Sunday, February 01, 2004

The truth about two Americas

Rich Lowry at NRO exposes John Edwards' "two Americas" theme for the vain rhetoric that it is. I can't say it better than he does:
Indeed, Democrats on the stump implicitly argue that if only more former Enron executives would be thrown in jail, the downtrodden would magically be lifted into affluence. This is preening nonsense. We know what causes poverty. It has nothing to do with corporations, and little to do even with other, more-relevant economic factors, such as wage rates.

Poverty in America is primarily a cultural phenomenon, driven by a shattered work ethic and sexual irresponsibility. Child poverty would be nearly obliterated if every household had one adult working full time and married parents.

...if you're not talking abut how to increase work and marriage among the poor, well then, you're not serious about addressing poverty. You're just some guy with pretty hair saying pretty words because you like the way they sound.
Now, Edwards is not going to get the nomination unless Kerry does something more stupid than usual, but his rhetoric is reinspiring many populists. Populism never seems to die, from Teddy Roosevelt's "great malefactors of wealth" to Gore's "people vs. the powerful" to Edward's "two Americas." However, the reality of poverty will never die, hence neither will its honest assessment.

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