Good post here from Matt Yglesias. The “welfare reform” of the 90s has been widely hailed as a success for replacing welfare with work, but as Yglesias points out, this success is premised on a strong labor market, which we manifestly don’t have now. And yet you don’t hear anyone calling for us to re-think welfare reform. (The New York Times had a good article on this several months back.)
This isn’t terribly surprising. In American politics, everyone wants to sound like they’re for the middle class, most people are actually for the rich, and pretty much no one wants to acknowledge that poor people in America even exist.