Kaus writes, "Supporters of welfare reform have seen caseloads drop dramatically and a employment rise, but we're still looking for unmistakable signs of a dramatic improvement in the culture of ghetto poverty, especially for black men."
This is backwards**. The standard for "welfare reform" should not be to solve poverty. Instead, it should be to save taxpayer money without harming efforts to alleviate poverty. Evidence of improvement in the culture of ghetto poverty would be welcomed gravy, but for welfare reform to have been a success, all it needs to do is save money without making things worse.
Making things better regarding poverty is the job of welfare, not of welfare reform. One of the reasons that welfare reform was supported by people like me is because there was little evidence that welfare itself was improving the culture of ghetto poverty.
'Opponents of welfare reform have seen caseloads drop dramatically and a rise in employment, but we are still looking for unmistakable signs of a dramatic degradation in the culture of ghetto poverty, especially for black men.' That puts the correct standards in place.
** In fact, Mick is not saying there has been no progress. He goes on to give evidence that there may be improvement in the culture of poverty. Keep in mind the adages of correlation and causation, however.
*** I like the way Mick uses these asterisk-laden post-scripts. Sincere form of flattery and all that.