- Who appointed Ezra guardian of the interests of the poor? If I don't like Ross Douthat claiming to speak on behalf of the working class, why should I defer to Ezra Klein? (In his defense, at least Ezra went to state schools, even if they were UC-Santa Cruz and UCLA.)
- Since when is free abortion a "benefit" the lack of which constitutes deprivation? Isn't it condescending to suppose that poor women need government-funded abortion? Most abortion, after all, is just after-the-fact contraception. Does Ezra Klein suppose that poor women are incapable of following a contraceptive regimen as simple as "Keep Your Britches On"?
Excuse me for thinking the "soft bigotry of low expectations" might be implicated in such an attitude, although I do not mean to accuse Ezra of mala fides. I'm just sort of thinking out loud about the problems of "The Culture of Poverty," as discussed in the Moynihan Report. No time for an in-depth discourse on this controversial topic, but it seems to me that there is a self-fulfilling prophecy factor in this evident attitude among our policy elite that the poor are incapable of such basic virtues as chastity.
Returning more specifically to the matter at hand -- the $250 billion "subsidy" of tax-exemption for employer-provided health insurance that Klein targets -- the history of that policy goes back to FDR and WWII. It demonstrates how, once such policies are implemented, engrain themselves in the political system and develop constituencies, they become nearly impossible to repeal, even if the policies are arguably harmful. Employer-provided health-care as a middle-class entitlement certainly fits that description. And yet Klein is certainly not arguing against entitlements, is he?