Tennessee starves what little government it has. It ranks dead last in per capita tax revenue. To fund its minimalist public sector, it makes sure that low income residents pay as much as possible through heavily regressive sales taxes.
Researchers at Harvard and the University of Michigan have found that 1.4 million American families live in extreme poverty About 2.8 million children are included in those families. "Extreme" is not a strong enough word for the kind of poverty we're talking about.
Gary MacDougal popped up on the op-ed page of the NYT last week with the line that we spend a trillion dollars on the poor and get nothing for it. In the past I haven't gone out of my way to reply to the argument, but I think regular people need to see an answer.
One of the most telling questions in the second debate focused on the gender pay gap: asking in what ways the candidates would "rectify the inequalities in the workplace. The Romney answer was an embarrassment and the president could have said more.
The Romney campaign's particularly scurrilous and misplaced attack against Obama on the issue of welfare is more likely to serve as another reminder of Romney's inability to speak relevantly to the concerns of typical Americans than anything else.