason would creep me out.

    Cesar,
    Agreed, but you’d think someone that’s happy when they read about record incarceration rates would be.

    Someone who was happy to read of record incarceration rates would creep me out in exactly the same way as Cesar is creeped out by the pro-choice because of Freakanomics people. At least I guess that’s the way those people creep Cesar out.

    I’m not a mind reader!

  17. Jeremy, I agree that the context helps, but isn’t it just false that the relevant alternative is “the way we treated crime in the 1960s and 1970s”? The alternative is ending the drug war and implementing policies that encourage poor urban men to enter the legal labor market. By misleading about the alternatives, RP helps perpetuate a racist illiberal system.

  18. Isn’t Ponnuru Indian?

  19. economist,
    I think so. Why?

  20. Will, I think you’re looking at this from a philosophical-idealist perspective and RP a historical-political one. He begins by granting, yes, the current system has its problems that we should address but then argues that it’s better than the one that came before in terms of discouraging violent crime.

  21. It’s the same thing as the National Reviewers reaction to war.

    The most positive response a decent human being with a soul can have is “Sigh, it’s a dirty business, but it’s sometimes necessary.”

  22. Then let’s send Ramesh to the gas chamber.

    Since Ramesh feels no moral responsibility to determine if the people incarcerated at record rates are incarcerated justly or not, I now have no moral responsibility to worry about whether Ramesh is executed justly or not. I am following the maxim of his action.

    So gas the fucker. Sell tickets. I’ll bring pop.

  23. It’s too bad we have such a high rate of criminality–but given that we do

    This is exactly what is in dispute Ramesh, you stupid fuck.

  24. If I was shown that every single person being held in an American prison deserved every single minute of his or her time, the effect it produced on me would still not be gladness.

    There is something sadistic to the point of sociopathy among those who look for a reason to feel good about others’ suffering.

  25. Or rather, who get a visceral joy out of others’ suffering and then look for a reason to justify that gladness.

  26. >Then let’s send Ramesh to the gas chamber.

    Well that’s it for me then, folks. I refuse to argue with crazy people.

  27. the current system has its problems that we should address but then argues that it’s better than the one that came before in terms of discouraging violent crime.

    So, he still comes out in favor of the iron fist, despite the weak connection between violent crimes and incarceration rates.

    No, it’s not his ideal solution, but it suits him anyway.

  28. They violate the 1st Amendment by opening mail, caging demonstrators and banning books like America Deceived (book) from Amazon.

    That book WAS NOT BANNED! Are you so stupid that you would believe that author’s claim that his book was banned, even when you can order it in the very link you provide? The author’s claims are a cheap gimmick to get you to buy the book. If you can put two brain cells together, let me explain: the lack of sales does not infer a ban, it only means that the book is so bad no one bought it before he started claiming persecution.

  29. I’m not convinced he is glad that “criminals” are suffering. I read it as he is glad because he perceives “non-criminals” are now safer.

  30. So blogosphere writers like Mr Lott & Mr Wilkinson spend their weekends commenting on other blogs? How sad. I’m sure the women in your lives would appreciate your attention, guys.

  31. Jeremy, I guess you’re too stupid to recognize a reductio ad absurdum, then. Or maybe too intellectually dishonest.

    The reason to discuss our incarceration rate is to determine if our system of laws is just. The fact that our incarceration rate approaches, equals or exceeds that of societies that everyone generally accepts are unjust doesn’t matter to Ramesh, and he doesn’t want to discuss it. He deliberately cuts off debate of that issue by declaring that the reason we have a high incarceration rate is because of our “rate of criminality”. The Chinese could similarly argue that if people would just stop defying the Communist party, they would also have a lower incarceration rate.

    I take – and I am entitled to take – Ramesh’s words as a statement that he considers any infraction of the laws – no matter what the laws are – to be criminality, and also that he doesn’t care if the laws are just as long as the crime rate goes down so he can feel “safer”. Well, I can easily apply that outlook to the question of whether or not Ramesh should be gassed: if we can secure a law getting that done, it doesn’t matter if it’s just or not, and I can then feel “safer”, in the sense that I know Ramesh will never mug me after he is gassed.

    Unless you believe that there are some ethnicities that are just “more criminal” than others – as Ramesh apparently does – it is a given that all societies should have approximately the same incarceration rate, and if there are discrepancies it is because of the underlying system of laws, and that an unjust society will have a greater rate of incarceration than a just one. This set of assumptions can be pretty safely applied to just about all modern nations and all historical situations where we’ve got good data – if you just accept the fact that there’s something wrong with the system of law in the US, which is the one seeming “anomaly”. If Ramesh does not care to examine whether or not the laws that have produced our rate of incarceration are just, I will join him in that and would strive to maintain that apathy even if he was the victim of an unjust punishment. Why would I be wrong to do so?

  32. Actually, I just wrote a lot of words when I just could have pointed out that our two arguments boil down to this:

    Ramesh: “I don’t care if all of those 3 million people are incarcerated justly or not, I feel safer!”

    Fluffy: “I don’t care if gassing Ramesh is just or unjust, I will feel safer!”

    These are the same argument.

  33. Jeremy — Context (which is always just one click away, people!) matters insofar as it posits an Ends to make one cheer about the Means. (That is, if you take at face value the causation.)

    But at another important level, it doesn’t matter at all. Totalitarian societies (or places like Singapore) have lower crime rates than we do, but even given their “success” I don’t “cheer” every time there’s a headline that shows us to be adopting more of their heinous and illiberal criminal-justice methods or benchmarks.

    I cheer when crime is down, I cheer when innocent people are freed, I cheer when our criminal justice laws (especially involving non-violent drug offenders) aren’t, themselves, criminally insane. I do not fucking cheer when a ghastly number, already swollen by idiot drug laws, increases yet again.

    And I don’t require a pretty picture of the Ends to know that — in my judgment, anyway — they are not justified by the Means.

  34. So blogosphere writers like Mr Lott & Mr Wilkinson spend their weekends commenting on other blogs? How sad. I’m sure the women in your lives would appreciate your attention, guys.

    Yeah, it’s so much easier to take a crack at someone’s personal life when it has absolutely no relevance to the subject at hand.

    So blogosphere commentators like Mr. Potter spend their weekends doing the same thing they’re making fun of other people for?

  35. Given the surreal number of the various laws in the United States, I will happiy give odds that Ramesh Ponnuru has commited an incarcerable offense sometime in his adult life. Likely in the last 2 years. I would like to see him incarcerated for one or all of those offenses. Although it would not make me feel one bit safer, it would give me a feeling of just deserts.

  36. in the sense that I know Ramesh will never mug me after he is gassed.

    At the very least, I feel like I am being mugged whenever I read a Neocon writer, so this makes sense to me. It would be nice to avoid advocating for capital punishment, but what if Ramesh were to excape incarceration? He could then hunt me down and mug me on the street. It is unfortunate that we have to employ these means, but abviously it is also absolutely necessary.

  37. abviously

    I can’t believe Firefox spell checker let that slip by — might be a new word from some abvalicious diet routine.

  38. I see people take deals for a little bit of jail so that they don’t go to trial and lose and do prison.. Oh yeah, and they didn’t do it.
    I see people go to prison for merely not signing their name.
    I watch the state intentionally try to reunify chronic women beaters with thier children.
    People have to go to trial because they moved some dirt from one place to another.
    Of course the position by RP is morally repugnant since there is little correlation between what people do and how bad they get punished. That so many must suffer that he might feel safer though he may not actually be safer.
    Part of me would like to see people like that get assfucked becuase then they sure as would give a damn about reality. But then I am no better then him.
    I don’t think people don’t get it, J sub D is right, everyone breaks the law, even if they don’t know it.

  39. idiot alert. I meant….

    “I don’t think people get it.”

  40. Cab,

    He didn’t cheer a lower crime rate. He cheered the fact that more people live in cages.

    If more people have to be locked up because they are dangerous, violent, and destructive, then that’s what we’ve gotta do. But it is indecent to be glad about that.

    It’s a tragedy, even if an unavoidable one. It’s like cheering because there are a lot bodies on a battlefield.

  41. “Since Ramesh feels no moral responsibility to determine if the people incarcerated at record rates are incarcerated justly or not”

    unsound premise, but don’t let me interrupt yer rant. carry on

  42. Ramesh Ponnuru? That sounds like some funny foreign name, lets put him in jail with the other wetbacks and wogs

  43. “Unless you believe that there are some ethnicities that are just “more criminal” than others – as Ramesh apparently does – it is a given that all societies should have approximately the same incarceration rate, and if there are discrepancies it is because of the underlying system of laws, ”

    this is just monumentally stupid.

    societies are differentiated in huge ways by CULTURE.

    just look at the relative incarceration rates of different ethnic groups in the US. here’s a hint: cultures (which to some extent have relationships to ethnicity) vary significantly because the behavior of their members (on average) differs significantly because their cultures differ significantly.

    similarly, some cultures fare much better economically for similar reasons. bill cosby, t. sowell, sen. moynihan, etc. have all commented on this.

    japanese americans have astoundingly low incarceration rates. whites have significantly higher, and blacks higher still. jews have less than christians. etc. etc.

    it’s not a race thang, because blacks from the west indies tend to fare much better than blacks from the US (in the US). the difference is culture, not race.

    of course some ethnicities are more criminal. so are some age groups, and of course men commit far more violent crime than women. the latter definitely has partly a biological factor, the former – i don’t believe so. it’s culture.

    no society is ever going to have equal incarceration rates among various ethnicities, and that’s not proof of anything but the fact that different cultures result in different influences on behavior.

    and then there’s the whole out of wedlock birth thing. there are few, if any better predictors of relative probabilities of ending up in prison at least once in one’s life that being born out of wedlock with no father. the stats are simply astounding.

    again, it’s not a race thang. or an ethnicities thang. it’s a culture thang. and it just so happens that cultures that promote certain activities are less likely to have higher levels of incarceration than other cultures that value/promote other things.

  44. again, it’s not a race thang. or an ethnicities thang. it’s a culture thang.

    Give that man a Kewpie Doll!

    whit, have you ever been accused of racism by musing or pointing out that certain cultural attributes are resposible for some ethnic groups success/failure in American society? It is frustrating as hell trying to explain the difference to people, especially those who’ve bought into the “all cultures are equal” nonsense.

    Let’s face it, ghetto and hillbilly cultures are not conducive to economic success. It doesn’t make you a bigot if you recognize the fact and point it out. It does make you unwelcome in certain social circles though.

  45. zoltan,

    The difference is that I don’t make my living writing on blogs during the week, unlike the folks I mentioned. Also, I long ago decided that life is too short to waste on trying to please women.

  46. Actually, Jews used to have much higher incarceration rates than native-born Christians.

    Don’t even get me started on the Irish.

    It’s amazing how much “cultures” change when their members move up the socio-economic ladder, ain’t it?

  47. It’s amazing how much “cultures” change when their members move up the socio-economic ladder, ain’t it?

    If you don’t think the Asian cultural stress on academic achievement is more suited to economic success than the ghetto culture that denigrates academics, I don’t know what to say to you. Culture matters and only a fool denies it.

  48. I don’t know if anyone is rolling in his grave, but Gandhi’s ashes just went into monsoon mode.

  49. This is what happens when you outsource the conservative movement.

  50. when I see a headline about a record incarceration rate, I’m glad. Aren’t you?

    Joe Stalin would be so proud of him.

    Bill wins the thread.

  51. when I see a headline about a record incarceration rate, I’m glad. Aren’t you?

    The only thing about such a headline that makes me happy is that all the whining about there being too few police and not enough government power is exposed for being the bullshit that it is.

  52. Whit,

    There aren’t large enough cultural differences between the United States and the nations of Europe to justify the differing incarceration rates.

    It has nothing to do with anything you want to write about “ghetto culture”.

    There is a massive drug culture in Europe. There is a massive rate of illegitimate birth in Europe. Europe has large structural unemployment problems. Europe has large population groups that speak a different language than the dominant language of the nation. Any statement you could make about the experience of minority groups in the US could be duplicated somewhere in Europe. Somehow, we still have a much higher incarceration rate.

    If having a history of economic failure means that you “should” have a higher incarceration rate, 20 years ago Ireland should have had one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. It did not.

    unsound premise, but don’t let me interrupt yer rant.

    The premise is absolutely sound and is supported by virtually every word the man has ever written.

  53. And actually, we are well – well – past the point where economic failure among minority groups is producing a high incarceration rate. We long ago reached the point where a high incarceration rate is producing the economic failure.

    Put the files detailing the criminal histories of all African-American males in a big pile and burn them, and tell them they’re allowed to start claiming they’ve never been arrested, and check back with me in five years. Their economic performance will rise. Without doubt.

  54. Put the files detailing the criminal histories of all African-American males in a big pile and burn them, and tell them they’re allowed to start claiming they’ve never been arrested, and check back with me in five years. Their economic performance will rise. Without doubt.

    You make good some points, Fluffy. I don’t think an intelligent person can deny that the justice system has racist effects throu and thru. OTOH, it seems to me that economic performance and incarceration rates feed off each other.

  55. J sub D,

    I live in a city with 30% “Asians,” thank you very much. You were saying something about “ghetto culture?”

    It’s the ghetto that makes the “ghetto culture,” not the skin tone.

  56. the Asian cultural stress on academic achievement

    When people who were middle class strivers in Japan and Korea come here as a way of improving their lives and opportunities, they bring with them middle class, upwardly-mobile values, because they are the self-selected segment of Japanese or Korean society that was willing to pack up and move to a different country for upward mobility.

    When people who were poor and uneducated are settled here as refugees, they bring different values and attitudes. It’s the ghetto that makes the ghetto culture, and it’s the middle class that makes middle class values.

    J sub D’s “model minority” is just a minority of a minority.

  57. I don’t know what to say to you

    No, clearly not, since you completely failed to address my point. Or, apparently, even understand it.

    they bring with them middle class, upwardly-mobile values

    I should mention, they also tend to bring with them a great deal more in terms of money, marketable skills, existing education, and integration into a modern economy. As well as plain old money, and connections with existing social and economic networks.

  58. If 10,000 good paying jobs suddenly appeared in Detroit tomorrow, some people would be amazed at the speed of cultural evolution.

  59. If 10,000 good paying jobs suddenly appeared in Detroit tomorrow, some people would be amazed at the speed of cultural evolution.

    Yeah, we lost 10,00 good paying jobs in the last decade. No ghetto at all back then. Crime was non-existent. It was fuckin’ paradise.

  60. Yeah, we lost 10,00 good paying jobs in the last decade

    Which makes it one of the best-performing decades for Detroit in a generation.

    Do you actually think “there was a ghetto in Detroit in 1998” is a point for YOUR argument?

  61. Let me put that more simply for you: Detroit had been undergoing severe economic decline for forty years in 1998. And, as you point out, it was, at that time, also crime-ridden and full of the long-term unemployed “underclass.”

    That’s an interesting word, “underclass.” Do you know who it was coined to describe, J sub D?

  62. The answer is, poor people in Scandinavian countries who live in cities that saw significant deindustrialization.

    I eagerly await your explanation of the cultural differences between Swedes in cities that used to have big shipbuilding industries and Swedes in other cities.

  63. Detroit had been undergoing severe economic decline for forty years in 1998.

    I’d need a link for that, joe. I would have guessed Detroit’s economic decline really got underway sometime in the ’70s.

    Would anyone care to link Detroit’s decline to the departure of automotive jobs to less unionized climes? Anyone?

  64. RC,

    Detroit, the city, started seeing the out-migration of jobs to the suburbs in the 50s.

    The Greater Detroit region started seeing the out-migration of automotive jobs in the 70s.

    When we’re talking about the “ghetto” in inner-city Detroit, it’s the former that is the relevant starting date.

    And here’s another blow to the “ghetto culture” theory: how do you think all of those black people got to inner-city Detroit or Harlem in the teens and 20s? Do you think they were collecting AFDC? Obviously not, since there was no AFDC in the 20s. The Great Migration happened because people were following jobs – they were hardworking (mainly) industrial laborers, with exactly the same “culture” as their great-grandsons in the 1990s.

  65. The jobs in the suburbs, btw, were just as likely to be unionized as those they replaced in the inner cities.

  66. joe, I live in a city that has a functional illiteracy rate of 47%. Culture has nothing to do with that obscene number?

    For an example of culture vs economic success, read what this economist has to say about it. Here is Juan Williams on Ghetto Culture

    Do I have to dig out the statistics on poverty vs crime rates too? Ghetto and hillbilly cultures exist, they are counterproductive to economic success. We can discuss how to change these facts, but denying them won’t help.

  67. Culture has nothing to do with that obscene number?

    I guess I have to make it even simpler.

    Economic circumstances -> culture.

    Capice?

    Nobody is questioning that people from ghettoized groups do worse on measurements of crime. Jews, Italians, and the Irish did worse on those measurements, too, when they were the ghettoized cultures.

    But when ghettoized populations had significant economic opportunities – black people in northern cities in the 20s, for example – their crime rates and other measures of disfunction were lower. And when economic opportunity declined in the 50s-80s in the black areas of northern cities, those measures went up again.

    Same people. Same culture. And yet their ability to integrate into and adopt the cultural norms of the larger society goes up and down with economic measures.

  68. But when ghettoized populations had significant economic opportunities – black people in northern cities in the 20s, for example – their crime rates and other measures of disfunction were lower. And when economic opportunity declined in the 50s-80s in the black areas of northern cities, those measures went up again. …
    Same people. Same culture. And yet their ability to integrate into and adopt the cultural norms of the larger society goes up and down with economic measures.

    Are we talking past each other? I never hinted at what caused this the dysfunctional ghetto culture, I am merely saying it exists, is harmful to the denizens of the ghetto, and will have to be dealt with. High paying unskilled labor is in the past. That is reality. An educated demographic is going to be a poor demographic. As The Boss put it

    They’re closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks
    Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain’t coming back
    to your hometown

  69. Economic circumstances -> culture.= “Class determines consciousness.”

    Care to give “dialectical materialism” a try?

    The minorities which rose out of poverty did so by adopting middle class values, they didn”t rise out of poverty and then adopt middle class values.

    However, if you insist on argument by anecdote, I have been in two communities, 90% white, where the incomes were among the highest in Canada. They were forest industry mill towns, with large working-class populations. Most of the people in the communities spent every dime they made and did not seek any additional education – not even trade school. In both cases, the mills eventually shut down (there were still lots of trees, but computerized mills were more economically viable than mills which employed a couple of thousand yobs.). The result? Thousands of bozos who were used to high pay but were barely qualified to be broom-pushers on the fast track from middle class to poverty.

  70. Are we talking past each other? I never hinted at what caused this the dysfunctional ghetto culture

    OK, I guess we were. I understood you to be making a causal argument – that poverty is caused by culture.

  71. R-S-N,

    You mean, the lumber workers’ culture was largely determined by their economic circumstances, in the form of the job opportunities they had?

    You don’t say.

  72. joe

    Wrong end of the stick.

    They had upper-middle class incomes and ample opportunity to “lock themselves in” to the middle class by saving money and improving their skills (many, not most, did so). Instead, they blew it on buying toys and trips to Hawaii and Vegas.

    Their “consciousness”, as you call it, is what put them back in poverty when the mills closed. (Except for the 30% or so that took the opportunity that their income offered.)

  73. I’d say that another circumstance – their being isolated into lumber towns that didn’t actually have much in the way of contact with the larger commercial society – discouraged them from so “locking in.”

  74. joe, 21st cetury reality – Those that sit around get left behind. And if economic opportunity erases dysfunctional culture, than New York City has no ghettos.

    If throwing money at the problem was the solution, we’d have no ghettos or [the term for entrenched, ignorant, hillbilly, poverty goes here] in all of America.

  75. joe, 21st cetury reality – Those that sit around get left behind. Sure, but if there are subcultures that don’t understand that, it’s largely the consequence of their not being part of the social and economic mainstream

    And if economic opportunity erases dysfunctional culture, than New York City has no ghettos. And sure enough, the economic and social rebirth of NYC over the past decade and a half has significantly reduced the ghettos. The South Bronx, for example, is like a different planet than it used to be.

    If throwing money at the problem was the solution, we’d have no ghettos or [the term for entrenched, ignorant, hillbilly, poverty goes here] in all of America. Yes, cash transfers to poor people isn’t the solution. Expanding access to jobs and reducing social and physical isolation is the solution.

  76. joe,
    Have you ever noticed that the “expanding access to jobs and reducing social and physical isolation” thing has been going on for about thirty years? Ironically, the one thing the government did, welfare-related, that showed a positive result was a welfare-reform plan that leftists hated and Clinton only signed after vetoing three times when it became clear he would lose the election if he didn’t.

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