Our take: Opinion columnist Nicholas D. Kristof talks about how the United States' poverty programs are backfiring. People are taking their children out of literacy classes in fear they won't qualify for a monthly check for having an intellecutal disability. Young people are not joining the military because it is easier to rely on food stamps.
JACKSON, Ky. — This is what poverty sometimes looks like in America: parents here in Appalachian hill country pulling their children out of literacy classes. Moms and dads fear that if kids learn to read, they are less likely to qualify for a monthly check for having an intellectual disability.
Many people in hillside mobile homes here are poor and desperate, and a $698 monthly check per child from the Supplemental Security Income program goes a long way — and those checks continue until the child turns 18.
"The kids get taken out of the program because the parents are going to lose the check," said Billie Oaks, who runs a literacy program here in Breathitt County, a poor part of Kentucky. "Its heartbreaking."
This is painful for a liberal to admit, but conservatives have a point when they suggest that Americas safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency. Our poverty programs do rescue many people, but other times they backfire.
- Supporters for traditional marriage focus on...
- 25 ways I know my husband loves me
- In music video, boy band tells Provo women...
- Why babies are expensive, but could save you...
- 33 things I want my sons to know
- Iranian youth behind 'Happy' video sentenced
- Why 'The Cosby Show' still matters 30 years...
- Mom battling cancer determined to live for...
- Supporters for traditional marriage... 129
- Linda & Richard Eyre: If we lose... 45
- Experts debate whether marriage is... 30
- Liberals teach kids tolerance over... 26
- Striking or spanking a child is not a... 19
- President Obama: Ebola outbreak a... 15
- Yellen says US families need to boost... 10
- Mom battling cancer determined to live... 7