What to do about those pesky poor

You can tell he's really poor, because a dog is gnawing on his foot.

Now that a new Congress has convened and pledged itself to beating back the deficit we accumulated out of nowhere in the last two years, we have to think about poor people. Personally, that’s something I try to limit to the ten or so minutes it takes me to get in and out of Taco Bell, but it so happens that A) poor people are where we’re going to trim the deficit, since wars, social security and tax cuts for the rich are utterly indispensable, and B) present conditions mean that there are a lot more of them. It turns out that a high school dropout and a 40 of Old English isn’t the only way to make new poor people. You can also do it with a massive economic contraction. As any recently unemployed person will tell you, those are the good kind of poor people: the ones who love work and being responsible, but who through no fault of their own have been temporarily deprived of their opportunity to do either. Such hard-working, down-on-their-luck Americans are the ones we are obliged to help. But how to do it without also giving professional poor people a free ride?

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