I read a lot about welfare reform ideas. "Benefits are too generous!" "Shorten the time limit!" "Enforce work requirements!"
Nearly everything I read makes assumptions about how people in poverty react to government programs. How motivated are they to work? How much do they understand the nuances of welfare policies, and do they deliberately adjust their earnings to remain eligible for benefits? Do they have more children simply to maximize their government handout?
Whenever I read such claims, I always wonder whether the author has himself experienced poverty. Does he understand what it's like to choose between food and heating? Has he appealed to welfare programs for help? I've lived in poverty, and most of the attacks on the poor describing them as calculating, conniving leeches are absolute nonsense (at least from my limited experience).
It seems to me that a good deal of commentary on welfare--from all sides, by the way--lacks empathy and realism.