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Big White Ghetto

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Posted By: FL_Absentee_Voter, 11/17/2020 2:07:57 PM

There are lots of diversions in the Big White Ghetto, the vast moribund matrix of Wonder Bread–hued Appalachian towns and villages stretching from northern Mississippi to southern New York. [Snip] Nicholas Kristof, visiting nearby Jackson, Ky., last year, was shocked by parents who were taking their children out of literacy classes because improved academic performance would threaten $700-a-month Social Security disability benefits, which increasingly are paid out for nebulous afflictions such as loosely defined learning disorders. “This is painful for a liberal to admit,” Kristof wrote, “but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency.”


A bit heavy with metaphors, author delights in focusing on the worst of the worst but makes some interesting contrasts between urban and rural poverty and the related social illnesses.

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Reply 1 - Posted by: Vaquero45 11/17/2020 2:34:49 PM (No. 608720)
Williamson wrote most of this back in 2013, and it was published in NR then. Old news.
8 people like this.

Reply 2 - Posted by: WhamDBambam 11/17/2020 3:20:42 PM (No. 608734)
Is it an autobiography?
6 people like this.

Reply 3 - Posted by: TexaTucky 11/17/2020 3:26:19 PM (No. 608738)
Aw naww, #2. Kevin "NeverTrumper" Williamson is one of them deboner uptown fellas from Amarilla. So he often looks down with contempt on the white trash he thinks he isn't.
19 people like this.

Reply 4 - Posted by: Bazi 11/17/2020 3:45:25 PM (No. 608742)
Reading between the lines...their biggest sin: they voted for Trump in 2016. We were in North Carolina back in the wilds/back woods of North Carolina. House after very very modest house ,tidy if not immaculate house, had" Thank You Jesus" and Trump signs in their yards. These people were thankful for what they had and they took care of what they had. Meanwhile, there are massively wealthy successful people like Obama and his wife who are eternally miserable and inflict their misery on the rest of us. Trump is for us. He speaks for us. Pray for POTUS Trump.
32 people like this.

Reply 5 - Posted by: BarryNo 11/17/2020 4:34:24 PM (No. 608761)
Sometimes? I almost got entangled in that net. We had just had our first child when the Carter depression settled in. We both lost our jobs, gas lines, inflation through the roof. I explored getting retraining but I didn't qualify. We were both college educated. We checked about welfare. My wife and child could get welfare... if I abandoned them. We struggled through, but I've never forgotten or forgiven them. Right in the next cubicle, a ghetto mom was helping her pregnant 14 year old get set up with an apartment, child care, food stamps... But nothing for us, unless I abandoned them.
23 people like this.

Reply 6 - Posted by: Vesicant 11/17/2020 5:38:59 PM (No. 608815)
Was this before or after the "let them rent Uhaul trailers" column? AFAIC, National Review has zero -- maybe even negative -- credibility as long as they employ Skull Wax Boy.
3 people like this.

Reply 7 - Posted by: DVC 11/17/2020 6:11:33 PM (No. 608844)
I was in Virginia last week, selling off and giving away estate items. I offered a 4 wheel mobility scooter on Craig's list, with dead batteries, for free. The first caller was a young woman, and I gave her directions on where we were. She said she was coming from a certain town to the west, and it would be over an hour before her fiance and father could pick it up. When they arrived, in a really clapped out old small pickup, like an old Datsun or Mazda, rattle can camo, no bumper on the back, it was clear that they were "hill folks". Both men had full beards, polite, quiet, and pleased to get the scooter for the young woman's mother. She called me back to tell me that "Momma cried when I showed her the picture of the scooter. She has so much wanted to move around, but since she broke her hip she really can't walk any more." I was happy for them to get it, hope it helps a bit. They'll have to get new batteries, but way less than the $1500 that the young lady said they had been quoted on a scooter. The town they came from is in the far western edge of Va, shading into WVa, beautiful country.....but not much for jobs beyond farming there these days, and not much of that. This is real, and I used to live in WVa, too, and did a good bit of backpacking, prowling back roads to find some of the places in national forest land. I've seen it. Don't doubt that welfare harms people, because it surely does.
11 people like this.

Reply 8 - Posted by: TLCary 11/17/2020 6:36:06 PM (No. 608864)
He updated a 7 year old column was to equate Appalachian losers with Trump voters. "the most significant among them may be adverse selection: Those who have the required work skills, the academic ability, or the simple desperate native enterprising grit to do so get the hell out as fast as they can" Me! I moved away to join the military, got an education, starting a successful business, and never moved back. Now I'm a more significant problem than the idiots back home becoming drug addicts? None of the Berkley crowd moved in to save the day in my absence so they can keep the snark.
5 people like this.

Reply 9 - Posted by: greyseal 11/17/2020 7:16:05 PM (No. 608904)
#5 - you struck a nerve with me. When I was a kid, a "social worker" came to visit my mom who was raising three boys on her own. They wanted her to sign up for a new program called "food stamps" - she sent them packing and told us kids that if the government is giving something away for free then it's not because they'll want something sooner or later. In the late 70s, I was a blue-collar worker in a foundry in Dayton, OH. I was injured on the job and was off work for 4 months awaiting a determination of worker's compensation. In the interim, we had no money and I couldn't work. My wife went to work part-time in an industrial laundry and we scraped by with assistance from family and friends. Against my Mama's teaching, I also checked on welfare but as you described, it was only available to my wife and child if I was out of the picture. I recall being in a line at Kroger's with my modest handful of groceries and the black woman in front of me had a cart loaded down with all kinds of stuff that we couldn't afford and then she whipped out her food stamps to pay for it. But the cigarettes and beer were paid for separately from the wad of cash from her purse. It was a soul-crushing moment. Even when I got my settlement from WC, it was a pittance. I went back to work but then the union went out on strike and the business closed. I did qualify for unemployment and between that, my wife's part-time check, and side jobs we hobbled along. My break came during the Reagan administration when the JPTA offered to send me back to school for retraining. I was back in a classroom with many, many out-of-work GM and Fridgidaire employees. I ran with the training into a career in IT where I never went without a job again. It was the one and only time I accepted a government handout. Other than that, the government has taken much more than it has given and I have voted as a conservative ever since. I doubt that Williamson ever put children to bed without supper. greyseal
7 people like this.

Reply 10 - Posted by: Lawsy0 11/17/2020 8:12:24 PM (No. 608954)
Kevin's humble folk have morphed into those smelly Walmart people.
5 people like this.

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